Puerto Plata and Community Based Tourism

By Sara Archambault

Being given the opportunity to travel thousands of kilometres away with 11 of my classmates and 2 of my instructors to the beautiful Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic was a once in a lifetime experience. It was humbling and eye-opening to the way in which other people live in different places. The first thing I noticed was the people and how friendly and kind they were to us, regardless of what they may be experiencing and that caused me to feel a great appreciation for my life back in Canada. I was flooded with emotions and a renewal of energy for change. I was finally able to look through the community development lens in real life situations while I endured this experience and I was able to relate it back to the community economic development principles.

Fort San Felipe in Puerto Plata

Some of the community-based tourism excursions that we were able to participate in was a cable car ride, a visit to Fort San Felipe with a monument to General Gregorio LuPeron, Sosua Beach, a hike to Los Charcos, an amber mine, a week stay at Tubagua Eco lodge, and the Pedro Garcia coffee village. These experiences were full of breathtaking views and once in a lifetime experiences, it also highlights many of what Puerto Plata has to offer to tourists. These experiences relate to the principles of community economic development because of the use of locally produced goods such as food products or handmade souvenirs. It also displays the local skill development of the community members by utilizing their skills, knowledge, and social capital to create income. I feel that community-based tourism is essential in getting money back into the economy of Puerto Plata because it does not see as many tourists as other communities, and it also gets tourists off of resorts and into local communities. CBT is a great way to bring back those tourists and for them to see what Puerto Plata has to offer and hopefully with the recent revitalization in tourism, their economy can get the kick-start that it needs

– Cultivate the habit of being grateful-

View from the cable car ride in San 
Felipede De Puerto Plata 
The view from the Tubagua Ecolodge Puerto Plata


Sosua Beach in Puerto Plata

My Flip Trip Experience in Puerto Plata

Written By: Abena Martin

To begin with, it’s hard to put into words the way I feel while experiencing the flip trip in the Dominican Republic. However, overall this experience has been such a delight as well as life-changing. This was a wonderful and a great way of viewing and identifying the different communities of Puerto Plata. During this flip trip, I was able to explore a few communities as well as experience some of the extraordinary excursion Puerto Plata has to offer. For instance, some of these tourist sites entailed the cable car ride, 27 waterfalls, Amber Cove, hiking trip down the mountain, attending Sosua beach, viewing the military fort, God’s pool (Waterfalls), as well as giving the chance to pour a concrete floor for the UNPC office among other great things. Furthermore, I was giving the chance to explore life on a whole other level. I got the chance to view a different part of the world that I otherwise wouldn’t have gotten the chance to see up close in personal.

Moreover, getting a better understanding of life and having a better understanding of new-comers. Honestly, the thing that impressed me most, I would have to say was visiting the neighborhood of Neuvo Renacer and seeing some community member’s drive and in order to see and make a difference. For one thing, there was a community member name (Sandra) who was also known as the Mother Theresa, who was the community advocate, pastor, as well as other major roles she has played. Puerto Plata is a beautiful island with such richness of culture, during my stay in this great place I have come to realize the essence of how gifted this island truly is. Overall, this trip was a memorable experience with such overflowing knowledge to gain as well as looking at community structures in a different lens. I feel ecstatic to have been giving the chance to go on an excursion such as this standard. Besides, I was participating, gaining knowledge, as well as memories.

Therefore, this experience had made me be humble and understanding, and opened in allowing new advantages to not scare me rather than enlighten me. My heart is still smiling with such gratitude, this flip trip is like a gift that I will always cherish and hold close to my heart. I would recommend that students get involved with this great opportunity and challenge themselves to do something incredible that otherwise they wouldn’t have done. When individuals take a vacation, they usually sit on the resorts not really giving the chance to go view the area where they are residing at, in an up-close and personal manner.

