A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about tourism

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)

A Partnership Worth "Liking"

Social Media Marketing in Mikumi 2013

It poured rain last night but when I woke up this morning the African sun was shining and the VETA Mikumi Tourist Information Centre’s Facebook page had over 2,000 “likes”. I’m currently in Tanzania working with our partner institution, VETA Mikumi, on a social media marketing strategy through the “Building Capacity in Tourism and Hospitality Management” Education for Employment (EFE) project.
Before leaving Canada, my goal was to drive potential tourists to the Facebook page in order to increase the visibility of the Tourist Information Centre that has been established at the VETA Mikumi campus. At the time the page had 70 fans and not much engagement. I designed a Facebook ad targeting Tanzania and the U.K. and by the time I landed in Dar es Salaam two days later, the ad had driven almost 500 new fans to the page, almost all of them Tanzanian. This is exactly what I had hoped for, Tanzania loves Facebook and with the use of mobile devices most people here have it at their fingertips.
Last time I was in Mikumi doing social media training with students and faculty, we had very little access to the Internet which made things quite difficult. However, on this occasion, because of the great work of the library and technical services team I was travelling with, we were able to access Internet easily.
Mr. Ludovic Saronga (tour guiding teacher at VETA Mikumi) and I immediately got to work increasing engagement with our new fans. Mr. Saronga was able to reply to all of the comments and questions written in Swahili and he got the hang of it quickly.
One of the most innovative activities we did with the page was a discussion between International Tourism students and faculty at NSCC and Mr. Saronga. The students asked him questions about culture, tourism and wildlife in Tanzania and he was able to answer them on the Facebook page itself! It was a huge success and the fact that Mr. Saronga and I were sitting on an outdoor terrace in the jungle (with bush babies ready to pounce on us – we think they like Facebook too) was an incredible experience. This was truly international learning through technology.
I look forward to the continued partnership with Mr. Saronga and VETA Mikumi, even from my desk in Nova Scotia. I believe the Tourist Information Centre will receive more activity over the next year or so and that tourism in Mikumi will benefit from the work we've done with social media.

Oh, and if you have the time. . .www.facebook.com/MikumiTourism

Kellie McMullin
International Learning Associate
NSCC International

Posted by NSCC Intl 07:26 Archived in Tanzania Tagged travel tanzania tourism marketing nova scotia media social facebook Comments (0)

Rachel's Blog

International Tourism Study Tour of Belize

Dis Da Fi Wi last Day in Belize…
Today started off like almost every other day in Punta Gorda, at Grace’s when our faithful (and awesome) guide Wilfred gave us a great surprise, we didn’t have to eat at Grace’s again that morning for Breakfast! So off we all went running to the Snack Shack for a fabulous breakfast of Waffles and Burritos and toast.
Today was our big travel day before heading back to Canada, and as we were all a little sad to be leaving Punta Gorda, most of us are getting excited to make the long trip home. So we started off on our bumpy four hour ride to the Cedar Cabins. It was an uneventful ride other than bumps bigger than most of our houses and random off-key sing-alongs, but it was all in good fun. Later the real adventures would come.
As we arrived at the Cedar Cabins just outside of Belize City, we were disappointed to find out that the pool we’ve all been eagerly awaiting has been out of commission for a month or so. Disappointing but we quickly bounced back after deciding to head into Belmopan City where we explored a small part of the Capital City and enjoyed the luxury of a fancy coffee shop and Brodie’s Super Mart. All in all, it got us out of our rooms for the day and out of our funks about the pool. As we arrived back from Belmopan City, the excitement started to rise, as two of our girls were getting tattoos this evening by a local artist by the name of Beto. Turns out he is quite talented as he fixed Sarin up with an amazing Gecko and Lauren with her Mayan Symbol. All in all it was an interesting evening with a celebrated dinner of Spaghetti and Garlic Bread. A card game ended our last evening in Belize or so we thought... Turns out Adam had a few large “Adam-eating” visitors (Tarantulas) in his bed, lucky for him, we had 20 spare beds for him to bunk in.
Overall it’s been an amazing, crazy, life-changing experience in Belize for two weeks and I can’t imagine doing this with any other group of people. It’s been certainly interesting and we look forward to seeing you all on the other side of that plane.

Rachel Smith
NSCC Tourism Management Student
Pictou Campus

Posted by NSCC Intl 07:16 Archived in Belize Tagged belize tourism nova scotia Comments (0)

Wendi's Blog

International Tourism Study Tour of Belize

What an incredible way to spend one of our last few days in Belize!
Some of us woke up with the roosters at 3 am in the Mayan Village of San Miguel, and some of us woke up in nicely air conditioned rooms in Punta Gorda - either way it was an experience for all.

