A Travellerspoint blog

NSCC in Ecuador

rain 28 °C


We have spent two wonderful days with staff at Universidad de Especialidades Espiritu Santo (UEES) and Universidad Ecotec in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Andrea Losada, International Director at UEES and Jihna Gavilanes, International Director at Ecotec were our hosts and in between some intense tropical rain showers, and Guayaquil traffic jams, we got to see their campuses, meet staff and students and learn more about their universities. We also had a chance to visit some of the NGO partners that UEES works with for international student service learning placements.

UEES is over 20 years old and offers programs in a wide range of disciplines, with an applied approach in four year degrees. The campus is modern and lined with palm trees, and with iguanas in the green spaces (watch out if they are in the trees above). UEES has alot of experience with incoming and outgoing international exchanges including Niagara College, College of the Rockies, and Grant McEwan. We met with their tourism and culinary program directors and hope to be able to start with tourism student exchanges.

The tourism industry in Ecuador is focused on natural and eco-tourism (eg the famous Galapagos Islands and many other beautiful areas in the mountains and on the coast) and adventure tourism, and the culinary program includes elements of the very diverse and delicious local cuisine. There are a surprising number of European (German, French, Italian) connections and influences in Guayaquil, which is a major port and the business centre of Ecuador. The downtown area is bustling with people and has a redeveloped riverfront area (Malecon) of tree lined walkways, shops, and restaurants.

Universidad Ecotec is a newer university with the same owner, and a similar approach to quality and a brand new campus launching in July. They are not as experienced in exchanges but Jihna comes from the international office at UEES so will bring that corporate experience to develop the international program.

When we were discussing negotiating an exchange agreement, I asked Andrea why she wanted to work with NSCC, since they already had some great partners in Canada. She shared her impressions of NSCC Akerley Campus with me from the visit last fall, that she gave in her evaluation to CBIE:

"My first impression of NSCC was the welcome they gave to all the delegates from the ELAP Mission. We were able to feel and see that they really took the time to be there and shake our hands at the entrance, everybody, Deans, Directors, high representatives, teachers for example, sat with us for lunch to enjoy a very well produced meal from the school of culinary arts.

The most important, to me, was the message they gave us with their actions: they really wanted to know who we were as people, where we came from and about our cultures. They made this feeling tangible that day, they made it personal. I thought that my students would feel comfortable in such a welcoming environment, where variety is praised and tolerance for other customs is practiced."

Wow! Great job Akerley Campus! And thank you Andrea Losada for the kind words.

Next stop: Bogota, Colombia

- Katie Orr
Director, NSCC International

Posted by NSCC Intl 18:37 Archived in Ecuador Tagged south america tourism eco-tourism nova_scotia culinary ecuador nscc Comments (0)

Hola América del Sur!

NSCC in Ecuador, Colombia and Peru

rain 28 °C


Zoran Kondali and I from NSCC International are in South America as part of a reciprocal visit to several institutions who visited NSCC in October-November 2012 as part of the Government of Canada funded “Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program” (ELAP) mission organized by the Canadian Bureau of International Education (CBIE) to foster exchanges and partnerships between Canadian and Latin American colleges and universities.

The ELAP visit to Nova Scotia came at a good time as our provincial government is exploring trade links with South America (two trade missions planned this spring to Colombia for example) and Edunova and the Department of Labour and Advanced Education are promoting and expanding educational linkages in the region.

Since the ELAP visit in November, our international office has been in discussions with several ELAP delegates, and working with the NSCC School of Business to narrow down the group to 5 potential partners in 3 countries (Ecuador, Colombia and Peru) for potential exchanges to begin in the 2013 academic year in the areas of business, tourism and culinary arts.

Part of the process is to connect with other Canadian colleges to gain feedback on student experiences, and all of the potential partners have been highly recommended. Another important part is to visit the universities in person and meet with students, staff, see the facilities, and their approach to teaching and learning, and see a bit of the local area and culture.

First stop is Guayaquil, Ecuador, to visit Universidad de Especialidades Espiritu Santo (UEES) and Universidad Ecotec. Stay tuned!

- Katie Orr
Director, NSCC International

Posted by NSCC Intl 16:05 Archived in Ecuador Tagged education peru south america international colombia nova_scotia ecuador guayaquil nscc Comments (0)

Twice in a Lifetime

South Shore Public Libraries team up with NSCC Library and Tech Services in Mikumi 2013