Trip to Puerto Plata Sponsered by SAGE

Written by Abdifatah Hussein

The Trip

As a group of students we were offered the opportunity to visit the community of Puerto Plata and learn about the community development skills, observe the economy of the people, and build skills among other things. It was an eye-opening experience, where a student like me was able to see an entire world outside of Canada and experience something I wouldn’t have been able to without Sage.
We got to meet local community members that accepted us like family, help them with different initiatives, and immerse ourselves in the Dominican culture. The opportunity to observe the local economy as well, see the strengths and weaknesses associated with it, and make note of the opportunities of growth there helped us gain experience with international economies and how to help them with their various needs. Another amazing thing that we were able to do was have to opportunity to listen to a number of different speakers and guests who taught us a multitude of things that relate to our field and future career paths.

One of our amazing guests showing us how to really market and start off a business step by step.
The Centennial Team staying at the Ecolodge!

The Economy

The main reason we went to the Dominican Republic as a class was to observe their economy, analyze its strengths and weaknesses, and apply our Community Development techniques there. When people think of the DR the first thing that comes to mind for a lot of people is the resorts, and the party life on the beach. But as we had came to learn, this beautiful land had a lot more to offer then that.
The economy of the DR is comprised of a very intricate web of corresponding political bodies, agencies, and international organizations. One interesting thing I learnt is that the Japanese helped to boost the tourism for the DR, but only for a contracted amount of time. Aside from the tourism though unfortunately there is a huge gap between the wealthy and the poor. If you are not able to work with tourists, or know English it is hard to make a sustainable living for many Dominicans. We have noticed a paradigm shift in thinking though when it comes to economic development strategies, and local communities are now starting to take advantage of their local commodities and cultural hotspots. One that I wish to mention is the amazing coffee in the DR. There has been an effort to attract tourists to see the coffee manufacturing process, from the tree to the cup, and with the added bonus of seeing the locals sing to the beans it is a great experience they can capitalize on.

The People and the Experience

Overall this was an amazing eye-opener of an experience, and one that was a huge learning opportunity for a lot of us. For some it was the catalyst for them to realize what exactly they wanted to do in the community development field. For others it helped them learn more about the economic development of countries outside of their own. And for myself personally it was a chance to learn more about myself and how I can better interact with not just my classmates but with different kinds of people around the world.

The scenery was absolutely breathtaking, something that a lot of us did not expect. Waking up every morning to see the sun rise over the hills of Puerto Plata, going for 4 hour long hikes across the land just to dive into a beautiful lake and more was something that created a deep connection between nature and us all. But the most beautiful thing we encountered on our trip was the people. Every Dominican we met showed us a level of love and care that we don’t often see from strangers. When they found out we were there to do Community work as well they treated us with even more hospitality, and this is something I would like everyone who visits the DR to see, and not just the resorts that don’t help their communities. In conclusion this trip was an amazing life-changing experience that I must thank SAGE and Centennial College for giving me the opportunity to experience!

Why Community-based Tourism?

Why promote Community-Based Tourism?

By Shaundell Scott.

March 4, 2019

I was fortunate to spend seven days in the Dominican Republic with my eleven classmates and two of my professors on a project. This project was sponsored by Centennial College which is located in Toronto, Canada. The course is Community Economic Development, located within the Community Development Program). We traveled to the Dominican Republic to study what is Community-Based Tourism. While we were there, we did lots of projects and touring, we learned about Community-based tourism from a community point of view. However, what stood out to me was the water situation I experienced while being at the Ecolodge where we stayed and how we take water consumption and electricity for granted.

Why promote Community Based Tourism?

To save water and electricity: Conservation of water is vital for globalization. In Canada we waste gallons of water, we shower for hours at a time consuming not only large amounts of water but electricity.

* In the Dominican Republic, most days we were only allowed to shower for 10 minutes the most or else water will run out. You had to wet your skin, turn the water off, lather it will soap and rinse it off.

