Develop global skills and awareness at Durham College

Students at Durham College (DC) can become true citizens of the world with a unique Global Competency Recognition program that is now available on DC Connect.

‘Get Global’ invites all students to expand their knowledge in four key areas: cultural awareness, global connections, global learning and global sustainability. By developing global skills and awareness, students will prepare themselves to thrive in our rapidly changing and increasingly connected world.

“Durham College is committed to leveraging and growing our positive impact on our community to help it prosper and diversify. And our community is local as well as global,” said Janine Knight-Grofe, director of International Education. “We have a responsibility to prepare students to be globally competent, so that they can better engage in the world thoughtfully but also productively. It’s about making them better, more well-rounded individuals who are also more employable.”

Participants in the program can complete a variety of activities to earn points. There are many different options, from taking part in a Faculty-Led Classroom Abroad (FLCA) trip to attending a cultural event on or off campus or learning a new language. Once they’ve collected 100 points, students will earn a Global Learner digital badge and a certificate at graduation.

The program is relatively new, but a handful of students completed it before graduation this year.

“The students that go through it see a lot of value,” said Knight-Grofe.

One such student is Tasharna Thompson-Henny, a 2023 graduate of the Project Management program. An international student from Jamaica, she jumped at the chance to expand her knowledge of other cultures.

“It helped me to really function better in Canada and also to have a greater understanding of dealing with a different, diverse set of people on a day-to-day basis,” she said.

Canadian-born students can also benefit greatly from the program, according to Knight-Grofe.

“All students equally contribute to global thinking, have a role to play in addressing global challenges, and benefit personally, academically and professionally from global competency.”

All students who take part in the program must start with a module on Indigenous Histories and Reconciliation, which is crucial according to Rogier Ten Kate, program coordinator for the International Business Management graduate certificate.

“We recognize that globalization and internationalization can perpetuate global imbalances through neocolonial practices. So, it’s critical that anti-colonialism underpins global competency actions and activities at Durham College,” he said. “The best way to understand and reflect on this is through learning about Indigenous histories.”

Thompson-Henny found those studies particularly helpful in increasing her knowledge of her adopted home.

“It gave me a better understanding of what Indigenous people went through. My level of appreciation just increased significantly.”

For students who want to expand their knowledge and appreciation of other cultures, the Get Global program is available now.