Well my once in a life trip to Africa came true twice! How lucky can one middle-aged woman get. South Shore Public Libraries was re-invited to participate in the bridge-funding phase of NSCC’s “EFE” project in Mikumi, Tanzania. As I reflect on the trip, while sitting in the departure lounge at Pearson waiting for the final flight of a 20 hour commute, a few highlights come to mind.
First and foremost is the people: Ashley Pinsent-Tobin, Kellie McMullin, Leigh Gagnier, Andrea Stewart and Paul Tweed were a fantastic set of professionals to travel and work with and in a land of very welcoming people the staff and students of VETA Mikumi shared their time and resources in a way that made you feel at home after the first “Karibu”.
The second high point was witnessing the success of the “Library in your pocket” tablets. We learned on an earlier trip Wifi and electricity are not necessarily a daily staple in Mikumi. Therefore the tablets were preloaded with apps and texts that could be used without WiFi, with an emphasis on the tourism and hospitality subject area. Watching the staff and students discover the potential of this learning tool was an incredible experience.
Unlocking the server and reintializing the VETA Mikumi intranet was another great success of the project. Can you imagine functioning without an intranet or internet for 6 months? That was the reality at VETA.
Through emails home and bouncing around ideas between Paul, Selamani, Chrisostom and myself we were able to restore the proxy server and allow file sharing, Wordpress and Moodle to function again. The computer lab can now be reimaged, cleaned up and be made ready for when the ISP shows up to restore the internet. This tech team was also able to find a short-term wireless solution that allows up to 8 people at a time to share a WiFi hotspot. News of this connection spread like wild fire and watching the look of delight on Principal Ayo’s face as he checked his Blackberry and sent an email with an attachment on a laptop simultaneously was a heart warming experience.
The time spent in Mikumi has been an incredible learning experience for me both personally and professionally. Working at a Public Library is a great job; libraries are all about promoting literacy and sharing information and that is what we did in Mikumi. My heartfelt thanks to the NSCC team, the faculty and students of VETA Mikumi, and the SSPL Library Board for allowing me the privilege to participate in this amazing learning project. – Asante sana.

Christina Pottie
Outreach Coordinator
South Shore Public Libraries

Posted by NSCC Intl 08:49 Archived in Tanzania Tagged education travel it tanzania international library nova scotia e-resources nexus Comments (0)

Paul's Final Thoughts

NSCC Technical Services in Mikumi 2013

As luck would have it, we had another great success with the network at Mikumi on our last day there. With both Selemani and I working on the Intranet issue of Moodle and Wordpress, we finally did get the server to work and access to both of these programs started once again. It was one of those “high five” moments, and we all celebrated the good news.
As access to these programs had been down since last summer, it was wonderful to see the reaction from Selemani and Chrisostom when I pointed at the screen by the server and said “it’s working again”. From an IT perspective, this was the success that many were hoping for. What better way to end our last day there!
At that point, I stepped back because Selemani and Chrisostom began deliberating their plan to get this access to all the workstations. They knew what had to be done, and started on it right away. We had helped them find a solution and now they were planning to implement it.
It was on this high note that we said our goodbyes and left Mikumi. The learning we shared is something none of us will soon forget, and I truly consider myself fortunate to have been part of this. It was fantastic to see my Tanzanian friends again, and although it seems time went by too quickly, I know we’ll keep in touch. Asante sana my friends.

Paul Tweed
NSCC Technical Services
Waterfront Campus

Posted by NSCC Intl 08:48 Archived in Tanzania Tagged education travel it tanzania international internet nova scotia intranet Comments (0)

Review of a Successful Partnership

Building Capacity in Tourism and Hospitality Management

It was wonderful to be back in Tanzania after 2 years to see the progress of this great project “Building Capacity in Tourism and Hospitality Management” that we started in 2009. We have learned so much over the past 3 years and it’s wonderful to be able to look back and see what we’ve accomplished.
We delivered two presentations on our project during 3rd annual Education for Employment Symposium in Morogoro (a large town in between Dar es Salaam and Mikumi). This symposium is sponsored by ACCC and provides the opportunity for the Tanzanian and Canadian partners for all 12 EFE projects in mining, agriculture and tourism to meet, share experiences and learn from each other. The first presentation was on how we have engaged industry to provide employment and work experience for Mikumi students and graduates and the second presentation highlighted our project achievements. When Christopher Ayo (Principal of VETA Mikumi and my counterpart) got together to work on these presentations, it was amazing to see just how much we have accomplished in the last 3 years. Here are some of the highlights:
• Teacher training and capacity building for Mikumi tourism and hospitality instructors and managers in Nova Scotia and Tanzania which included CCEDP courses, project management, entrepreneurship, lifelong learning, portfolio learning, social media training, IT repair, maintenance and solutions and library service training.
• Creation of a successful and unique Tourist Information Centre and Facebook page
• Creation of a language lab to assist with English and French language learning
• Investment in a computer lab which directly led to an increase in enrollment at VETA Mikumi
• Established an electronic library with tablets full of resources and applications for students and faculty
• Opportunity for Mikumi and NSCC tourism students to meet and exchange ideas and knowledge through two study tours for NSCC students in Tanzania.
I am very proud of the work that we have done on this project and the relationships that have been built. The project brought together some excellent students, staff and faculty from NSCC and beyond (for example, our partnerships with South Shore Public Libraries and the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia) to help us accomplish our goals for the project. Whether it was travelling to Mikumi to deliver training sessions or organizing programs and activities for Mikumi faculty in Nova Scotia, we have had some dedicated people involved in this project including Deans, Principals, Academic Chairs, Directors, Faculty, Staff and Students from Organizational Learning, IT Services, the School of Business, the School of Applied Arts and New Media, Library Services and of course, NSCC International. Asante sana to all of you! You should be proud of the roles you have played in this project and what we’ve accomplished together.

Ashley Pinsent-Tobin
Manager, International Learning Programs
NSCC International

Posted by NSCC Intl 08:48 Archived in Tanzania Tagged education travel tanzania international abroad nova scotia study Comments (0)

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