Video production student heads to Ottawa to highlight benefits of DC-led trip to Guatemala

Durham College (DC) student Shane Friedman was one of 13 students to participate in what he calls a “life-changing” trip abroad to Guatemala and now he’s sharing the benefits of the trip with education and government leaders in Ottawa in October.

In February 2023, a group of students from the Faculty of Media, Art and Design (MAD) travelled to the small Indigenous community of Las Arrugas, Guatemala through a Faculty-Led Classroom Abroad (FLCA) trip.

While there, DC students worked with Indigenous youth in the community.

“Our goal was basically to teach the students there about media production – whether it be photo or video – and then how to take those skills and reach out to their local media outlets or leverage social media so that they could produce their own content and tell their stories and try to empower themselves and advocate for their own rights,” said Friedman, who is now a second-year video production student.

DC students also produced content from the trip including a short film from Friedman where he interviewed a leader in Las Arrugas. He shared his film in April when the DC students reunited with their friends from Guatemala virtually in The Rotary Global Classroom at Durham College.

He explains that the DC students not only picked up real-world media production experience, but they could demonstrate that they were doing good in the community they visited.

“We could come back and say, look, the people in this community greatly benefited from us being there and here are the photos and video to actually provide proof of that.”

In Ottawa between October 2 and 4, Friedman will be attending events organized by Global Skills Opportunity (GSO) and Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan). Domestic students who participate in FLCA trips are funded by GSO with no cost to the students and Friedman said he plans to talk about what a “tremendous experience” the trip was for him and his peers at DC and how it benefited the community in Guatemala.

DC faculty member and Film and Motion Design: Media Fundamentals program coordinator Jennifer Bedford led the FLCA trip and gave Friedman kudos for his team spirit and impact on his peers.

“Shane’s enthusiasm was contagious, inspiring his fellow team members and the local community alike. His positive attitude and tireless work ethic were instrumental in keeping things on track and motivating the team, even in challenging circumstances,” she said. “His ability to maintain a sense of excitement and purpose greatly contributed to the project’s overall success in Guatemala.”

Bedford said the international learning opportunity for MAD students is a catalyst for engaging with Indigenous and all communities worldwide.

“The Home and Away: Storytelling FLCA gives DC students an opportunity to collaborate with local Mayan youth to craft and share media stories highlighting Indigenous rights, not only in Canada but also on a global scale,” she said. “This cross-cultural journey will equip them with the essential skills needed to be both global citizens and professionals.”

Learn more about Faculty-Led Classrooms Abroad at Durham College.