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 varies 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.

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 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 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 1980’s, 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 it’s 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, Dominic 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 de Medeiros Costa [CDW-301094810]

International Student


Odense – 2019

I was luckily selected for a SIP to the Southern Denmark University. To be honest it was not what I expected… it was better. The program that I took was extremely interesting, it is called Engineering for Sustainability. Normally, conversations about climate change and where the world is heading tend to be a little pessimistic at times, but I was surprised to see all the positive aspects and solutions our Danish professors had to share. I left this course feeling optimistic and looking forward to support the cause.

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               The whole experience for me was a big challenge, but I would say it was a good one. The locals where all very friendly, and I was able to speak English with the majority. Whenever I was lost, there was always a kind Danish who would give me the most detailed instructions to my destination. Going from biking once a month to at least an hour or two every day was another interesting point. I found the fitness life I never had before!

My team for 10 days 🙂

               I found people to be very down to earth. It surprised me the way the city works, the way they shop, and how comfortable it feels to be there. A lot of the clothing stores that I saw where second hand clothing stores in very good condition. The use of cars is definitely much less compared to what I see in Toronto and my home country Mexico. I paid attention to these kinds of details such as consumption and their lifestyle to be able to compare it to the one I am used to and my own ideas. This was also very related to my program since the course was centered in the way humans impact the environment.

               It was very nice to be surrounded by all the green spaces, I was even lucky enough to see deer and duck families. Eating out is also something that might not be as frequent in Denmark. I would see the locals mostly bringing something from home. On my accommodation on the other hand, it was common for a group of friends to gather in order to cook something together and share.

               I loved getting to know another culture and being able to experience first hand the educational programs. Definitely, I learned a lot, and I feel grateful for this experience. It was an invaluable experience, I was able to manage my time, study, get to know the city, and connect with amazing people. I would not change this experience for anything.

I will share one of my favorite pictures for end. Yuichi, Dimitri, Rita, Ahmed and Chloe, my five closest!




AUG. 2019




FLIP PERU-2019: Once in a lifetime experience

Hello everyone,

My Peruvian journey started with a cover letter, resume and interview and ended with international culture, friends for life, work experience, fun with mentors and a lifelong memorable learning experience.

Initially, I was really anxious about the journey, due to multiple reasons like food, since I being a vegetarian, whether I would be able to fulfill the work for which I was selected and most importantly travelling and living with people I rarely interacted during my time at Centennial College. My first memorable experience was the visit to Ministry of Education, Peru. I was really touched by the words of one of ministers, “studying in this college would be last chance for students to get over their current situation and become a better educated qualified individual”. Hence, I made sure that I make full use of this opportunity by contributing to this mission during the time in Peru. At IESTP, Peru I got to know some really motivated, excited students with a strong learning desire and willing to contribute in making society better. Likewise, the professors and college staff at IESTP, Peru greeted us warmly and kindly with open hearts while our time in Peru.

However, as the time passed, I experienced a lot many things including the visit to Apiary, Guinea Pig farm, Banana plantation and an industrial visit to Gandules Inc. Apart from this, I experienced the local Peruvian culture by a visit to museums, a jungle safari and visit to rock and sand beach, local handicrafts shops. All this combined with really tasted ethnic Peruvian food and drinks: I still remember the Chicha.

During the entire journey from boarding the departure plane to Peru and back to Toronto, it was a mix and complex amalgamation of feelings which can’t be described in words. I experienced and understood the people around me, carried with me both tangible and non-tangible skills and tried understanding the world from a different view altogether.

My deepest thank to SAGE, FLIP, Centennial College and two most important persons: Steve and Professor Xavier. I thank Centennial College once again for giving me an opportunity to represent centennial college as a college ambassador.

