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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 hosts screening of student-produced documentary about the Kenya Education for Employment Program

On November 15, Durham College’s (DC) International Office, in collaboration with CICan (Colleges and Institutes Canada), rolled out the red carpet for the premiere of the Kenya Education for Employment Program (KEFEP) Documentary.

More than 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, gathered in the Centre for Collaborative Education’s Global Classroom for the screening of the film.

Captured, scripted, edited and produced by four DC students and two faculty, the crew spent three weeks in Kenya 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.

“We are so pleased we can finally share this documentary,” said Lisa Shepard, dean, International Education, DC. “The opportunity to work and learn internationally is a great gift and we are deeply appreciative to our Canadian and global partners for all they have shared with us and for this journey of global partnership through KEFEP.”

Over the course of visits to nine cities, the #DCinKenya crew, which consisted of Danielle Harder, professor, Journalism – Mass Media and Jennifer Bedford, professor, Video Production, as well as four students from the School of Media, Art and Design, 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.

“It is a story of international collaboration, of our Canadian colleges’ commitment and support and of inspirational leaders and institutions in Kenya devoted to the development of education for employment,” said Danielle Harder, the documentary’s producer. “Behind the scenes, it’s a story of the power of experiential learning and expanding a student’s horizons, allowing their talents to flourish outside of the classroom.”

In addition to the screening, the premiere featured a photo exhibit, interactive KEFEP stations produced by all first and second-year students in the Journalism – Mass Media program and a #DCinKenya crew question and answer panel session.

KEFEP is a $29 million initiative funded by Global Affairs Canada and delivered by CICan through partnerships with 17 Canadian institutions.


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.