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.

Beautiful

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.

My amazing experience in Puerto Plata

I just came back from Puerto Plata in the Dominica Republic. It was an amazing experience in my life and this educational international taught me a lot of things.

When we arrived at the airport in Dominica, the weather and light breeze welcomed us very kindly and at the moment I already had a great impression with this country. While moving to the place we would stay, I had been excited. Where we stayed is called ecolodge, beautiful place ever surrounded by beautiful nature, and the view from there was breathtaking. As the name suggests the place is a very ecological place: water service stops after dinner, usually get a cold shower, and taking shower is under 10 min… It might sound hard for you but you can also see how water is valuable in DR. I adapted very quickly the environment. And I appreciated that what I had even very limited, and with the beautiful nature and the weather, it did not bother me at all.


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My high light of the trip is visiting a community called Nuevo Ranacer in Puerto Plata. We were taught by second-year students that the community has been facing many social problems. Walking around the neighborhood opened my eyes wider. Local people are so heartwarming, kind, and welcome to us. Despite the social issues, people are very positive and look forward to their future. Especially, I can’t forget the Children’s bright innocent smiles.

Another high light of the trip is a merengue dance party with a community member in Tabaugua. It was almost my first dance experience in my life and honestly, it was the biggest challenging for me! But once the music was started, I forgot my shyness and enjoyed merengue dance! The party continued until late and It was a great opportunity to communicate with local people. I had so much fun with my classmates and community members. The best night ever!!

Overall, I learned so many things from this Flip-Trip. It was very practical as a community development work student, it also gave me to take a moment to be thankful for having wonderful people, and beautiful nature. Thank you, Sage to give me this opportunity, and thank you for my professors and all my classmates!

‘We Live in Paradise..!’ (Summer International Program – Italy)

Dante Alighieri – The father of Italian Language said this, and trust me all the people residing in Italy believe this very firmly. And I am extremely fortunate to experience it to the fullest and living life the Italian way..!

Starting a journey with many postponed/canceled events resulting in not meeting a single person of my group made me skeptical but contrasting it completely the group that I got because of this summer program at the prestigious and much honored Centennial College was indescribable. They were the best and extremely fun-loving travelers I’ve met in my lifetime. They are some of the most caring, most mannered and most adorable people I’ve ever met. They were not my friends before but in 15 days all of them became more than family to me. Again a lot of thanks goes to Centennial College..! I’m not exaggerating about them; not even a bit – this is the truth, meet them & find out yourself.

This incredible group consisted of 19 friends from all across the world..! They were from  Uganda, Afghanistan, Russia, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Philippines, Africa, Sri Lanka, and myself from India. Truly a Global Experience..! Centennial College will surely be remembered forever by me with utmost reverence. Thanks, @CentennialCollege for selecting me in #SIPItalyUrbania and #SaGE for arranging everything so perfectly and gifting me the #GlobalExperience. I learned a lot from you all..!

The hosts Lea and uncle cared us with unseen love &  extreme respect – treating us just like their sons and served us delicious food with a personalized table-linen(our names written on them) – Ps She had 30 years of experience as a cook/chef. The L’insegnante (teacher) Anna Ferri who took our Language Class was the coolest and the best teacher I ever had. She was awesome at teaching Italian, a caring, and a happy person. She did her best to understand us. Even she used to play great Italian songs in-class to fill the blanks listening correctly to the lyrics. And yes, we even watched a movie in class. Thanks, Lea and Anna for making Italy trip very memorable.

Thanks, Diletta for arranging the housing so properly – can’t expect anything more even in my imagination. Lastly, thank you very much, Pearl, for arranging the make-up orientation and supporting me very well through the whole process. I came to know how an excellent email looks like.. Giovanni – the Managing Director at Centro Studi Italiani and Enrico the student coordinator thanks for all your help, patience, and #extraordinary support. Happy Birthday and thanks to Anna for being with us and guiding us at all places – Urbino, Venice, Florence, Gubbio and Rome.

Grazie Mille (Thank You Very Much) Centennial for bestowing us with a remarkable and unforgettable #international experience, providing us the substantial bursary and giving abundant happiness in college-life.

