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Durham College receives Real Life Learning Award for its KEFEP documentary

Durham College (DC) is proud to announce that it took home a Real Life Learning Award at the PIEoneer Awards 2019 in London, England on September 19. The award, which recognizes organizations offering real-life learning programs overseas, was presented to DC for its Kenyan Education for Employment Program (KEFEP) documentary that premiered last year.

“We are so thrilled to receive this prestigious award. It’s the result of countless hours of work from passionate DC students and faculty whose incredible film documents the ongoing work being done to strengthen education in Kenya” said Lisa Shepard, dean, International Education at DC.

Captured, scripted, edited and produced by four DC students and two faculty from the School of Media, Art & Design, the crew spent three weeks in Kenya last year documenting KEFEP, a five-year initiative focused on strengthening and supporting technical and vocational education and training in Kenya, funded by the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada.

“Projects like this documentary represent the amazing types of experiential learning opportunities our students have access to during their time at Durham College,” said Dr. Elaine Popp, vice president, DC.  “I’m looking forward to seeing what new and exciting international projects our students and faculty will be involved in next.”

While in Kenya, the crew conducted 52 interviews with KEFEP partners, stakeholders and beneficiaries, in addition to collecting 40 hours of incredible footage. After months of effort and countless time spent in the editing suite, the KEFEP Documentary was born, premiering in front of 120 guests from the college and local community, including the principal secretary from Kenya’s State Department of Vocational and Technical Education and the deputy high commissioner of Kenya to Canada.

The PIEoneer Awards are the only global awards that celebrate innovation and achievement across the whole of the international education industry. With a distinguished judging panel representing geographical and professional diversity, the PIEoneer Awards recognize both individuals and organizations who are pushing professional standards, evolving their engagement or redefining the international student experience.


Castles, Cameras and Canvases: Durham College students focus on Ireland’s rich culture

Ten students from the School of Media, Art & Design embarked on a journey of discovery, exploring Ireland’s rich history, art and culture while honing their photography and videography skills.

Students from Photography, Video Production and Contemporary Web Design, joined professors Linda Cheng and Brian Stephens on the Emerald Isle and explored the culture and history of Ireland through a variety of unique, experiential and customized media projects.

“Ireland has a rich history of visual arts,” said Cheng. “The history and culture of Ireland catalyzed students’ reflections on music, art, photography and digital content.”

Each student built a discipline-specific project based on both the readings assigned to them pre-departure, and their experiences abroad. While applying the skills they learned in their respective programs, students engaged in an evening of Irish folk music, visited the EPIC Irish Emigration Museum (the world’s only fully digitized museum) and ventured into The Long Room Library—one of the greatest libraries in the world, used as a set for several films, including Harry Potter.

Emily Moroz, a student in the Video Production program, said of her experience abroad “It was a great opportunity to improve my video skills while learning about the history and culture of Ireland.” She went on to say “Having some free time during the trip gave us a chance to explore and capture some good video content. It was a good experience which will definitely help me in my future career.”

The 10-day trip included visits to monuments and points of interest, including: The legendary St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Bunratty Castle, Kilmainham Gaol museum and the scenic countryside of County Kerry, where they learned about Irish farm life.

DC’s international reach doesn’t stop with Ireland. Many faculty-led trips have already been approved for next year in Peru, and Guatemala, cementing DC’s commitment to experiential learning.

For more information on how to get involved, please contact Lisa Shepard, dean, International Education.


Planting the seeds of success: Durham College students spark environmental awareness in Guatemala

Durham College’s (DC) International Education office in partnership with the service learning organization, Students Offering Support (SOS) took five students from the School of Science & Engineering Technology’s (SET) Environmental Technology and Chemical Engineering Technology programs on an international outreach trip to Chuinajtajuyup, Guatemala. DC volunteers spent 12 days working alongside SOS and the citizens of Chuinajtajuyup to help combat climate change’s affects on agriculture.

“It was uplifting to work with Durham College volunteers within the environmental field,” said Jamie Arron, executive director of SOS. “Their professors, students and staff embraced the cross-cultural exchange with the utmost respect and demonstrated a distinct hunger to learn.”

Students learned from and collaborated with local farmers on the impact of climate change in the community. Volunteers brainstormed and presented ways to combat and reverse the damage climate change had wrought on the agricultural industry. By discussing issues and creating initiatives, DC students helped local farmers make a lasting difference.

“We are very proud of our students for undertaking this opportunity to broaden their learning and gain life changing experiences,” said Michelle Hutt, executive dean, SET. “Study abroad endeavours like these truly enhance the relative connection for our students here at DC.”

