By HEATHER BAIANO
May will bring a chance to learn and gain international experience for 12 students of Niagara College. A six-week program called Go Global, Live Local (GGLL) combines the classroom experience with international awareness.
“We need to learn to appreciate the world outside of our comfort zone, not remain ignorant to the problems that our fellow humans are facing,” says Dusty Campbell, who has participated in GGLL several times.
Students will be taking a three-credit course designed, as the GGLL posters advertise, to make them “world ready.”
There are no prerequisites for this Liberal Arts and Science course, and any college student is eligible to participate because it is a general elective.
“We learn a lot about ourselves as individuals and our place in the world,” says Lorna Miani, co-ordinator of Pre-Health Sciences and professor of GGLL.
The course runs for six weeks. The first two are in class and cover global themes such as poverty, health care, education, and gender and social issues.
“It is good experience for students who haven’t had the opportunity to travel,” Miani says. “It is good for students who want to experience more than just a bird’s-eye view.”
The next two weeks will be spent abroad. This year, GGLL will be spending two weeks in Salvador, Brazil.
Students will be experiencing IFBA University, an elementary and high school, orphanage, a neonatal triage test centre and Irma Dulce Hospital. There are assignments to complete while in Salvador, such as talking to residents to help gain information. Portuguese is the language of the country, so GGLL will be hiring interpreters.
Salvador has a large population of African inhabitants. Three million slaves were brought there, so the culture reflects that fact. Students will see social issues, such as poverty, up close.
Many students think they are ready to face the reality. But Jake Stika, a fourth-year International Commerce and Global Development student at the Niagara-on-the-Lake campus and with three years of Brazil experience, says, “There is no way to prepare. It’s always a shock.”
After returning to Canada, students have two more weeks of classes. It is a debriefing time, in which presentations are made, assignments finished and experiences shared.
“The course and trip may not have an impact on the career path of all the students.
However, one thing is certain,” Campbell says. “It will have an impact on their lives.”
Miani sums up what the program helps students realize.
“It’s not about us giving; it’s more about us understanding another country and how it works. It’s about the similarities we have in common.”
“We are a small part of a big world,” says Campbell, “but even the smallest person can make a big impact.”
For more information, visit www.niagaracollege.ca/content/LiberalArts/GoGlobal.aspx.
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