Industry & Life Insights from Advertising Week New York

I never thought that one day I’d have the chance of attending Advertising Week New York – the premier world’s event in the industry.

However, as unpredictable as life can be, I’ve just come back from the last edition.

It was four days full of insightful panels about data, tech, e-sports, gender equality, diversity, creativity, branding, storytelling, emotions and customer engagement, and so much more.

I knew that once I got there, I’d be lost between so many panels I wanted to attend. Unfortunately, we (still) can’t be at more than one place at the same time, so, I did my best to plan ahead.

With a notebook, a pen, and an immeasurable mix of excitement and curiosity, I left my Airbnb in New Jersey, early every day, to get the maximum out of #AWNEWYORK!

DAY #1

Six panels attended, an entire day of learning and astonishing. From “Co-Creation“, by Cirque Du Soleil & Sid Lee to “Bias in Advertising“, by Saturday Morning and P&G, I left the first day full of energy, insights, and joy.

Some of the highlights from Day 1:

  • “Humans avoid uncertainty. Uncertainty comes from our fear of death. Unless you embrace it and decide to take risks. That’s what we do at Cirque du Soleil.” (Sheila Morin, Senior Director Marketing of Cirque Du Soleil)
  • “Media is not creating only one moment with consumers; it is creating different moments across the entire consumer journey. By using emotional targeting it’s possible to create genuine engagement and drive brand value.”

Advertising is biased toward gender and race.

Wait, no.

The world is (unconsciously) biased.

The issue is bigger than we think and is still a work in progress. “The Look“, a campaign created by P&G and Saturday Morning, brings the issue to ads to provoke discussions around it. More than worth to watch it.

DAY #2

Six more incredible panels. Starting the day with Fernando Machado, the CMO of Burger King, and closing it with Disney in a compelling presentation about “Storytelling.”

I can’t even say how amazing it was to have the opportunity of attending such panels. Fernando Machado is undoubtedly one of the bravest marketers I’ve heard about so far, always willing to take risks that others wouldn’t even consider. The “Whopper Detour” is one of the best proofs of that.

Some of the highlights from Day 2:

  • “The best question to be asked is ‘What happened?’ because this gives room to the interviewee to tell her/his story.”(Mike Greenberg Host, Get Up!, ESPN)
  • “Nowadays everyone is looking for ways to implement the newest tech in their strategies. However, they are doing it wrong. Briefs shouldn’t be made focused on using tech. Briefs should focus on your objectives towards your target, and tech should come as one of the tools you could use to create real engagement with your consumers.” (Fernando Machado, CMO of Burger King)
  • “TV is now fragmented. Consumer behaviour is dynamic. And there is a lot of content available across different devices. Such a fragmented viewership also fragments data, which can lead to media opportunities: companies can now reach a specific audience on TV.”
  • “It’s not only about technology improvements, but also (most important) about the internal organization. Teams must collaborate with each other to reach a common goal, as each of them has different touching points throughout the consumer journey.”

DAY #3

I decided to start the day attending one panel that wasn’t in my pre-defined schedule: “Morning Meditation & Optimized Business,” by Conscious Enterprises. Why? Well, I believe that taking care of our minds is one of the most important things to do and that we usually forget.

How many hours per day do we truly dedicate to take care of ourselves? 🙂

As a person who has already tried to meditate for thousands of times without succeeding, there was one lesson from this section that got into my mind, and I’d like to share with those who feel the same way:

“The mind thinks involuntarily, just as the heart beats involuntarily. So, telling your mind to stop thinking, is as effective as telling your heart to stop beating.”

(Emily Fletcher Founder & CEO, Ziva Meditation)

That’s how learning to meditate should start: by accepting that the thoughts and concerns will keep coming while you’re there seated and breathing. However, once you recognize there is nothing you can do about it, you’ll feel much lighter after taking some minutes to just quietly sit and breathe.

The other panels that I got the chance to attend during Day 3 were all about AIunderstanding Generation Z, and improving customer experiences.

Some of the highlights were:

  • “When you’re designing your customer experience journey, you should view problems as goals. And adopt a transformation vision: bottom-up, using tech to understand your customers, and top-down, using tech to improve their experiences with your brand.” (David Levin, VP, Customer Experience & Digital Innovation, Bob’s Discount Furniture)
  • “GenZrs are religious to brands, as they see it as an extension of who they are. However, brands must represent GenZrs values at first.” (Nadya Okamoto, Chief Brand Officer of JUV Consulting)
  • “Within the Advertising Industry, only a few women are in power positions (11%). And when it comes to creativity, it gets even worse. Without enough women having the chance to produce content, ads end up being much more likely to be gender-biased.” (Rachel Terrace, CMO of TIME’S UP)
  • “Machine Learning is a program that consumes data and makes predictions. Artificial Intelligence is a program that considers predictions and takes action. In Advertising, AI can be applied to audience discovery, dynamic creative, and predictive analytics.” (Jacob Grabczewski Head of Product, Copilot, Xaxis)

DAY #4

Last day of #AWNEWYORK and the desire to get the most out of it! Burnout x Resilience, Women: Decision Makers and Influencers, Future of Content Marketing, Brand Building and Experiential Engagement… What a day!

  • “Accept that you’re not in control of anything besides your mind, your actions, and your will; this will give you real freedom.” (Lucio Ribeiro, Professor at RMIT in Marketing and A.I.)