While abroad, DC and SOS volunteers tackled several climate change challenges. They spent two full days planting trees to combat further soil erosion in the area–a necessary task due mass deforestation in the region. But they didn’t stop there. They also organized a fundraising event to improve the community’s access to water, giving people access to a clean, reliable source of water, a luxury that many take for granted. The rest of their trip involved installing a drip irrigation system for optimal water usage, and the expansion of a greenhouse, built for housing crops that DC and SOS selected specifically for the community’s needs.

“Durham college students, professors and staff were able to meaningfully support community-driven adaptation strategies to climate change through the combination of cross-cultural knowledge exchange, economic contributions and hands-on support to environmental projects. Our local partners called it a dream come true.” said Arron.

Within a short span of time, DC students made a positive, lasting impact on the world by building greenhouses, planting trees and improving access to water; ultimately showing that their dedication, selflessness and success, matters.

DC’s International Education office is pleased to support students who go on education abroad experiences through the International Travel Bursary program.


DC welcomes new International Students to campus for Orientation

This week Durham College (DC) welcomed more than 1,000 new international students from 62 countries to campus for the 2018-2019 academic year. To help prepare students for the year ahead, an International Orientation was held on August 31 at the Oshawa campus.

DC president Don Lovisa and Dr. Elaine Popp, vice-president, Academic, kicked off the event by delivering welcome remarks on behalf of the entire college to the diverse group of new students.

Throughout the day, students received guidance on the many services and supports available to them and how to prepare for post-secondary education. They learned about their health insurance plan, banking in Canada, how to find part-time work and also gained valuable information about building a future in Canada. The event also facilitated the development of new friendships, with activities like Race Around DC, a fun twist on the traditional campus tour inspired by The Amazing Race Canada, and Get-to-Know-Your-Peers Bingo.

 “International orientation really kick-starts the college experience for students and provides them with the foundation of support they need to succeed while attending post-secondary studies in Canada,” said Janine Knight-Grofe, manager, International Education. “Our goals for orientation and every day after are fourfold – we work to integrate students into the DC community, foster an inclusive and caring environment, enhance understanding of expectations and resources, and build resiliency and personal development.”

More than 1,800 international students will be studying at DC for the 2018-2019 academic year. With additional students expected to arrive as the year gets underway, DC prides itself on offering international students the highest-quality Canadian education, a safe and vibrant campus environment and a fun and rewarding student life – with everything from clubs and cultural activities to sports and recreation – to balance studies with activities outside the classroom.

For more information, please visit the college’s International website.


DC Welcomes over 700 new International Students to Orientation

On August 31 and September 1, Durham College (DC) welcomed more than 700 new international students from 52 countries to the college’s International Student Orientation, demonstrating that the student experience comes first.

Held at the Oshawa campus, the event saw DC president Don Lovisa and Dr. Elaine Popp, vice-president, Academic, engage with this diverse group of new students as they learned about the many services and supports available to them as they begin their post-secondary journey in Canada.

Students received guidance on how to adapt to the college environment, attended workshops on finding part-time work in Canada and the Canadian classroom, learned about finding local housing, and gained information about building a future in Canada. They enjoyed lunch on both days, an afternoon at Lakeview Park in Oshawa and other activities, giving them the opportunity to get to know each other and employees from the International Office. A highlight was the Thursday afternoon “Race Around DC” event, a fun twist on the traditional campus tour, inspired by  “The Amazing Race Canada” complete with clues, mini-challenges and checkpoints at key campus locations designed to get the new students oriented and acquainted with all DC has to offer.

The number of international students attending the college for the 2017-2018 academic year will be 1,100 – a significant increase from the previous academic year in which 835 international students were registered. This year’s group of international students represents 55 countries.

“Durham College’s reputation for providing quality education has spread, resulting in a record number of applications from international students around the world this year,” said Larissa Strong, manager of International Student Support. “While students will be challenged to learn and grow in their chosen fields by their professors in the classroom, they will also find support outside the classroom as they adapt to their new learning and living environment. With services on campus including academic, career, and health care, international students will feel well supported as they strive to find their personal success.”

With additional students expected to arrive as the 2017-2018 academic year gets underway, DC prides itself on offering international students the highest-quality Canadian education; a safe and vibrant campus environment; and a fun and rewarding student life – with everything from clubs and cultural activities to sports and recreation – to balance studies with activities outside the classroom.

For more information, please visit the college’s International website.