Peru- Beutiful country with kind people

Being part of FLIP #centennial_sage was a huge honour, a big thanks to #centennialcollege for providing this opportunity. Applied our knowledge and experience to implement #prerequisiteprograms for a pilot plant IESTP, ILLIMO. It was a great experience which helped me to learn technical as well as personal skills as working with a group of 10 students from different countries with different ideas is never easy but this is how you learn #teamwork. Besides this, a warm welcome by our Peruvian partners  made our willingness for our project more stronger. Also, we visited museums, beach and a number of manufacturing plants which added a lot of fun. Received the certification of recognition for all of our team work and also raised fund from our group for students as a scholarship after going through emotional discussion  about the poverty and passion of Peruvian children for education. The trip was overall mixture of education, fun and a lifelong rememberable global experience.

My Peruvian Experience

The visit to Peru ( Illimo, Chiclayo) was much more than work and cultural experience. This was planned during the reading of the semester, I personally felt it was one of the useful ways to spend the week. Before the trip even started, we had to do a lot of per – work so that we had an idea of what to expect when we visit the institute. The institute where we worked is called Instituto de Educaciόn Superior Technolόgico Publico (IESTP) and this is located in Illimo which is an hour distance from Chiclayo.

At first, we made a quick one day stop at the capital – Lima to do some little sightseeing and have some cultural experience. We walked down the streets and saw the beautiful south Pacific ocean, spend some time there and then we commute back to the hotel and to the airport for our next flight to Chiclayo.

Unlike Lima, Chiclayo had a completely different setup. The “City of Friendship” as the locals lovingly call Chiclayo was more on the rural side with narrow and busy streets. We were amused to see the city being lively even in the late hours. Our work in Illimo, Chiclayo was scheduled in such a way that we had industrial and field visits in the morning and the work-related to the institute was in the afternoon. After our first field visit to the Guinea pig facility, we were actually excited to see the institute as we were informed that the person who developed this institute put their heart and soul to this project. We were amused by the work they have done to this institute. We started off the work by auditing the premises which were our initial task. I initially thought the work which was assigned to us was to apply the knowledge which we gained in the lecture, but that perspective entirely changed when the partners started to value our opinions. This motivated us to further work hard and give them the most of the information we could give in a short period. The people there are really ambitious are using every single opportunity to obtain even the tiniest bit of information that they receive and this gave us furthermore enthusiasm to work even though the hot sun drained most of our energy down.  The Peruvian partners were such lovely people even though the language was a huge barrier they took every single chance to in tract with us and made us feel that we were one among them.

The industries which we visited was quite unique. We had an opportunity to visit a guinea pig facility, bee apiary, a small goat facility, INIA – Instituto Nacional de Innovacion Agraria, Grandules international and one of their fields where they cultivate peppers. Each facility had its own significance. From the Guinea pig facility, we learned about the breeding conditions and types of the breed that are in the facility. In the Bee Apiary, we got to know about the importance of the Queen bee and its cultivation. In INIA we saw how the biopesticides were developed and its usefulness in the society. We also learned about the soil in that area and its apt condition for cultivation. Grandules is an international company that exports peppers, sweet peppers, and mangoes to various parts of the world including Canada. Following this visit, we had a chance to visit one of their pepper cultivation fields and we got to know about the parameters and the methods that they practice to obtain maximum production of the produce.

We ended the trip with cultural activity and sightseeing. The activity started with a wonderful Peruvian home-style dinner and the following day we had an opportunity to see a few museums like Museo de Sitio Huaca Rajada – Sipan and Royal Tombs of Sipan Museum. The guide who came with us gave us a detailed input of the civilization present in that region and made us understand the importance of the culture. Finally, we ended this trip with the visit to the beach and we headed back to the airport for our way back to Toronto.

As a whole, this experience made me realize the importance of knowledge and technology. The trips had it’s up and down and we weren’t able to quickly adapt to the change in the climate and food in a few of the places were excellent and few places did not serve the best. Apart from the cons, this was a very good learning experience. I thank my professor and the college for giving me this amazing opportunity.

Tarakeshwari Parthasarathy.

A Memorable study trip: FLIP-Peru

I am thankful to Centennial college for organizing the Faculty-Led International Program. It was an honour to be a part of the FLIP -Peru program. Along with my ten other classmates and two faculty members (Prof. Xavier Aguirre and Prof. Marco). Our journey began on Feb 22, 2020. We had a daily visit to IESTP – Illimo to work on the pilot plant. Along with IESTP, we visited few other places such as Guinea pig farm, apiary, National Institute of Agricultural Research and Gandules internationals.