Readers, I highly recommend to experience the Paradise yourself..! I bet you’ll have many things to say and tons of memories to share. Even my computer has 141+ Gig memories of Italy…IMG_20170924_102801_012.jpg

#Cheers to the reality that was better than a dream..!

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Do share your precious comments, thoughts.

Forgive the errors with your big heart.. & thanks for reading. I’ve shared many more events, memories, and photos of Italy on Facebook. Click Here to read and see them all..!

Written by: Rishit Sheth

My adventures in an unknown land – Oviedo, Spain

By Xiuhua Wang, SIPs, Oviedo, Spain, 2016

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Hola, buenos días.

I met my Spanish mother at the bus station, when all we could understand each other were “Hola” to me and “Hello” to her. And that’s how my adventures in Oviedo began…

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Oviedo is the capital city of the Principality of  Asturias in northern Spain. Got a chance to explore this city during the whole August, I have fell in the love with this small but neat and charming city.

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It’s a historical city that founded more than a thousand years ago. And from those ancient buildings, we read the history.

 

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Or, catch a glimpse of their wisdom in those statues…

 

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After class, drinking a cup of Sidra (Cider, alcoholic beverage made from apple ) may be a good idea.

 

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Or, seeing around just a few kilometers away from this lovely city…

 

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Or, how about dance?

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Learning From the Best Teacher

Written by: Javier Garate Alfaro
The Business School

 

Javier

At the Camp Power To Be Literacy and Leadership Camp in Negril, Jamaica I made a friend who reminded me of a younger me. I did not spend much time with him because I did not want to show preference above all the other campers. However, every time I had the opportunity to talk to him, I shared as much advice as I could and asked as many questions as the time let me. I felt he is the kind of person that this world needs – he is part of the next generation.

One day he was unusually quiet. I just walked next to him without asking because I did not want to invade his privacy. He told me that his grandfather passed away a week ago and this was the reason why he was sad. I hugged him and told him that his grandfather is in a better place. I did not know what else to do. Then, he left running towards the rest of his friends: the Gorillas, as they named themselves. A lot of questions remained: Is he ok? How is he doing? Should I do something else?

A wonderful kid taught me how to grieve. I was supposed to teach him, but I was the learner. Jamaica has been a reminder that we must be humble and learn from kids and not to believe that they only have to learn from ‘grown ups’. There is also another message: Canada and its’ students can learn a lot from Jamaica. We must know that the world has a lot to share and they are willing to do so. Let’s open our senses and be humble always!

San Sebastian

As a frequent traveler, I have been to 16 countries and over 50 famous destinations all-over the world; but if you ask me to recommend the best beach I have ever been, with no doubt, I will give you the name “San Sebastián”, or in the local Basque language, “Donostia”.

Before I start to introduce this amazing city, I would like to quote some words from my travel guide book; “We would like to say there is nothing impossible in the world, but there is one exception, that if someone comes to San Sebastián and didn’t fall in love with the city, which is absolutely impossible”. I was very much impressed by it, and of course, San Sebastián was even beyond my expectation, and here is why:

Spectacular beach
There are two beaches in San Sebastián, which are Zurriola Beach in the east and Kontxa Hondartza Beach in the west. These two beaches are actually quite close, but in two different styles, like completely different. So firstly, the Zurriola Beach is open towards to the Atlantic Ocean, then the wave here is pretty big, for sure it is not good for swimming, and it is absolutely ideal for the surfing. BTW, the surfing class is also available here, if you haven’t tried before, here is one of the best places for beginner. By contrast, the Kontxa Hondartza Beach is bigger, but much more relaxing, prefect for swimming, snorkeling, beach volleyball, beach football, sunbath, book reading, sand castle building… and many other fun activities.

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Historical part
Right beside of Kontxa Hondartza Beach is the historical part of San Sebastián. The archaic street, shops and churches will bring your back to the old time, to see the old Europe, when the great artists were traveling cross Europe, and making their masterpieces. Just don’t follow the crowd, make you own way, get lost in the city, you will alway discover something new and something interesting, and trust me, it is really fascinating.