A beautifully hot, sunny morning. We all met up in San Miguel around 9 am and heard the stories of the night before (see Adam's blog), then we started our day with workshops. Some went to the farm to do planting; some went to make crafts; and others learned how to make "jippy jappa" baskets (or for some earings, pendants, or Christmas ornaments...LOL). It was a lovely morning talking with our hosts, learning about their lives in the village, and watching the kids enjoy the "Canada" toys and flags we brought them.

At lunch, we split up into groups of 3 and had lunch in the families' homes. Some had caldo (a delicious chicken and pumpkin soup) and others had wonderful rice, beans and chicken with fresh fruit!

After lunch we did a bit more crafting, with more bracelets, baskets and even some embroidery work. By the afternoon it was VERY hot (which drains a lot of one's energy). We looked at (and some purchased) the mayan crafts, then headed back in the van to PG. Everyone agreed that being invited into the village to see how the mayan people of San Miguel live on a daily basis was an incredible experience. It really put into perspective what is truly important - family and community!

Back in PG we were treated to another awesome dinner at Waluco's Restaurant and to our surprise, some Garafuna drumming! The ladies did a bit of dancing, but I didn't notice any "punta!" (-:

Back at the hotel Miss Celia was there with her husband Paul (a journalist) who wanted to do a story on the group for the Belize's International news! Adam, Sarin and myself were interviewed about our 2 weeks (what our goals were, why we were here, how we enjoyed Belize, etc.). It turns out the story would be on the radio 2 times the next day (side note - we DID end up hearing it). We've left our mark!

Group debrief and off to pack for home! only 2 more sleeps!


Wendi Dewey
NSCC Tourism Faculty
Akerley Campus

Posted by NSCC Intl 06:34 Archived in Belize Tagged belize tourism nova scotia Comments (0)

Adam's Blog

International Tourism Study Tour of Belize

Mayan Thunder ..... A tale of two realities....

We sat on the ruins of an ancient Mayan city called Lubaantun for the closing of the Cacao Festival 2012. I closed my eyes and listened to the sounds around me... the jungle noises, the slight breeze blowing through those old worn out stone structures, the steady drum beat of the days guest dance troup practicing for their big show later that day and the smell of the incense they were burning took me to a place I have only ever read about. You could almost feel every one of the 3000 + years of history of this magical place. I let my mind wander a bit and tried to invision what it would have been like as a resident of this city way back in time. I had this feeling for a few moments then I was jolted back into this reality by an altogether different sound.... the sound of a cellular phone ringing!!! WHAT THE WHAT!!! I looked around to see who was the perpatrator in squashing my fantasy of being a Mayan king on top of his kingdom, but to no avail...

The day got hotter and hotter and we could see, smell and hear the rain coming from off in the distance. It would not be long before it was upon us. At least it gave a bit of respite from the extreme heat. The day continued with a few dances from some local Mayan dance troups. The big show started around 1 pm with the afore mentioned guest act "Palanque Rojo" re-enacting, in full costume, an ancient story of two waring Mayan cities. WOW!! That was a show. They must have been reading my mind because they looked exactly as I had been pictureing myself earlier as a Mayan king.

We left the site shortly after and headed off to lunch and later to the Mayan village of San Miguel which for some of us, would be our home for the night. Once in San Miguel, one of the most amazing adventures I have had in a long time started. We got settled into our bunkhouse before being split into two smaller groups for a tour around this small but vibrant village. Antonia, our tour guide and host had us into her earthen floored, thatched roofed home for our evening meal. WOW AGAIN! She and her daughter, along with Rachel, sat at the clay/earthen cooking hearth preparing the tortillias for the meal that was bubbling away in a nearby pot on the same hearth. Again, I found myself being whisked away to a place in my mind where I was a young Mayan man sitting in the family home listening to the handed down stories of my elders and waiting for the simple but delicious meal to be served and enjoyed.

Now, as Maritimers, we are renowned for our hospitlity and we are proud of that... but I must say that this hospitality could not hold a candle to how we were treated in this family's home.

Dinner was over and we sat and chatted, compared stories and asked questions about each others cultures, tradidtions and more. Back to the bunkhouse and settled in for a great sleep listening to the sounds of the village....

A great day. A great expereince and an un-forgettable bunch of memories...Two realities met in the middle. We Canadians have a lot and should be thankfull for all we have... but, we could stand to learn a few things from these ancieint people who for thousands of years, have lived off the land and continue to get by with out all of luxuries we think we need to be happy...

Adam Rumsey
NSCC Tourism Faculty
Pictou Campus

Posted by NSCC Intl 06:33 Archived in Belize Tagged belize tourism nova scotia Comments (0)

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