* Toilets were flushed only when you stool or if the urine in the toilet was brown in colour, if it was light yellow you urinate in it until such time or someone use it to stool then you flush to help conserve the water.

* Lights were turned off every time you left the room which was an open concept. You get the natural light during the day from the sun. The view for your bed was breathtaking as you see the hills, valleys and the lights from the city at night whiles lying on your bed.

* Most of the lights were turn off at a particular time in the night, so getting to the toilet you either had to use your mobile phone torchlight or a manual torchlight.

* There was no bottled water on the Ecolodge; we had filtered water, in which you take your recycled water bottle and fill it up for your needs.

Wake up Canada! Although we are going to be one of the last countries in North America affected by global warming, if we don’t take note and conserve, conserve, conserve, we will be affected at some point. Let’s teach our children how important it is to lessen our ecological footprints, while thinking about the effects of global warming.

With this in mind think about this, I visited the twenty-seven waterfalls (Los Charcos), and due to global warming (ie. rain drought in the region), we only had access to ten falls instead of the regular twelve which is used for tourism. All of this effect is due to climate change and no rainfall, there was no water in the remaining falls. How ironic that is, yes it is, but it is the facts. I remember when I was small and would get angry when my parents say to me

* “If you are not using the lights turn it off.”

* “Stop standing in front of the fridge so long with the door open.”

* “Who is watching the television? Turn it off” or

* “Why the fan is on, and no one is using it?”

All of that was for financial purposes. Today it is for us to save energy and our planet.

So why promote Community Based-Tourism?

So we can learn to appreciate what we have with a renewed sense of Global warming effects and how we can learn to lessen our footprints one by one.

 

 

My Flip Experience 2019

Jennifer Keene

March 6th, 2019

Puerto Plata is a beautiful city located in The Dominican Republic and I feel extremely blessed to have experienced the gems throughout this city and the lovely people that live there. My stay at the Tubagua Ecolodge was truly a challenge for me but I’m so glad I pushed past my fears and made the best of it. I am not an outdoorsy type of lady and I have a serious fear of bugs but I didn’t want that to stop me from all that was ahead of me for the next 6 days. I got to experience hiking to “God’s swimming pool” a beautiful waterfall located 40 mins away from the lodge and it was AMAZING! Walking through the hills and valleys was exhilarating and it made feel like I could conquer the world! Me and the FLIP team alongside our wonderful tour guide, encouraged each other, shared stories about challenges we faced and overcame and we kept each other smiling with our corny jokes. Many of us haven’t walked that long and far in a very long time, but we just kept going! I saw all my classmates and instructors in a whole new light and I felt so empowered by each of them whenever I would feel like it was getting tough. I compared that whole hiking experience to life, we go through ups and downs, we struggle, it gets tough but we just gotta persevere. Then when you get to the finish line you realize it was all worth it in the end and the challenges you faced weren’t so bad after all. Even leaning on a friend for support is necessary at times too, because we all face similar challenges.

All of the excursions really impressed me, I felt like our days were planned out well and taught us so much about community development and how successful organizations and projects can be if we use the tools we have learned and apply them. I assumed we would be doing a lot of work in the underserved communities so I was ready to get to work! but instead we heard very heartfelt stories, we learned about the failures and successes and we took a tour throughout the area and got a clear picture of what an underserved community in another country looks like.

This experience has taught me to push past any fears I have and to never assume nor have any expectations. I learned to just go for it, face everything head on, to never be afraid to ask for help or to ask a question and use every experience to help you be a better person. I plan to use all the tools I learned from being apart of a team with individuals who share the same passions and vision but have unique personalities, in my own projects and at work so we can be successful when trying to create an effective community based program etc.