“Podcasts are only good if they fit into your content strategy. It must have context. It shouldn’t be only about checking a box.” (Jamie Luke, Director of Content at The Foundry @ Meredith Corp)

  • “The future of content will focus more on what people/influencers are creating/crafting instead of how many people they are reaching. It’s about quality instead of quantity.” (Julie Hochheiser Ilkovich, Co-Founder at Masthead Media Company)
  • “Brands want to be out there sharing content about themselves; however it’s more important to first understand what consumers are looking for, which phase they are in the consumer journey, and deliver the type of content they need – so you can truly engage them.” (Stephanie Stahl, VP at Content Marketing Institute)
  • “You learn the most from the people you like the least. Difficult people teach you what not to do and also how to do extraordinary things.” (Sarah Ivey, Founder at Agents of Necessity)

Finally, here is an example of what happens when women are in power in the ad industry. Coors Light launched the first beer ad focused on women as consumers: “The Official Beer of Being Done Wearing a Bra.” The idea was not to exclude men but to include women in the conversation. Watch the ad.

Chelsea Parker is the Senior Marketing Manager behind it.

When we developed this campaign, we made a conscious decision to focus on real moments — things our consumers were actually doing. Taking your bra off at the end of a long day is one of those moments that really resonated. By choosing to feature occasions that feel surprising for beer advertising, we’re hoping to forge more authentic connections with our drinkers.

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What more can I say?

Attending such an exciting event and learning about the future of advertising from such amazing speakers was just… mind-blowing!

It was also one of those life opportunities for me to get out of my routine and put myself in some uncomfortable situations:

  • I was travelling to a city I’ve never been to before (New Jersey);
  • I’ve been one time in New York before, but now I was walking around the city without data to access the internet;
  • I had offline maps, yeah. But I still got lost multiple times – which was great because I got to accidentally discover different places;
  • I was alone out there, and as a shy person, I confess it scared me at first. But, I just ignored my fears and once I was there, I enjoyed the opportunity to talk to different people, why not? 🙂

I can say that after all the experiences and learnings I went through those four days, I left Advertising Week feeling more human, more energized, and more prepared to face the challenges that are yet to come.

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.”

― Brené Brown

A special thanks to Centennial College for the bursary that helped me to attend Advertising Week 🙂

 

Published By

Bruna Tenorio

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 supporting 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 were 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!

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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 centred on 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.

 

ANA SOFIA GOMEZ ALVAREZ

SIP – SOUTHERN DENMARK UNIVERSITY

ENGINEERING FOR SUSTAINABILITY

AUG. 2019

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

 

 

 

2019 SIP Nagoya

My Japan Experience

 

It still feels like a dream.

I can clearly remember the day when I know for sure that I am heading to Japan.

Feelings of excitement, joyfulness mixed with a hint of anxiousness.

Boom! A few months later, the departure day has come.

The Nagoya SIP will only last 19 days, I want to make the best out of it!

On the day of arrival, the first impression was the heatwave. Even though I spent my past 19 years growing up in Guangdong, China, I still couldn’t get used to the sweat and stickiness. Whatever, I said to myself, I will get used to it. The heat turned out to be the reason why I made up my mind not to come again in summer.

On the first day of the trip, I finally met my school group, along with a few other participants from other parts of Canada. There were 14 of us, and we were ready to write each other into our life stories.

In the first week of the trip, all of us got assigned to spend two nights with a local family. I was not unfamiliar with host families. I still kept in touch with my host family with whom I spent almost one year when I was exchanged in Europe during high school. This would be such a good chance to experience Japan in a real way, not the tourist way. My host family was so entertaining and caring. They didn’t speak English and I didn’t speak Japanese. However, we could understand each other beyond where the language barrier stopped us. That was a very memorable weekend without culture shocks, except that they bought me tons of food to bring back to school. They were very nice and welcoming. We even went out again after the program to see firework during the Obon celebration. This had become a lifelong relationship that I wanted to maintain.

In the second week of the trip, everyone was busy learning more Japanese as well as Japanese culture. During the weekend, we went to Tokyo. Tokyo was a totally different city than Nagoya in my opinion. I had seen the huge “missing” Japanese population in Tokyo, but not in Nagoya. If I compared Oshawa to Nagoya, then Toronto was like Tokyo. In Tokyo, even though more people knew English, they were somewhat less eager to help while in Nagoya, people would come up to you even if they didn’t know much English. I still enjoyed Tokyo a lot, especially the Disneyland part. In Disneyland, the service was flawless. One of the staff even wanted to hold my garbage bag for me.

Last week of the trip, all of us were busy working on assignments, presentations and the Kyoto trip. This trip was a bit different than the Tokyo one since everyone would be paired up with a Japanese student and decided the itinerary. My group decided to commence a slower itinerary which turned out to be a wise decision. I still remembered that on the first day of arrival, the Japanese teachers all said that Nagoya was considered the hottest place in Japan. However, before departure, they all said that Kyoto was hotter than Nagoya, which was very true. Usually, the temperature in Nagoya felt like 43, but in Kyoto, it felt like 46. I really had to come back sometime during autumn to experience the beauty of Kyoto, the summer was just miserable for me.

In all, during my 19 days of stay in Japan, I feel that most Japanese were very nice, to a point that it feels like unreal. However, thanks to the pre-study that is required before the program, I understand that this behaviour underlies a very important Japanese culture. Because most Japanese are considered to think or act the same, meaning that they have “telepathy ability” among people, therefore they niceness one experiences are very similar across Japan.

Everyone wanted something different from this trip. As for me, I wanted to learn some Japanese, as well as experiencing the renowned formality of how the Japanese function. It is so lucky for me that my wishes have all been fulfilled. I don’t experience anything other than my expectations since I am from a similar culture. However, this can still be quite a cultural shock to some of you especially on the diet and the weather part. Also, people may find establishing a real relationship with the Japanese challenging. Well, there is no such thing as a perfect precaution. We just need to step out of our comfort zones and get the experience rolling.