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The food!
San Sebastián is not only famous for its beautiful beaches, but also, it is called the capital of “Pintxos”. “Pintxos” is the traditional Spanish food, south Spain call it “Tapas”, it is made by many ingredients, with over 1 million different flavors and matches. I believe it is understandable that food is really hard to be described in words, then you will have to try you own. But I will put my reputation here, to say, San Sebastián’ Pintxos is definitely one the best in Spain.

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There are much more about San Sebastián I couldn’t put in words here, but there is one thing I have to say, that San Sebastián is one of the best destination in Spain, and if you go there, you will find out more.

Victor

Your GEO experience starts here!

Hello fellow Centennial peers,

Summer is ending and we’re all ready for another wonderful semester.  How was your summer?  Was it as memorable as mine!?  If you haven’t heard of the Centennial GEO office or their study abroad programs then this is the blog post for you!

I know how he did it :)
I know how he did it 🙂

My name is Jack, and I’m going into my fifth semester at Progress for Automation and Robotics.

For the past two summers, I and many other Centennial students have participated in month-long Language and Culture programs abroad through the GEO summer abroad program in Spain.  Both experiences have broadened my horizons and opened my mind to infinite ideas on how to apply my area of study to everyday issues.  It has made me a better person (I hope), and allowed me to pick up some basic Spanish.

What’s in it for you?  Why should you participate?

Let me take you through my summer Spanish journey, the people I met and the things I’ve learned.  You decide for yourself if a summer abroad is worth your time and money.

For me, this summer was one word: amazing!  For the first four weeks, myself and three other Centennial students studied Spanish language and culture in Logrono, La Rioja – the wine capital of Spain.  We met other students from New York, Utah, San Diego, Germany, Italy, China, Korea.  Friendships and bonds were forged through field trips and going out at night into the old town for tapas and dancing!  On weekends, we made trips to other major cities.

Basic Spanish A1 passed!
Basic Spanish A1 passed!

We experienced everything from the beauty of San Sebastian’s coast line, the modern architecture of Bilbao, the world famous art in Barcelona, to of course, Pamplona for the Fiesta de Sanfermin, aka “The Running of the Bulls” made famous by Hemmingway’s “The Sun Also Rises”.  Pearl, I assure you, none of us ran with the bulls.

When it was time to bid farewell and say ‘hasta luego’ to all our new friends, I embarked on a 30 day trek through northern Spain called the “Camino del Norte”.  I hiked up mountains and lost myself in spectacular vistas from San Sebastian to Bilbao.  Bilbao to Santander took my breath away with magnificent beaches and the sea meeting rivers and valleys.  I swam in the Cantabrian Sea on lunch breaks to beat the afternoon heat.  From Santander to Gijon, I walked along cliffs to find hidden beaches inland and along the coast; more beach days don’t hurt after 20 km morning marches.

Up Mountain = Scenic Vistas
Up Mountain = Scenic Vistas

On my journey to the final destination of Santiago de Compostella, everyday melted together into a rhythmic dance of steps, rest stops, and taking in the moments.  A life changing journey!

However, it was the people I met this summer that made it spectacular as it was.  My fellow classmates in Logrono, new friends from New York, Utah, and Italy all infused my mind with new ideas, new perspectives, and new information about different topics and cultures.

The people of the Camino were unique individuals sharing an unique adventure with random strangers from around the world.  Each and every person along my journey has influenced me and has been influenced by me in a positive way and taught me valuable life lessons.  No amount of money can equate to such an experience.  Thank you all!

Happy faces :)
Happy faces 🙂

And finally, what I learned. Well I learned that people are people. Regardless of their culture or background, they all want the same thing at the end of the day: safety, health, and social contact.  We, as Canadians, are privileged to have many of those things given to us just by being Canadians.  So my word to you the reader: take advantage of these GEO study abroad programs.  Broaden your horizon, experience the world and meet awesome people.  After, take the new you and make the world better for everyone else that lives in it, especially those less fortunate.

But it all starts with you.  You need to have an open mind, an open heart, be humble and wise to know that there’s always something new to learn and someone out there that can teach you.  Next time the GEO email makes it to your inbox, open it and apply for an unforgettable summer abroad!  Or go to the GEO office located in the International Office at Progress Campus!