On day one we visited Guinea pig farm where we learned about the rearing of the pigs. Later we headed to see the IESTP pilot plant. On day two, we visited the apiary where we saw honey bees, artificial honeycombs and equipment to obtain honey.  Day three, we visited the international institute of agricultural research where we learned about the natural media of pest control (Using insects and larva). Day four we visited one of the biggest facilities in Peru “Gandules Internationals”. Day five was scheduled to visit farms and fields of Gandules Internationals. Day six, we utilized for cultural activities where we visited three amazing museums.

The IESTP pilot plant is designed for the production of jam, yogurt, pickles, cheese and honey. They have a few modern types of equipment which is enough to start production for small scale businesses. The professors and employees of the institute are very hardworking and trying their best to start the plant as soon as possible. I am very glad that I also contributed something to help them. The task was given to us was to develop a process flow chart and diagram for jam, pickles and yogurt production. We all tried our best to develop those. For their better understanding, we translated those charts in Spanish. We also got a chance to do premises inspection which was a great learning experience. The visit to Gandules International was amazing. I learned a lot about pickle facility and GMPs. I saw practically what I learned so far during the course of three semesters. We also visited their farms and fields to see how and what technology they use to grow their vegetables especially bell peppers and jalapeno.

The Peruvian people are very humble, kind and warm. They respect their visitors and try to provide the best hospitality. Our cultural activities began with a dinner party at the guinea pig farm owner’s house. The next day we visited three museums where we learned about the Peruvian ancestors and their culture. We returned home safely on March 2, 2020.

Overall the experience of the FLIP Peru program was amazing and memorable. I would like to thank #SaGE for organizing such a wonderful study trip. Our instructors, prof. Xavier and Prof. Marco took care of all of us and made sure of our safety. It was a safe and pleasant journey. I will never forget the FLIP Peru trip.

Thank you.

Amanjyotkaur Banwayat

#FLIP-Peru (Food Science Technology)



There and back again.


An hour and a half hiking to a waterfall

The title is a reference to Tolkien, more precisely to Bilbo Baggins. Why? Well, because just like Bilbo, I have been on an adventure with a group of people almost unknown but returned with friends.

Our journey through the Dominican Republic aimed to look closely at how community economic development works. Community economic development happens when a community, government, and business work together to improve the quality of life in a place such as TUR!SOPP (Operational Partnership Public-Private Project in Tourism) has done. There, in Puerto Plata city, we spent eight intense days learning.

Learning from Juanin how to use our knowledge in favour of the community and creating opportunities.

Learning from Sandra how to transform realities regardless if the resources are denied.

Learning from Alexis how to save the environment and at the same time bring income to home.

Learning how to be determined with Sally.

Learning how to be welcoming hosts from Mr. Tim Hall, Señor Orlando Doña Julia.

Learning how to absorb knowledge wherever it is from my teachers Linor and Rachel.

Learning from my friends how to support and take care of each other. We had two birthday parties!

Learning from myself how to make my week productive, physically active and enjoyable at the same time.

In addition to formal learning by Ambra and Juan Pablo.

However, learning is just one of the many products that I bring from this trip. Being part of the workgroup to design activities using a community-based tourism approach is another reward from this trip. Understanding how to use community assets to improve local tourism will be valuable in my career. Besides, of course, all the tours around the beautiful city, the hiking and waterfalls, the delicious food at Tubagua Lodge and Sandra’s restaurant, the traditional Merengue and my dance class, thank you Rita, the smiles and hugs. 

Now it is time to practice all learning because being there brought me memories from my last jobs in Brazil where I worked inside the communities like Puerto Plata, and I miss that.

Thanks to Sage, who splendidly provided everything for this trip since the beginning. The Flip Dominican Republic 2020 is among my unforgettable experiences. I wish to say to Centennial students pay attention to the Sage website and take every opportunity they offer. You won’t regret it. 

Luciano de Lima
Community Development Work student


It felt like home…

This opportunity was completely amazing! How often you have the chance to go to a wonderful country to learn about your program and at the same time share with your classmates. My Global Experience was in the beautiful Dominican Republic. My trip started with nostalgia, the first time that I saw Dominican people, the sun, the landscape, I immediately remembered home. I did not expect that everything was so similar to my home country but I was there experiencing the warmth and happiness of the people, eating delicious food, and allowing me the opportunity to reconnect with my roots.

We stayed in an eco-lodge; the cabins were very particular, very artisanal. We share our space with many animals, it was like finding this balance to coexist with these interesting creatures. Our schedule was very fascinating, every day we did something different but always related to our program. When you have the opportunity to see the things that people are doing for their community, you feel motivated. It was a shot of reality but also an appreciation for the work of these human beings. Although we are kilometres away from them, the goal is still the same. To contribute to our society no matter the context, the country, the people, the approach. Every effort impacts positively on the community. This experience gave me another perspective of life and it was a reminder of why I decided to come to Canada, to study a profession that is oriented to the social field. The truth is that I am not here just for my benefit. I am here also looking for a better life for my family and my community.

