Niagara College continues to build upon its strong partnership with the Dominican Republic by welcoming a group of eight prospective students and educational partners on April 10.
The group was from a cultural and educational travel agency in the Dominican Republic called Connecting Borders who came to visit NC because of its incorporation of technology and applied learning in the classroom.
“The students were amazed by the College,” said Connecting Borders partner Jhoan Alexanders Eugenia Soto. “They have a very high opinion of Niagara College and they are already asking for the application forms to apply for this September.”
During a tour of the College’s learning enterprises, Soto explained how he admired NC’s advances in greenhouse technology. NC has been actively working with the Dominican community for years through its Be World Ready (BWR) program. The BWR International Field Study (IFS) provides students with opportunities to travel to Santo Domingo and Los Cacaos to support greenhouse technology as well as fair trade in the Dominican.
Bill MacDonald, professor in the School of Environmental and Horticultural Studies and coordinator of the Greenhouse Technician program, explained his area of expertise to the delegates from the Dominican Republic – a country he has been visiting twice a year since 2014 as part of BWR. He shared personal stories about his many travels to the Dominican, bringing a flavour of their home country to the visitors.
“I continue to do these trips as I feel it is very important for students to see how a true Dominican Republic village operates, and not the artificial view that tourists get at a resort,” MacDonald said. “Los Cacaos is truly welcoming and they are proud to show us their town and surrounding agricultural practices.”
Denzil Rose, a Greenhouse Technician student who traveled to the Dominican during winter mid-term break earlier this year, noted that it was an enriching experience.
“For me, as someone incredibly interested and passionate about nature, ecology and plant science, the entire trip was a profound learning experience, both academically and personally … I have gained some multicultural social skills, a knowledge of tropical plants, and ultimately I have learned to better step out of my comfort zone,” he said. “Words do not do justice to this amazing trip, I firmly believe all students should experience an invaluable opportunity such as this at some point in their life.”
Dominican student Melvin Rafael Pujols Diaz said he was drawn to visit NC in hopes of learning first-hand what the College has to offer and experience a glimpse of life in Canada. By the end of the tour, Diaz said he was already thinking of the next steps he would need to take to study at the College.
“The tour was above and beyond what I expected,” said Diaz.
The prospective students from the Dominican Republic were the final group in what was the largest series of prospective international student tours at NC. The visits were a part of NC’s ongoing international student recruitment diversification strategy and the College will continue to explore further opportunities to bring diverse prospective international students to Niagara.
Delegations from Aruba and the Bahamas also toured NC earlier in April.