Jack Yin, Automation and Robotics

2015 Summer Abroad – Language and Culture, Logrono, Spain

Trip to Remember!!!!!

Trip of a lifetime to say the least! This past June I had the opportunity to travel to Prince Edward Island to participate in a GCELE and represent Centennial College, my second home.

The first day we spent at the Habitat for Humanity warehouse cutting lumber that was to be made into picnic benches for an upcoming fundraiser. It was rainy and cold but that never stopped us! We pushed through lifting, cutting, transporting, and organizing every single piece of wood. We encouraged each other and most of all we completed our task with no injuries, all 10 fingers in tact!

The second day we finally got to work on the house. It was amusing to see all of the ladies minus Pierre, wearing hard hats with tool belts. Most of us had never even picked up a hammer before. We divided ourselves into a few small groups and we worked effectively. At the end of the day it was an unbelievable feeling to see how much worked we had completed. We all had a sense of accomplishment knowing that our hard work would give a family a home that they would otherwise not be able to afford.

Later that night we had the pleasure of meeting Erica and her daughter, who are the future owners of the house we built. The moment we were introduced it gave me clarity. I knew then that no matter how many bumps and bruises I got, I would never quit.

Overall it was an experience I will never forget. Not only was I able to apply what I learned during my first year at Centennial College, I also was able to learn so much. Hats off to Pierre and Anjana, at all times they kept their composure and helped to keep the group focused and on task. Thank you Centennial College for the opportunity to travel to Prince Edward Island and help to make a difference in a deserving families life.Bonding over some grub!!!

P.E.I = Beautiful
P.E.I = Beautiful

After a hard days work;)
After a hard days work;)

Prince Edward Island, the birthplace of Canada.

Words cannot describe how amazing and humbling my experience with Habitat for Humanity PEI has been. This past week, I had the opportunity to work alongside some of Centennial College’s most hard-working, respectful and hilarious staff and students whom I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet outside of being selected for the GCELE. Additionally, I had the chance to meet and work with some of Habitat for Humanity’s most dedicated and inspiring employees and volunteers.

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Prior to this GCELE trip, I had attended a HFH volunteer orientation session in Toronto a couple of years ago. I didn’t commit to any builds at the time so I wasn’t sure of what to expect on this trip to PEI. With this trip, I was thrown into close living quarters with 13 strangers. We had little Internet access, very few hours of screen time, communal accommodations and a structured schedule set by Habitat for Humanity.

Here are some things that I learned while on this GCELE:

  • Hearing individuals’ stories of hardship and perseverance make way for personal reflection and feelings of gratitude. One of the restaurants we went to during the week was Sadat’s Cuisine in Charlottetown. The Sadat family of seven came to PEI as refugees in 2007 (article here). And with the help of Habitat for Humanity, the Sadat family was built the biggest home on PEI to date to accommodate their large family. While Said Akbar Sadat was telling his family’s heart wrenching story about coming to Canada and starting over, his voice was filled with love and appreciation for the kindness and gifts they’ve received.
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  • Teamwork, pitching in and cooperation are vital interpersonal skills – especially when drywalling! We were there to help build a house for a family in need – there was no room for people to slack off and not participate in the daily tasks assigned.
    drywall
  • You are bound to experience discomfort and inconveniences – you’ve just got to suck it up and stick it out! I can confidentially say that I had the most mosquito bites of our group on this trip. My left eyelid was swollen for the first half of the trip with a bug bite below my brow line and one under my eye making me look like a female Quasimodo without the hunchback. Showers, bathroom and the kitchen were shared spaces so you had to be mindful of others. There may be snorers amongst the people that you’re sharing a room. Your everyday comforts and luxuries are not always readily available, so find better ways to spend your time. Another takeaway from this point? Bring lots of insect repellent and ear plugs.

I had a wonderful time in PEI and I am so grateful to have experienced it through Centennial’s amazing GCELE program. From my experience, Islanders are very friendly and gracious people. The lifestyle there is very relaxed compared to Toronto and there’s very little traffic on the roads. There’s a strong sense of community and pride in PEI… I mean it is the birthplace of Canada after all.

PEI-bridge

Fiona Lui
Children’s Media post-graduate program
PEI TEAM #2