You just gotta F-L-I-P!! (Forget Limitations & Instill Positivity)

FLIP PERU 2019

It was a great honor to be a part of Faculty Led International Program #FLIPPERU organized by #centennialcollege. Group of 10 students from Food science Technology department along with a professor and chair person started the trip. The program involved setting up a pilot plant at IESTP, ILLIMO by applying our technical knowledge in real time and helping them in designing the process flow for dairy and Jam products, developing #SSOPs, #GMPs and providing recommendations for all the #prerequisite programs. We also got the opportunity to meet the Ministry of Education, Lima and Regional Governor of Lambayeque. Apart from this, field tour to Banana plantation, Guinea Pig farm, Apicola Apiculutre, Agro farms were the highlight which gave us practical knowledge about the food industries.

Through this great opportunity I gained technical knowledge and most importantly learnt to work with a team of 10 students from different parts of the Country and achieve common goal.

Apart from all the technical experience it was a fun filled trip visiting museums and understanding their civilization, enjoyed with the group at Lima and Chiclayo beaches, buying souvenirs from local markets and most importantly exploring the local Peruvian food.

Thank you @centennial_sage #SaGEJourneys for providing such a wonderful opportunity. Many thanks to #Professor Xavier Aguirre and #Chair Steve Boloudakis for organizing and helping us, without their support this trip wouldn’t be possible. Special mention to the Illimo, Peruvian partners for their hospitality and kindness. #GlobalExperience

Thank you – Kalaiselvi Vasudevan

Left my heart in Peru

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10 days is neither short nor long for a school trip to Peru but it is long enough for us to get to know each other. Thanks Centennial College for giving us a chance to apply what we have learnt from Food Science Technology program to support in building a pilot plant for IESTP, ILLIMO. Teamwork and friendship connected us to be one to help our college’s partner in Illimo and also learnt from them who are full of hospitality and will. Not only that it was such an honor for us to introduce ourselves and share our work and experience with Ministry of Education in Lima, Peru.

10 students with 10 different characteristics from 5 countries Canada, India, Venezuela, Jamaica and Vietnam have gathered and been led by our stunning professor- Xavier and Steve. We have worked together to build a safety program for the pilot plant in the partner institute with constructive recommendations. No matter how hard we worked, we are happy to be welcomed warmly from Ms. Maria, Lidia and Peruvian students. The extreme heat of this tropical country cannot stop our willing contributions to the success of the final project. Besides, we had a great opportunity to discover Lima – the capital of Peru and Chiclayo – a beach city which is known as a city of friendship. In Lima, we had a meeting with the authorities of Ministry of Education to present our projects along with our college’s introduction. Only 2 days in Lima, we made time to visit some local markets to buy souvenirs for family and friends and also did not forget to taste some local foods. 10 strangers became friends from that moment.

After an 8-hour-and-a-half flight, we arrived in Chiclayo city where we had cultural activities by visiting Sican museums and the dry forest in Pomac before having another meeting with regional government of Lambayeque. Then we started working on our project at IESTP. It took us about 1 hour to commute every single day by van. On the first working day, our hearts were melted by a small banner in Spanish “Bienvenidos Amigos Canadienses” (Welcome Canadian friends) right at the main office of the institute. Getting to know about this institute, the profs, staffs and students was a pleasure. The students are very young but they have a huge passion for the subjects they are following at school. Without modern facilities, they have been studying very hard for a better life after graduation. We were surprised to know many students out there can not afford to study even though the tuition fee for one year is about 250 soles (around 100 CAD). We decided to raise a fund from our group for 5 scholarship awards named “FLIP Peru 2019” for the freshmen after our very emotional discussion.

Saying goodbye is never easy but this happens sometimes in life. We were very proud, not because of receiving the certificate of recognition from IESTP, but eventually we found ourselves and learnt some lessons which we have not got from school. What is more, we meet each other for one mission and become friends. We would like to use an old African proverb, which Steve reminded us, to put an end for this post “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”.

