Douglas students travel to southern Africa for work experience
By Cazzy Lewchuk, Staff Writer
Participants in the Douglas College 2014 Global Leadership Program (GLP) have left for Zambia as of May 6. Currently in its fourth year, the program sends a group of students to Zambia to work, learn, and foster development in various areas. Ten Douglas students of varying years and programs are currently working in Zambia for this year’s program.
The program places students into various fields of work while travelling. Students work to develop skills for both themselves and residents of the country in the areas of education, health, small business, and community building. The students’ time is divided into three intensive phases: pre-departure training, working in Zambia, and a debrief upon return. The students are currently undergoing phase two; they will return on August 5 to complete phase three.
Although Internet access is limited, the students regularly blog about their experiences. Entries by each student can be read in full online (http://www.douglife.ca/zambia-glp/blog/). Child and youth care counselling student Jaime Pimlott described her current experience in a passionate and enthralled manner from a May 22 entry:
“I have finally settled in Ndola, Zambia and what a beautiful and compassionate country it is […] The sounds of the markets and the booming vibrations of the Zambian music create a cultural experience, I could have only hoped for […] Although this is my first two weeks in Zambia, I feel as though I am at home among the people.”
The trip is a very unique and new experience for most of the participants. Culture clashing is apparent, as noted in a blog entry by nursing student Jessica Hartle: “Everything is new and exciting, so you take in all the differences with a laugh. Even though you’re not used to the amount of openly personal questions coming your way, having come from a colder, more individualized country yourself, you shrug it off and answer their questions. This is how culture shock begins in a new land.”
In addition to the training and work done by Canadian youth in Zambia, the reverse will also occur at the end of the program. In August, a select group of Zambian youth will visit Douglas College for training sessions and seminars. These youth will learn skills in their fields of work, and after a month, they will travel back to Zambia with a new wealth of knowledge in Canadian systems. Both sets of students are exposed to a radically different culture and environment, fostering the GLP goal of cross-cultural immersion and personal/professional growth through leadership.