Jingyao Zhang

 

Sage International Program- INSEEC U, Paris global experience-JIA YI JI

  My general experience

I am very happy to be selected as an ambassador to participate in this international program, French Luxury Marketing & Management. On the first day, the school held a welcome ceremony and provided us with a rich lunch. Bread, chicken, water, and fruit.
Next, I will start the normal class. The first class is Exploring French Wine from 2 pm to 5 pm in July. The second class was held from 9:30 to 12:30 on July 3. The third class was held from 1:30 to 4:30 on the afternoon of July 3. I studied this course at the same time on July 4th. Then, on July 5, Friday, I visited the Opera under the guidance of the school. On July 8th, the morning class is the last Exploring French Wing class. I made the presentation.
In the afternoon on July 8th, Exploring French Luxury started. The professor is very beautiful and graceful. There are six classes in this subject. Exploring French Luxury finished on July 12th. Of course, the last class has an exam.
Similarly, French Gourmet also has six classes from July 12 to July 18. Among them, on the afternoon of July 16, the school showed us around the perfume institute. On the morning of July 17th, we visited Assemblee Nationale.
Finally, on July 19, I attended the Certificate Ceremony. The school prepared bread, desserts and all kinds of drinks for us.

 

 A profound learning experience

I learned a lot from the three-week exchange program. I learned about the making, marketing and marketing strategies of French wines. I also mastered the market management and marketing mode of French luxury goods. What impresses me most is the course of French cuisine. I think this course is a combination of theory and practical operation. On the premise that the professor,Sylvain LEROUVILLOIS, finished his theoretical knowledge, he led us to visit physical stores and explain the food operation mode ,food preparation process and related sales strategy of different stores. We visited French Gourmet shops in La Madeleine. Specific stores have MAILLE, LADUREE, PAT RICK ROGER, FAUCHON PARIS. A real and colourful class.

I learned a lot

Before I went to INSEEC, I felt a little strange, in my mind, I thought the teachers here would be very serious. But the reality is that the professors are very kind and patient to answer every question. In the French wine class, I learned how to taste red wine, make red wine, sell red wine, and market red wine. For the French luxury course, I learned about the historical development of some famous brands, such as Hermes. His luxury quality lies not only in his quality but also in its long history and spiritual heritage. In the course of French cuisine, the professor took us to visit a brick-and-mortar shop, and I saw the whole process of making chocolate, the famous baguette in France. At a bakery, we visit the kitchen, where the baker is a master with 18 years of experience. He skillfully handled each piece of dough in a machine and finally baked it into bread. New machines, skilled operation, clean environment, let me have an indescribable love for bread.

 

The impact on me

I learned a lot from this experience. It not only increased my knowledge and skills but also greatly improved my cognition. Before, I did not have a deep understanding of French culture. Through this experience, I realized that I should learn the romance and delicacy of French culture. Having a romantic spirit can make me feel happy at work and not dull. The exquisite lifestyle will make my living environment, working environment and learning environment more beautiful. Besides, I also visited some famous scenic spots in Paris, such as Eiffel Tower, The Seine, the arc DE triomphe,Louvre Palace, Opera, Orsay museum and Versailles palace. These beautiful sceneries gave me a great shock. I also visited France’s National Day celebration. This is really a wonderful study tour experience.

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Learning experience

My experience in Neyaashinnigmiing was filled with opportunities to meet Natives and learn about the connection between what we know as sustainability and their common knowledge of protecting the land and water. I think there are a lot of misconceptions, and perhaps I held some of those stereotypes as well, that the traditions of the Native people are lost. What I have learnt is that if anything the traditions are thriving. Considering the system has been set out to make sure inequality, especially among the Natives, remains, it is a wonder that a community could be so resilient. I am a witness to the inequality, by learning about the issue of housing on the reserve, and I sat through a land claims hearing that is only meant to discredit the fact that the Natives of Canada were here before any of us. I have learnt how subtle inequality functions in our society. Inequality now perpetuates through technicalities. Regulations, financing, purchases all require written code and have loopholes due to the nature of our Treaty system. Natives can be swindled out of opportunity simply because the Canadian government does not want to address how to incorporate the Treaty system into our own established paradigm. Before anything can truly be done about inequality, acknowledging the root causes must be done first. I believe the root causes of the inequalities in our society stems very much from denial. Governments deny the history of when the inequalities in society really started to become disparaged. Even when it comes to addictions, mental illness, and homelessness in our society, recognition of individualized histories of how these members of society become vulnerable is ignored. There are a lot of assumptions in a society like as long as you have education, health care or employment, that is enough for you to sustain yourself. But it is not enough, humans go through stresses, which I think relates a lot to see the devastation in the world. Seeing nature being treated the way it is, feeling helpless to this, and feeling helpless when it comes to seeing wars, or famines in the world as well. Humans are living in an unsustainable world, and the call to action feels weak at times. But speaking on these issues and showing a counter-argument to what is seen as the cultural norm, can change minds and hearts when it comes to voting and making sustainable choices.

Staying on the reserve

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Staying in Neyaashinnigmiing, changed my outlook on Native communities from reading so much, to actually meeting the people that I did. When one of the Native fishermen was sharing his story, I was overwhelmed with tears. I had to step outside into the cold and felt the air like never before. I felt like I was suffocating when the cold air filled my lungs, it quickly stopped my tears. That is the power of storytelling, of sharing experiences. Face to face conversations moves the objective story away from the forefront and the true human emotions come forward. Understanding does not come from books only, it comes from our lived experiences. To truly believe in change, you must value what you know.