Thanh Sang Huynh – FLIP Peru 2019

A Student in Scotland

I think I can finally safely say I am over most of the Jet lag (Ha!). I woke up with a good nights rest and went to prepare some breakfast and green tea for myself and my roommate, Monica. We were out relatively early today, as Monica and I have a meeting at 9am with our program coordinator, to go over our finalized timetables. We were both excited and nervous on our walk to school this morning (Fun Fact: The sun really doesn’t come up here until around 9am). So, we have both learned to do most things in the dark lol! (Which also saves on electricity, thumbs up for sustainability).
 
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As we walked to the university (about a ten-minute walk from our flat), we shared our excitement and nerves regarding our upcoming semester at the University of the West of Scotland. Upon arrival, we met with our coordinator who happens to be from Greece (so he has both a Greek and Scottish accent mushed into an entirely different fraken-accent). He’s great. He was able to work out and give us our identical timetables and… guess what! We only have three classes (due to credit sizing conversion between Canada and the UK). This meaning, we only have classes on Wednesday mornings and Thursday’s. Giving us five extra days for exploring, study and whatever else we can get ourselves into, Woohoo!
 
After discussing enrolment and some paperwork; Monica and I were free for the rest of the day. I ended up buying a University sweater to show some UWS pride (and it’s a plus because it’s very warm!). We got hungry around 1pm, so we decided to go to “Malatso” (a cafe located near campus,  as they carry a vegan menu and have student discounts!).
 
I had a delicious vegan mini “Scottish breakfast”, it was very tasty! Monica also enjoyed a baked potato, which is a staple food here in Scotland. After eating, we explored the town of Paisley together and finally bought pillows for our flat!! Yay! (no more sleeping on my airplane neck pillow…lol). For the remainder of the afternoon, we took some photos together and explored the old churches in the area. The main attraction here in Paisley (the town we are staying in, near Glasgow), is “The Paisley Abbey”, which is an old church that dates back to the 12th century! It is so beautiful and we are so lucky as it can be seen from our flat window.
 
After finishing our exploring for the day, we visited Morrison’s (a UK grocery store), to do some food shopping and use their wifi. We are loving all the new and exciting products that are offered here. What an adventure it has been. When we got home, I made us some long-grain rice and vegetables for supper (alongside some trustee convenience store bananas! Which are surprisingly very good).
 
I finished packing my school bag for tomorrow and prepared myself for bed. I went to bed around 9pm. I know that seems early, but since it gets dark so early, we feel tired much quicker. Also, we did a ton of walking today.
 
Tomorrow marks the first official day of classes!! We are both so excited!
Love and Greeting from Bonnie Scotland!
 
You can continue to follow Monica and I’s adventures by following us on our Instagrams;
Melanie: @melanie_mueller5
Monica: @milamoniquemara

Waking up in the city that never sleeps – NYC Advertising Week 2018

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Written By: Sarah Galley

November 3, 2018

This October, I had the privilege to travel to the big city and attend New York Advertising Week. As a third year student in the Advertising and Marketing program, I was ready to put my studies aside to head abroad and gain valuable knowledge from this conference. New York Ad Week consists of countless seminars and networking events that run from morning until late afternoon. My SaGE Global Experience in NYC led me to many unique sights and I took away just as many valuable learnings as I did photographs.

 

Travel Day and Exploring the Big Apple

On Sunday morning, I arrived at the Toronto Island Aiport ready to embark on my trip abroad to the city that never sleeps. I took my first step onto an international flight and before I knew it, I had already arrived in New York City. My classmates and I all stayed together at an artist-designed AirBnb that was could not have been anymore picture-perfect. After taking more than a handful of photos, we ordered a New York style pizza to our apartment before a night of exploring the Big City. We kicked off our night by heading to one of the biggest and brightest sights in Manhattan, Times Square. The bright lights brought so much truth to the statement that the city never sleeps. After wrapping up photo-takings in Times Square, we got snacks and headed back on the Subway to New Jersey.