Being there and having the opportunity to share with my classmates and professors is the other aspect that I will always keep in my heart. You realized how amazing people are. I learned from the community, I learned from my professors, I learned from my classmates. These people were an open book that offered me the opportunity to grow spiritually and intellectually next to them. This experience brought the best of us, the support that was given from each other is invaluable. This experience was the opportunity to reconnect with your roots, with your peers, with your thoughts, and your inner child.

Marian Torres

Community Development Work 

You are now connected

As I signed up for the FLIP (Faculty lead International Placement) program I had no idea what to expect. Would we be working with grassroots trailblazers? Perhaps we would be focusing more on the economic history of the area. Maybe we would be working to share the message of living a greener and cleaner life! Everyone said it would change the way I look at the world but it was hard to believe. Taking off into Canadian skies, I felt excited and nervous about the adventure I was about to embark on.

We landed in Puerto Plata, a city hosting the first port ever created by Christopher Columbus in the Dominican Republic and soon learned that part of our job was to keep our eyes open to notice the assets available in each community. This was to come up with ways to engage tourists, that recently began returning to Puerto Plata on cruise ships, in a sustainable way. The point was to step away from walled-off resorts and cruise ship routines enough to take in the beautiful communities that surrounded the port, support the local economy and take home an unforgettable and changing experience.

We visited many budding experiences with fresh eyes and eager hearts. We visited a backyard mine owned by a local family where chunks of amber were extracted from the ground and made into jewellery. We visited a beautiful and warm family that owned a coffee plantation up in the mountains. We experienced how coffee beans travel from the tree to the cup and clapped along to a diddy they sang while grinding freshly roasted coffee beans (which smell amazing by the way). We scaled mountains and slunk through rivers examining prospective tourism opportunities and enjoyed the breathtaking view.

It all seemed so beautiful, tranquil and new but we learned that Puerto Plata was actually recovering from a difficult past. Puerto Plata was well known for being a major port, tourism hotspot and coffee-growing region which attracted attention from around the globe. In the 1980s, coffee leaf rust, a global disease that had been spreading, killed 80% of the coffee trees in the area and its economy took a devastating hit. This caused farmers to begin deforestation in an attempt to rid the mountainside of these diseased coffee trees and pick up cattle farming instead. Large expanses of grass replaced lush shaded coffee forests and in turn, less rainfall was able to trickle through the mountainside gound into the riverways. Because of this, Yasica river, a large river flowing through the area lost 50% of its water flow over the course of twenty years.

It took a while to get my head around that one. I’ve heard of cause and effect. I’ve learned in class how everything is connected but I haven’t seen it like this. To think that what would seem like an opportunistic moment (beginning a cattle farm) could become so devastating (drying up a major river) was beyond anything I could imagine! This trip wasn’t about one person, one project, one town… it was about realizing how everything is intertwined and connected and how every part of the economy is part of a fine intricate web.

I walked into this program expecting to help a few people or work together on a project that needed extra workers on the job but I was so mistaken. Although we did meet beautiful people, listened to excellent music, experienced amazing food and shared incredible conversation about the Dominican Republic, this was about increasing the health of communities through something as small as tourists planting little coffee tree seeds and placing them in a nursery. A task that took a few minutes out of the day and meant to appease bored vacationers, created a whole opportunity to impact the entirety of Puerto Plata. If the coffee trees can be given to farmers, they can plant those trees and the forests surrounding, protecting those trees will return. If the forests return, the roots that hold those forests will hold more heavy rain and allow the waters to trickle through the ground and replenish the rivers. If the waters are going into the river, there is less runoff and flooding of towns will lessen and people can build their communities with more security. The impact is tremendous!

Everything is connected whether we see it or not. This just so happened to be a more dramatic situation in which I could spend one week with the right people and see the big picture but life isn’t like that and many communities aren’t either. It’s important for us to realize that. I went from feeling so confident in participating in this program to being humbled and dumbfounded by how big the impact of each activity is. I feel that I need to learn, now more than ever, about how those interconnections work and how I can be an advocate for positive change. As a community development worker, I would like to carry this experience into every project I work on. Not only is this applicable in community development work but it’s applicable to all areas of life. I would like to remember that all things are connected, whether I see it right away or not, and work towards healthy connectivity between those aspects.

FLIP 2020: Puerto Plata – CDW

This experience has changed all my perception about Community Economic Development, the course which my FLIP was connected to. I could see and understand how it works in a practical situation and it made all the difference for me. I am glad for the learning, for the group support, for the professors and my friends, we created deep connections and we quite enjoyed this experience together.