What we can do

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The key to sustainability is the individuals’ choices. By raising awareness, and questioning people’s core beliefs in what they hold to know to be true about the environment, about themselves, and about the interaction between oneself and nature. The Bagadiwaad-Alliance will continue to educate students, sowing seeds of knowledge throughout communities in Ontario. I have learnt too much now to not try to take that seed and let it grow throughout the Centennial College community. The biggest lesson I took from the global experience program is what pride means to me. Understanding pride also means understanding shame. I am proud to be Canadian and I am proud of how beautiful the land is here. I am also ashamed that my choices could potentially contribute to a climate and food crisis. Every choice I make can be as small as treading a needle to as large as being a leader in motivating others to make more sustainable choices. We are humans, we can make mistakes, but we can also make the choice to correct them as that is the power of free will. Every choice we make is an exchange with mother earth. Everything is matters from nature, from the concrete we walk on to the beautiful flowers we see. Mother earth can teach us as well as sustain us. If we listen with our minds, hearts, and intuition, we will protect future generations.

– Oriana Cardarelli-Goddard, GCELE

 

 

GCELE Kenya 2019 – 14 days – Lives Transformed.

GCELE Kenya 

(We invite you to read, ponder and feel free to comment and share this blog with others. For more information on how you can be a change advocator or learn more about evolving in your understanding and opportunity as a Global Citizenship, please visit Centennial College Centre for Global Citizenship Education and Inclusion.)

We chose to construct this blog as a team where individuals shared daily reflections and in turn transformed 13 individual posts into one to share our experiences more holistically. Our hope is that not only will you glean insights from our experiences but also be challenged to support and use the privilege and influences that we have as individuals and a collective society to create meaningful and impactful change.

Kenya, a land of kindness. A place where wildlife and humans co-exist respectfully. A nation where the people are so vast and diverse yet celebrate their cooperative society by embodying what it means to make sure the past is honoured, the present is celebrated, and the future preserved. A land where the world should learn from ways that blend the advanced and the simple to create sustainable systems.

We were fortunate to have been allowed to attend as a group of 13 inspired and heart-directed representatives from across the college (ten students and 3 Faculty members) for ten days in Kenya through Centennial College and the visionary Global Citizenship office. A college where Global Citizenship and Social Justice is at the forefront of the academic experience and where donors come together selflessly to provide transformative experiences for the college community through different initiatives. A college where the focus is on offering the highest level of education but with a realization that learning the curriculum is only one essential aspect of creating change. Providing strategically crafted experiences guarantees that in our own way, assumptions can be broken down, divides solidified into a strong movement, minds shifted and the theoretical transformed into the applied.

These 14 days were an intense blend of collaborating with teachers and students at the Mitero primary school as well as sitting in the quiet strength and presence of a 90 plus-year-old Momma, whose mind is as alert as if she was still 15 years old and carries an immeasurable physical power and reminds us that storytelling is a conduit to understanding the past and how it impacts the future. Nightly reflections under an uncountable amount of stars and constellations break down our assumptions, perceptions’ and stereotypes while educating and challenging our learning under the limitless sky around the bonfire. Experiences that remind us that privilege is fluid and it is what we do with our privilege that is most relevant and influential. The honour of listening and breathing in the stories, challenges and vision of two different Woman’s Camps that work from a ground roots effort to create actual change and understanding and a 5-hour walk into the beauty and vulnerability of the Ngare Ndare Endangered forest/conversancy. 14 days is not enough for us to create massive change no matter how hard we contributed through our collaboration – in fact, it is a gift that is given to us to learn and grow a seed in our minds.

We heard a perfect quote from one of the managers at a Nursery where they grow exotic and indigenous plants, trees and flowers that they will sell to the community to create future growth. A place where if you buy 10 plants/flowers/trees – they will automatically plant 10 more for free. WHY? It’s a selfless, practical and visionary way to provide value and continuous rebirth to the community, earth and the future.

This gentleman said, ‘planting is not the key to true life; growth is.’ What he reminded us was that if we want to see permanent change – we cannot ‘plant’ something and walk away. We need to grow it – through unconditional love, intelligence, commitment, hard work, curiosity, kindness, attention and respect. This trip has done this. The long-term results of the growth will be determined through each of the individuals that were selected to be part of this experience. However; we feel confident that change has happened and like a butterfly, the transformation will be stunningly convincing.

 

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In the words of the students….

April 29, 2019 (Reflection #1) Silvio Santos

Our first full day! We went to the elephant orphanage in the morning and could see an organization involved in taking care of and preparing baby elephants to go back to nature. We saw them having milk with a gigantic baby bottle, eating tree branches and even touch them before heading to our first camp on the border of Ol Pejata Conservancy.

April 29, 2019, Kaitlyn Popert (Reflection #2) (Program – Social Service Worker Diploma Program)

We started our first full day in Kenya with a trip to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Elephant Orphanage just outside of Nairobi. This was by far one of the best experiences for me since it has always been a dream of mine to experience the endless energy and joy that baby elephants offer. Everything we experienced after this was just a bonus. My favourite part about this day was hearing the journey these orphaned elephants have gone through, from being rescued to rehabilitation and being released back into the wild. The dedication and love the caretakers provided was reflected in the way the elephants engaged with them and the visitors. I would visit this amazing place again and again.

