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May 9, 2014 9:21 AM

Conestoga students take learning abroad

A group of Conestoga degree students have taken their learning overseas this spring as they participate in a new Liberal Studies elective that examines the current and historical cultural, economic and business environments in France and England.

Degree students enrolled in the Cultural, Historical and Economical Overview of France and England course departed on May 2 to spend one week in each of Paris and London, examining the cities and becoming fully immersed in the culture.

Designed to illustrate the cultural differences between France and the United Kingdom, the course is will demonstrate how both cultures have had an impact on Canada’s French and English societies. Students develop their knowledge through seminars, lectures and visits to sites of historical and cultural significance.

TrafalgarSq.jpg According to faculty member Pierre Brunet, the project to develop the course began four years ago with the objective of providing international exposure to students enrolled in the International Business Management degree program.

“We did a survey of degree students to assess their interest in participating in a two-week trip outside of North America,” said Brunet. “London and Paris were the two cities that attracted the most attention.”

Students in the course are completing quizzes and daily reflection journals as part of their experience. They will also write a final research essay to summarize their findings after their return to Canada. Brunet pointed out that the immersive experience is essential, saying that students could read about these cities in books, but having the opportunity to actually live the experience is so much better.

He also noted that this trip marks the first time that a college has been approved by the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities to take degree students overseas for a credit course.

“The course is positioned as an elective and open to students in all degree programs at Conestoga,” he explained. “Participants include 27 students from a variety of programs including Public Relations, Interior Design and International Business Management.”

In May 2015, the focus of the course will shift as 24 degree students spend two weeks in China and Japan. In future years, the course will alternate between European and Asian locations.

“Students will be shocked by the culture in Asia,” said Brunet. “We are based on a more European culture here in Canada, so to experience Asia will be very exciting for them.”

He added that the course will allow students to view their environment from a different perspective, describing it as “a great opportunity for students to explore the world and understand how lucky we are.”

For more information on this and other Liberal Studies courses, visit the website.

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