By Arielle Quigley
With time ticking closer and closer to the last day of school, the priority for most students has been to complete their final assignments and exams. However, a select few have also been preparing for “The Kenya Experience,” a trip that is part of the Global Citizenship and Equity Learning Experience program (GCELE) at Centennial College.
“We are extremely excited. We can’t wait. It’s a little bit stressful that we are leaving literally the day after exams are finished but it’s been really fantastic We’re all just ready to embark on this journey together,” said Amy Gaudaur, a professor in the child and youth worker program.
Gaudaur is one of the people responsible for putting this together. She said that The Peru Initiative that students went on last year inspired this trip.
They did some research to find an agency that embraced the goals of the GCELE.
They decided to go with the Me to We program, which is situated in several countries – one of them being Kenya.
“They have an excellent program in Kenya, and it was something that would really be a nice collaboration with Centennial and what we wanted our students to get out of that experience,” Gaudaur said.
According to Gaudaur, GCELE is has been a part of the curriculum at Centennial College for a few years now. This program aims to have all students, regardless of what program they come from, understand what it means to be a global citizen.
The school offers these trips to supplement the knowledge that the students learn in the classroom.
It gives students and faculty the opportunity to go around the world and experience different cultures and religions and to see how differently others live.
“It’s about getting to experience what it’s like to not only be a student who attends college here in Canada, but to be a student of the world,” Gaudaur said.
Gaudaur said that one of the most important parts of this trip is that students come back and share the experience with others.
Students are required to journal while they are away so that they can blog about what they learned. They also are expected to talk about their trip to global citizenship or advocacy classes on campus, speak to faculty groups and participate in fundraising for future GCELE trips.
“That’s one of the most important pieces for us. It’s not just that these students are going to go to Kenya and learn about the community. They have to take that knowledge and bring it back to the Centennial College community and share it with other people,” Gaudaur said.
In order to qualify for this experience, students must go through an application process. They have to submit an application to the dean and then if they are chosen, they must be interviewed by a selection commitee.
There are seven students attending The Kenya Experience.
“I think it’s a really nice balance between all of the programs that Centennial offers. But they all have that common goal of wanting to help be the change and really take an initiative to understand what global citizenship is from a front line level.”
For more information on future trips and past experiences, visit humanracebook.com.
“The Kenya Experince” Itinerary:
– Swahili Lessons
– School Builing
– Water Walk: demonstration of how far the people in the community had to walk before they had a well
– Safari Day
– Touring the medical clinic built in September 2010
– Tree Planting
– Leadership Activities
– Meeting the children that go to the recently constructed all-new all girls school.