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April 30, 2019 – Ukweli Wilson Reflection #1 (Program – Bachelors of Public Relations Management)

The Art of Perseverance

I really am so grateful at this moment. Firstly, I’ll start by saying that God really does have a sense of humour. A couple weeks ago, I remember specifically praying and asking to be more efficient when completing tasks and just generally getting into the habit of persevering through difficult circumstances; too many times I find myself being intimidated by daunting situations which often results in me giving up. Added to this however is my general contempt towards physical activities and pursuits which I view as more of a mental challenge than the physical one at hand- more often than not, I give up mentally before even attempting, and this too was something I wanted to work on personally.

Today was our first official day of work at Mitero Primary School. Initially, we thought the school was about a 5-minute walk from our camp, but it turned out that it was actually a different school we’d be going to that this one was about a 45-minute walk away! Needless to say, my first morning going to school was a challenge! (I would also learn to appreciate and welcome that word “challenge” more as the trip progressed.) The walk to the school could be defined by two main factors; extreme heat and length. Some parts of the journey saved us by providing shady forestry which allowed for us to cool down, just before embarking on another set of equator-temperature sun. With this being our first time making this trek, it definitely seemed more challenging- we were unsure of our exact destination and had no clear end in sight. But on we went- and what a treat was in store for our day ahead!

Upon our arrival at the school, the student’s break time came soon after. When the students saw us in the courtyard, the whole school came running out of class and towards us, swarming all around. It really was quite a moment. One little girl in particular by the name of Ann stuck by my side for the entire break. Playing with the students of Mitero after completing a very challenging walk for me was the icing on the cake. The day in itself provided so many personal victories. Even though I initially felt very overwhelmed by the day, having accomplished those few challenges gave me a feeling of hope which I took with me throughout the remainder of the trip. Would you believe I woke up the next day looking forward to the walk, and believe it or not, I gained new perspectives of the scenery and land we crossed with each journey I took?

Whenever faced with a difficulty or challenge now, I first ensure that my mentality is positive. With that, persevering through anything comes so much more easily! I’m thankful for that very challenging day which preceded and set the tone for the rest of our time in Kenya. What an experience!

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May 1st, 2019 – Tommy Lu (Program – Bachelor of Science in Nursing Collaborative Nursing Degree.

 It is only the third day in Kenya and I can already say this trip is something I will treasure and cherish in my heart. May 1st is our second day with Mitero primary school however it is also Labour Day in Kenya, meaning no classes. Despite the fact that there was no school, we still had the delightful experience of playing with a few students that decided to come along! What surprised me the most was the fact that Samuel, the father of two of the students, took time out of his day to come help and talk with us. His work habits and dedication is truly an inspiration to many who had the pleasure of being able to interact with him.

During our discussion with the teachers of Mitero, they talked about how parents are usually supportive of their children going to school however their impact on the school remains neutral. Samuel, however, is an excellent example of a positive contribution to Mitero. All the work he does for the school is unpaid for, meaning he is offering his time in order to give the students of Mitero a better environment for education. He is someone who truly believes that education is important and acknowledges that it is crucial for children to be educated and pursue a future that differs from that of the traditional lifestyle that many Kenyan children are still used to.

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May 2, 2019 – Abdalla Ali (Program – Truck and Coach Technician Diploma)

My day on the 2nd of May started off like no other, we had breakfast at the camp and headed to the school. What happened after lunch is what really got to me the most. While waiting for the meeting with the teachers, Natashia and I decided to go into a classroom that had no teacher after the students insisted that we come in and do something with them. The school had a limited number of teachers and that meant some classrooms had to wait for them to finish with others to get to them. While the students waited, they would take turns teaching the class on previous lessons. The students were very respectful, they stood up as we entered and greeted us with a welcome song and only sat down after we instructed them to do so. After some introductions, we started off with hangman and gave them easy words, but after a couple of the letters, they were already guessing big words. The level of intelligence they have was something that still amazes me, by the time we were doing harder words they were going through them like it was nothing. Their level of understanding and positive attitude towards learning is something that stood out to me. After the games, the students kept asking us questions and just wanted to learn more about us and where we came from. Their curiosity and hunger for knowledge reminded me of myself and how I always go out of my way to learn new things about my profession and personal interests. The students taught me to value the knowledge I have and never take for granted the resources I have access to here in Canada.

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May 3, 2019 – Vaaranan Jayakkumar (Program – ELECTRO-MECHANICAL ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY – AUTOMATION AND ROBOTICS)

Thank you Centennial College for this great experience.

So as today was our last day with the Mitero Kids, we were all ready to finish the last little bit of work there needs to be done. We had prepared a little song for the kids so they can sing along with us, and they shared their talents with us! We prepared the interactive Little Shark Song for them, which we ourselves enjoyed practicing. So as we reached the school we drank some water and continued to our designated work. As part of our project, our goal was to plant 100 trees and we were only a few behinds. Five of us continued to plant trees and today as we had more people we were able to dig more holes for the plants compared to the past few days. It was such an amazing experience planting trees and watering it once it’s done. The rest of our group continued with wall paintings (the talking walls on the outside of the school and educational pictures in the Kindergarten classroom.)

At the end of their school teacher and students welcomed is to the open around and they asked us to sit on the ground for some performance. Students from grade 7 started to dance and sing some songs for us. We all enjoyed every bit of it. And then Joyce (our amazing guide and partner from Rift Valley Adventures) went up and asked some academic questions and handed out prizes to the kids who answered it right following which came our part of the performance. We all gathered up at the front and started singing. The kids started to laugh and clap as the song was sung by our team. We improvised on the song a little bit and called in the school teachers to join is on the performance. In the end, we asked all the kids to join and it went so well and the happy part was, the kids loved the song. We all took a final pic together with all the students and teachers and our Centennial Team. It was a pleasure working and meeting the students. 🙂  It was such a nice and great learning experience for us and I was glad to be part of it.