Thanking you,

Bhupesh Chandra Tiwari

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

República Dominicana

Insight on Community-Based Tourism

By David Cavalier

March 6, 2019

Eight days from snow fall to sunshine, from city life to country-side life, from heated showers to to cold showers, from waking up to noisy cars, bus and trains to waking up to melodic birds, dogs and roosters. Why am I speaking about this transition, what could be so interesting about this blog. Lets continue reading and we will find out. Lets expand on a life changing, career gearing and community economic understanding experience. This was sponsored by Sage and Centennial College for Community Development students who are taking the course Community Economic Development.

“The What!!!”

  • Hands On experiences of successful, progressive, and unsuccessful Community-Based Tourism.
  • Community Economic Development
  • Identifying Community Economic Development Principles throughout experiences

Journey Just Starting to Puerto Plata

One Stop Please!!! To Puerto Plata

Our arrival was very warm and welcoming. Many of my classmates have never been to a tropical island so their expressions were so assuming and innocent. I really appreciated being back in the tropics being a tropical islander myself #JamaicanForever

“The Gut!!!”

Most days I woke up feeling thanking, feeling fit and ready for whatever activity we had planned for that day. Its was exciting learning but my true excitement came from learning with my peers. My classmates are one big drama and I love them, especially my wonderful teachers. I was impressed by the many ways community tourism could flourish and even compete against big multinational corporations tourism. Even incorporating or bonding with cruise ships in order to give tourist a real cultural experience while also re-channeling their spending directly into the communities and the country.

“So What!!!”

I assumed that local communities had nothing to do with Economic Development and that this was solely Government issues and Foreign Investors. I assumed that a community played no part in Tourism also and that the more an hotel had to offer the better the visitors experience. I was so WRONG.

We drove around parts of the island where we did some money exchange, engaged in very insightful teaching and sharing of history by our dear friend and tour guide, and of course some sightseeing. We then stopped at the Fortress of San Felipe where we listened to more historical teachings and took some of the most beautiful pictures, thus far at least. We then made our way to Cable Car Puerto Plata. Along with this journey as we waited for the cable car we stop and dance to some sweet cultural Merengue music that was being played in the lobby-like area by four locals. The vibe, the atmosphere, and the love were felt, and as we left, many of us gave financial donations in their donation bucket. After that experience, we encountered a magician at the front of the car stand.

To end our trip we visited the 27 Waterfalls (Los Charcos), due to the low water we only had access to a few falls instead of all of them. This is the most successful community-based tourism that we had the privileged to experience (had fun) and take notes on.

Our trip concluded with a night just as eventful as the day

  • Tired – NO
  • Hungry – NO
  • Bored – NO
  • Happy – YES

“Now what!!!”

I personally appreciated this trip, and all the experience. My understanding grew, my interest change, my perspective shifted, so much has happened. Sage! You made HUGE impact on this young man’s life. Centennial College! You made a HUGE impact on this young man’s life.


As a tourist I will be more mindful when visiting other countries and try to get the real cultural experience, invest my time and money into community based tourism. As a Community Development Worker I will encourage the true nature of Community Economic Development and apply all I have learn, seen and practiced in both theory and practical.

PERU: Beautiful 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.

Mankiran #sagejourneys


FLIP-Peru My Experience so far…

By Jenny San Juan

It’s been 5 days already in Peru. We spent 2 nights in Lima and then came to Chiclayo, another city in Peru where we are going to work helping develop premises, GMPs, SOPs for a educational food processing plant. People here are so warm, polite, welcome, and sweet. Undoubtedly, this is a great experience to get to know Peruvian culture and understand that we have more similarities than differences.

The professors of the IESTP Institute are so professional and very warm facilitators.

We did not imagine the scope that Centennial College had in Peru. I feel very proud of being a Centennial College student as I myself witnessed how hard Centennial College have worked and continue to work towards helping building a more focused and efficient education system based on the local community’s needs. Even more inspirational is to know that Centennial College participation in this type of projects had inspired other local and international institutions and organizations to take part on this project. The outcome? Well, more young local people with less resources, and otherwise not able to access superior education, are now on their way to college and building a professional career that will enhance their lives and their community in countless ways, and you can feel it when they look at us with grateful faces for us being here.

What an amazing experience!