 

#AWNewYork Seminar Highlights

My classmates and I attended eight seminars throughout our time spent at New York Advertising Week. The seminars I attended varied in topics, including the future of the advertising industry, social media trends, and various brands and agencies. Each seminar provided me with real-time insight into what issues are currently impacting the industry, and how they will impact my career moving forward. Below are highlights from three of the seminars that sparked my interest.

Day One—Marvel and The Power of Podcast Storytelling for Brands

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“It’s hard to market audio in a visual world—the best way to market podcasts is on other podcasts.” – Amy Fitzgibbon, CMO at Stitcher

This seminar was one of the most insightful ones that I attended at the conference. In class, we have discussed podcasts and the impact they are currently having on consumers and advertisers. This seminar really elaborated into the storytelling capabilities of podcasting, and the impact it can also have on advertisers and brands. Something I found particularly interesting was the best way to advertise a podcast, is actually on another podcast. Podcasts have become a mini industry of their own, and what can’t be addressed on a screen is done through audio. Knowing it is a growing industry, I am looking forward to how podcasts will play a role in my career.

Day Two—Memeology 101: The New Language of Cultural Ideas

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“A gene is the basic unit of DNA. A meme is the basic unit of ideas.” – Joe Federer, Brand Strategy at Reddit

This seminar resonated particularly well for me as I am a millennial entering the advertising industry. The culture of memes that exists on social media is a phenomenon that continues to grow in presence. This seminar touched on the brands that are trying to enter the space of memes on social media, and what they are doing well or not well. Memes tend to be self deprecating in nature, and brands who are engaging in this are trying to discover ways to do this while still being able to sell a product.

Day Three—The Jump with Will Smith: One Iconic Storyteller’s Journey of Reinvention & Connection

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“The whole reason for storytelling is a combination of joy and expansion.” – Will Smith

My classmates and I found ourselves frantically running through Pennsylvania Station on Wednesday morning aiming to catch the subway—ensuring we had seats for Will Smith. It was the presentation you didn’t want to miss on day three of Advertising Week. The discussion dove into Will’s journey in creating his own online presence and brand on YouTube, and how the platform has redefined storytelling. With his witty humour, he delivered a compelling discussion on digital branding in the most entertaining way possible.

New York City Experiences

Central Park

On our second night in New York City, my classmates and I decided to treat ourselves to a dinner in one of Central Park’s classiest restaurants. We ate at Tavern On The Green, which overlooked Central Park and had a very classic atmosphere. We spent the rest of the evening watching the sunset on a rock in the middle of the park—a sight I’ll never forget. The Ad Week convention centre was located just a few blocks away from Central Park, and in between seminars we found ourselves enjoying lunch in the park.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Exploring the MET was by far one of my most memorable experiences from New York City. The museum had a lovely rooftop that overlooked Central Park and the Upper West Side of Manhattan. It was a gorgeous sunny day when we visited the museum, and my classmates and I took the opportunity to take new LinkedIn pictures in front of the view. We explored the Ancient Egypt and Heavenly Bodies exhibits before the museum closed at 5pm. Afterwards we took a stroll down Madison Avenue and visited several boutique shops.

World Trade Exhibit

On our final night in New York, we visited the Downtown core of the city after spending most of our time Uptown. We boarded a subway headed the opposite way and found ourselves at the World Trade Centre. Arriving at the Memorial was surreal—the impact of the events on 9/11 still felt very heavy as we looped the entire pool. To end the trip off on a positive note, we spent the evening at a rooftop patio overlooking the city reminiscing on new memories.

The Takeaway

Travelling to New York City with my classmates was an incredible experience. It was my first time travelling outside of Canada and I could not have asked for a better way to do that. The SaGE Global Experience Program gave the classmates that have become some of my closest friends and I, the experience of a lifetime. I was able to become aware of various issues that are impacting the state of the advertising industry that I was not previously aware of. My experiences at the seminars brought up topics that I look forward to diving into and discovering more about on my own time. This Global Experience provided me with beneficial insight and personal growth, and I could not be more grateful for the experience.