We visited communities, talked with local people, compared the community-based tourism and the typical tourism in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. We learned more than concepts and processes, we felt the reality and how things happen in the real-life. I feel more prepared for the placement next semester. Also, we had two professors with us, so we could have insights about the engagement process.

I was happy to see how the community did not give up and is still looking for a better quality of life for all of them. The Dominican Republic has a sad history with a lot of struggles and fights, but they are strong, happy and kind people. I would like to mention our guide, Juanin, an excellent professional who took care of everyone and very knowledgeable.

In each community, we understood something about Community Development Work, which is a wide program. We had moments to connect all the aspects within the program, such as local people, economic aspects, sustainability, social issues, different and divergent approaches. Also, every day we had moments to discuss what we did and our perspectives; they were great talks, where the group felt safe to present their opinions and different reflections without judgement. Learning from other´s experiences is one of the best ways to increase our knowledge and expand our minds. After these days I feel more confident in myself and my professional future. I believe I can do a good job and support people to change their lives.

Marina Costa

International Student

Dominican Republic CDEV FLIP

I recently returned from the Dominican Republic with some of my classmates and teachers from the Community Development Work Program. The purpose of the trip was to study community-based tourism in economic community development. Before having this experience, I had a very shallow idea of how these two areas were connected, however after returning, I feel as though I have a much deeper understanding not only of what we learned while abroad but how to connect my experiences to the work that we are doing here in Toronto.

We had the opportunity to participate in many of the tourist activities in Puerto Plata. Puerto Plata suffered a major crash in their economy after the wave of tourists who were coming in for the resorts dissipated. Their goal is to redesign tourism based on natural assets, in a way that supports their local economy, and directed focus to one of their most incredible assets; the mountains.

We were allowed to participate in many of the tourist activities that have recently opened, such as a cable car ride to a beautiful mountain top above the clouds, hikes through the mountainside and rivers, visiting and swimming in beautiful natural springs and waterfalls, planting coffee plants and many other unforgettable experiences.

Near the end of the trip, we were able to apply the knowledge and skills that we have gained throughout the year, as well as from lectures and presentations that we participated in during our time in the Dominican Republic.

I feel so grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in such a valuable experience. I made so many deep connections to my peers, our local partners, and the country. I came back with a brand new perspective on community development work and the value of community. We became a family on this trip and I am so happy to say that I have made lifelong friends who I was fortunate enough to share this incredible experience with.

Returning to Toronto and getting back school, I am so excited to share my experiences and everything that I learned with my classmates, and I feel that I have so much more to share and to put into my work in the future whether it is during class, placements or my future after graduating from Centennial.

Overall, it was such an amazing and valuable experience and I am so glad that I had the opportunity to participate in such a meaningful program!



Being an international student is not easy. When you begin to experience the changes of being away from home, many feelings can take place and make you think day by day if you made a good decision when you left. However, there are places and people that from the first moment, make you remember where you came from and give you the warmth of the home you left, allowing you to forget those sad feelings and providing you with a wonderful experience.

I am going to tell you about my trip when I found the opportunity to go to the Dominican Republic, I was very excited to meet a new country, fear and happiness took a place on me because I did not know what I was going to find in This place, which at that time was unknown to me and. When I got there, these feelings got bigger once I realized that I was in a country that would remind me of thousands of things that I had left behind. The experience on Puerto Plata gave me the feeling of being at home, having the opportunity to experience their culture allowed me to see the world with other eyes and grow personally and professionally.

I met many places and people who full me with their happiness. One of them was the Community of Pedro Garcia, which is characterized by coffee production. When I found myself on his coffee trial, I could understand the importance of persistence and the desire of a community to move forward. I also saw how people care about teaching others to be able to progress on their own. On the other hand, I learned about the love and conviction of people in the Nuevo Renacer neighbourhood, where they taught me that any goal you set for yourself, you can achieve if you wish with your heart. This community gave me great motivation to continue striving within my profession and to be able to do my best. Since I could feel the pure love of these people, especially children, who thank you for your work with a huge smile and a hug that leaves you breathless.

If you ask me the reasons why you should go to this place, I will assure that the community of Puerto Plata, will fill you with its wonderful culture, you will feel the warmth and hope of its people and you will be able to experiments its beautiful nature, that day by day gives you a new sense of peace and tranquillity, while allowing you to learn about the importance of working as a team, being persistent and having a vision beyond the limits.

Saying goodbye to this place was not easy and I thanks with my hearth for the great teachings that left me, especially those with whom we could share more moments. Juanin, Tim, Alexis, Sandra, Amber, Juan Pablo and Liz.


Andrea Castillo, 301098175


Community Development Worker