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May 4, 2019 – Reflection #1 Abhishek Rajgor (Program – Construction Management)

After 4 days of overwhelming and beautiful experiences at the School, we had mixed feelings in terms of exploring newer activities of GCELE but also for not being able to be with the school kids. So the 7th day began with a relaxed morning schedule (which meant more sleep J), we were excited to explore the town of Nanyuki as it was our first instance of experiencing an urban environment in Kenya other than camp and the village we were at. The town was vivid in its own ways – from the colourful buildings to the sweet chaos of the marketplace, the town had everything to offer for a visual delight.

We strolled through the streets of the busiest areas of Nanyuki and were welcomed by locals at every corner with wide smiles & offering to visit their shops or stores.

It was indeed interesting to see how extremely contrasting the lives of people exist so closely in the town of Nanyuki which boasts almost all urban facilities and the small village of Mitero which struggles to get electricity on most days.

May 4, 2019 – Reflection #2 – The Wisdom of a Mama   

Today was a blend of the past, with a step into the future. Before heading into the urban town of Nanyuki, we walked to a nearby farm and was privileged to sit and listen in the presence of a 90 plus-year-old Mama. Her stories recounted experiences and lessons from her youth to the present day while she freely shared her wisdom and insights. Her small physical stature was overwhelmed by her quiet strength, eyes that have experienced many lessons and her joy and faith that she endeavours to pass on to future generations.

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May-5: Silvio Santos (Program – Program Management, Post-Graduate)

Safari day in Ol Pejeta. Time to see the animals in the reserve while having a lot of patience and maybe luck. The first animals to be seen were the impalas that were closed to some buffalos. Wild pigs with its big two teeth running, stopping eating grass, looking at the bus, running and stopping and so on. This animal had a short memory, it’s funny to observe it. Two charcoal were looking for eggs in a bird’s nest on the ground. Zebras with its unique stripes all over the body.

The reserve integrates agriculture with wildlife, there were around 40 cows with huge horns, a characteristic of Uganda cow type. I’m the night they are kept in a big cage so that they can be protected against lions. Cattle stays in the cage and will only go to eat grass in the reserve when they grow up enough to run away from lions. Lions usually don’t attack cows during the day because they prefer to avoid humans.

A family of three white rhinos (male, female and child) were spotted drinking water and defining territory by pooping. The reserve mission is to protect black rhinos and they’re doing a good job so far since in the 2000s the number of rhinos was 450 and nowadays is around 700. Poachers want the horns that are sold with a gram price higher than gold. It was believed that rhino horn powder would increase sexual performance, but nowadays it has been scientifically proofed it’s is a big mistake.

After lunch, we spotted a tower of giraffes when a ranger approached and told our bus driver the place where we could find two cheetahs. They were sleeping, but woke up, stared at us and slept again.

The day was fantastic so far, but it became perfect after we found a lioness and a lion – this closed our day with four of the five big animals. We couldn’t see Leopards (as they are not native to the conservancy) but it was great anyway.

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May 6 – 7, 2019 Nicole Umana – Project Management – Post Graduate Certificate

May 6th – Twala Maasai Village

By this point of the trip, we were already in the second half. We travelled for the most part of the day. Somewhere around 1 pm, we stopped to have lunch in the middle of what I called nowhere (probably somewhere for someone who knows the area) and ate lunch with the most amazing view.

We arrived at Twala, a space owned and managed by women of the Maasai Tribe. For the next two days, we were given the opportunity to camp there in order to learn more about how these women have grown as part of their tribe and the difficulties they have had to overcome to be respected as a part of a male dominant society.

For the rest of the day, we set up our tents, made dinner and reflected around the fire on life and career plans, which led us to a discussion about hard work, passion and the importance of self-thrive to succeed in life, no matter where you come from.

FUN FACT: In Africa, wildlife runs the business, so we had to fix our schedule for tomorrow because it seems like the elephants are hanging a little too close to the camp, making it unsafe for us to go start early in the morning for activities. In the city, how many times have you been late because of elephants?

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May 7th – Rosemary 

We woke up early and met Rosemary, the woman who started this community of woman. She told us a little bit about the start of the community and how the group has grown from 10 acres and 60 women up to 40 acres and 203 women currently.

This full-day was about learning how Maasai women go on with their responsibilities.

We had the opportunity to fetch water as they do daily. They dig a big hole on the ground under they find clear water, put into a container and carry it with their heads, backs and the help of a cord. Each container weighs about 40-50 pounds (according to our estimates) and they usually have to carry them for very long distances to get some water to their houses. When we tried to do it, we carried the containers for less than 1 km and ended up exhausted. This was an eye-opening experience on how usually we take for granted the ease with which we have access to some resources.

Later on, Rosemary showed us around the land where they have developed different activities, that have turned them into the major economic support for their families. This is incredibly important because it has empowered women all over the community and it has helped them fight against previous traditions of the tribe such as female mutilation and arranged marriages. Nowadays girls get to decide who they want to marry, which is completely amazing.

Finally, my favourite part of the day was when we had the chance to sing and dance with the women. They have such great spirits, they are warriors and they have accomplished so much by working together, that songs and dances seemed like the perfect way to close a day that filled me with awe and admiration of how powerful we can be when we decide to work together.

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May 8, 2019 – Katherine Armstrong (Program – Child and Youth Care)

Today began at the Maasai women’s community and was our last morning with them. We packed our bags and tents, shared our final breakfast with Rosemary and Cecilia, and thanked them for sharing their space and stories with us. We then headed out for our drive to the next camp, which was approx. a 2.5-hour drive. These long drives usually consisted of card games, music, and LOTS of jokes. Thankfully we had a few stops along the way – our first stop was at Cedar Mall, somewhere we stopped often for a bathroom break and some Java Coffee House milkshakes. Our second stop was to another Maasai village, which was where one of our guides, Francis, was from. We were welcomed with songs and dances and had the opportunity to ask the women questions. They’ve been a community for 3 years and were so kind to us – they even prepared lunch for us, consisting of rice, lentils, and cooked goat. For many of us, it was the first time we’d ever tried goat – literally, every day is a new experience. They took us around their community for a tour, where we saw how they prepare food and sterilize horns used to store milk. After that, we got on our way and left the village towards our final destination, which was only a short 30 min drive.

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May 9, 2019, Keisha Beattie (Program – Broadcasting for Film, Television, Digital Media, and Radio)

I cannot believe that we had to say goodbye to the place where we called home for two weeks. We began our day with a bushcraft lesson from Francis. To be honest, before today, I had never heard of the term bushcraft ever in my life. We essentially went into the bush with Francis and he taught us survival skills that the Maasai warriors use. The highlight of this bushcraft experience was learning how to start a fire using cow poop! The hardest part of the day came upon us where we had to say goodbye to everyone who we met at Rift Valley Adventures – Joyce, Francis, Dorito, Omari, Ritchie, and everyone else who was so gracious to us. Goodbyes are tough. Especially to those who have made such an impact on your life. I think what I’ll take away most from this whole experience is, the fact that everyone who we came across was just so kind and warm-hearted to all of us. The people who live in Kenya may have it tough, but not once did we ever come across anyone who was unaccepting of us. Everyone wanted to share their stories with us and ensure we had the best experience we possibly could. I’ll always remember this trip and the people of Kenya. I will return back to Toronto with a heart that’s so full of love and appreciation.

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We thank you for taking the time to read our blog and hope that it has inspired and entertained you! Wherever you may travel, may you be inspired to use your privilege, influence and joy to create positive and collaborative change through every encounter, in each moment?

With heartfelt thanks and gratitude to Centennial College, the Global Citizenship and SAGE teams, the donors and to Joyce and Rift Valley Adventures (our partner in Kenya) for memories and experiences that will impact for a lifetime.

Created by Silvio Santos, Kaitlyn Popert, Ukweli Wilson, Tommy Lu, Abdalla Ali, Abhishek Rajgor, Nicole Umana, Katherine Armstrong, Keisha Beattie, Vaaranan Jayakkumar, Brendan Chapman, Natashia Deer and Susan Chandy

GCELE Kenya Team 2019

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Rapar – India, a spiritual retreat to improve me as a human being

How I obtained a positive decision for my trip to India it’s a mystery. To my surprise, after submitting the application, I received an email with an invitation for an interview, I went and gave my best but and after a few days, received a negative answer… They didn’t select me.

Rapar, India
Wearing classic Gujarati dresses

However, many weeks later a new email turned up, it was a new invitation to join the group! I was astonished as it wasn’t in my mind to travel abroad. It took me a few days to re-think the invitation and organize all my school work and personal responsibilities to take a final decision and join the journey.

 

Without any doubt, the trip was a great experience that helped me to improve myself as a global citizen and be more human. I practiced empathy and compassion every single day of the trip.

What did I expect?

I went to India without any assumptions, only the idea that I was going to give a hand in the construction of sustainable houses and see how people live there, but that was just a tiny part of all I have experienced and learnt.

The objective of this trip was to know more about the situation in Rapar, India, a small village in the state of Gujarat, also support the Institute for Social Action and Research (ISAR).
This Institute helps women in vulnerable situations, many of them due to problems related to SATA marriage (a system of exchange marriage) or simply because of their gender.

Life Stories

While in Canada we still dealing with some gender issues, in India be a woman, gay, lesbian or queer is a synonym of minority and inequality. This sad situation brought me to the point that sometimes we need to look beyond and support those in need on time because this can affect generation after generation.

During our stay, we had the chance to know and talk to a few women that suffered from violence, their stories impacted us a lot, It wasn’t easy to digest. However, thanks to the hard work of ISAR, now those women are empowered and ready to help their community.
It’s exciting to hear stories of bravery and courage, listened to them with opened hearts motivated and made us realize how cruel and unfair a human can be when morals and ethics are not part of our life, no matter where you live.

What we did

We have visited villages, schools and some tourist places to know more about the history of Gujarat. To know more about the reasons for the current status in India, we also had the opportunity to follow a few lessons about Sociology, Feminism and Economy with excellent teachers that I hope I can see again.

 

A fantastic experience

We made friends with locals who made us laugh and helped us with everything. I have no words to explain how they treated us, how much we laugh and cry together.
India wasn’t a school trip, was more than that, was a spiritual retreat which pumped up our souls and allowed us to be aware of the necessity of this world; Love and compassion.

Thanks to ISAR and Centennial College, I re-confirmed the following quote:

“Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime”.

My Peruvian Experience: Culturally Enriching and Personally Fulfilling

A map of the regions we stayed at Illimo and Chiclayo in Lambayeque, and the Lima District

I spent my reading week travelling with ten students and two faculty members to and from Peru as part of Centennial College’s Faculty Lead International Program (FLIP). In summary, we spent 1.5 days in the capital – Lima, and 7 days in their fourth-largest city – Chiclayo (located in the Lambayeque region of Peru). During the week (Monday-Friday), we would commute an hour from Chiclayo to Illimo where we worked at the Instituto de Educaciόn Superior Technolόgico Publico (IESTP), providing our recommendations for their pilot plant. Our week was very busy, with an industrial site visit each morning, followed by working on the pilot plant in the afternoon up until and sometimes after dinner as well. We wanted to ensure that we provided our Peruvian partners with the best quality recommendations we could to strengthen their path to success.

Ministry of Education & Impact of Centennial College


At the Ministry of Education on our very first day in Lima.
Photo by: Thanh Sang Huynh

On our first day in Lima, we visited the Ministry of Education and shared our views on the importance of education and hands-on experience. This meeting was an eyeopener, hearing from the ministry representatives how important education is for the students to give them hope for a better life. We also heard about the impact of Centennial College’s involvement with CiCAN (Colleges and Institutes of Canada). The goal of the partnership is to help strengthen technical skills and training in the food industry for students in Illinois, Lambayeque, to help prepare the students for employment.

In Lambayeque, we also had the opportunity to meet with the regional government. We acted as a support to our Peruvian partners to gain funding and prioritize education for the students in Illimo. A press release of the meeting can be found here: https://www.regionlambayeque.gob.pe/web/noticia/detalle/26831?pass=Mg==

Peruvian Culture & Food

Anytime we had the opportunity to interact with someone in Peru, they always asked if we enjoyed their food. The answer was an obvious yes! In preparation for the trip, I had a list of foods I wanted to try with anticucho (beef heart) and ceviche (cured raw fish) being at the top. Lima, Chiclayo, and Illimo did not disappoint. I especially loved the home-cooked feel of the dishes from Chiclayo and Illimo, with almost all dishes in some form of saltado (stir fry), like lomo saltado or polo saltado. The second thing the Peruvians are very proud of is Chiclayo known as the City of Friendship. This was very evident with all the Peruvians we interacted with. Even with a significant language barrier, everyone was very welcoming to us during our stay. Our Peruvian partners spent every moment with us from our very first day in Chiclayo up until we passed security at the airport to leave Chiclayo. They stayed with us during dinners and took us to industrial visits, museums, and as much site seeing as we could squeeze into our busy schedules. They made sure that our trip was not only filled with lots of work but enjoyable and culturally enriching.

Industrial Site Visits

In total, we visited five industrial sites in Lambayeque: Guinea Pig Farm, Animal Feed Production Facility, Banana Plantation, Bee Apiary, and Gandules International. I learned about:

  • the challenges of breeding guinea pig in hot climates and the different characteristics of different breeds
  • the variety of animal feeds one small scale facility can produce
  • Peruvians wanting to expand the banana market in Peru to have a sustainable business both internationally and nationally
  • the value of the Queen Bee (in monetary value and its role in the colony)
  • the functionality of a larger scale production facility for international exports of peppers and mangos

IESTP Work & Students

Prior to our departure, our group had been working very hard to research and compile documents to be applied to a dairy production facility in Illimo. Our goal was to work on the Pre-Requisite Plans, specifically, the Premises, Receiving & Storage, Equipment, Personnel, Sanitation & Pest Control, and Recall System. This is something we study extensively in our Food Safety Management class in our final semester of the Food Science Technology Program. We were divided into groups to further become expertise on butter, yogurt, and cheese, something we studied in our Food Processing and Technology classes taken in Semester 4 and 5.

Once we arrived at the IESTP, we got to see the beginning stages of the pilot plant and the equipment to be used for the production of butter, yogurt, cheese, and the addition of jam. The structure of the building is there, but there is much more construction to be done before it is ready for production. Over the course of four days, we worked as a group to provide our recommendations and technical background on the production facility, procedures and training to be done, and the processing of each product to ensure food safety and quality. We did not have access to the internet at the facility and had a very poor connection back at the hotel, so we heavily relied on our knowledge and each other as a team to provide quality content for our Peruvian partners. We wrote SOPs and SSOPs, designed product flow charts and diagrams, developed a traceability program, and provided general recommendations on-premises, sanitation, pest control, and GMPs training. The pilot plant will not only be able to produce a product for local sales but to also serve as a teaching facility for the students enrolled at the IESTP to further prepare them for the workforce.

The highlight of my trip was interacting with the students there, and learning about the impact of our visit and the values and hard work of each student. We had the opportunity to speak with the students who took off a day of work to welcome us at the institute. Most of the students are young, but they hold much more experience in the agricultural field than I do as a Food Scientist working in the industry at present. They’ve spent their entire lives working in the field, and their passion can be seen through their commitment to education and the industry. Although there was a language barrier, I could feel the appreciation and the excitement the students had for us being there – something that we hopefully conveyed on our end as well. We were hearing about the impact Centennial College has and will continue to make for our Peruvian partners, but it wasn’t until this point that I truly felt humbled because the students and the professors at the IESTP made an impact on me, bringing value to this trip. I feel incredibly grateful for this opportunity to share and to learn, realizing that the language barrier is nothing compared to our shared passion in the food industry which crosses cultures and countries.

By Cindy Tieu (Peru: February 21, 2019 – March 3, 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 the Ministry of Education, Peru. I was really touched by the words of one of the 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 to 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 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 a visit to rock and sand beaches, local handicraft 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 that 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 to understand the world from a different view altogether.

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

Thanking you,

Bhupesh Chandra Tiwari

Puerto Plata and Community Based Tourism

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-

By Sara Archambault

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