BVC Introduces The CiCan Mobility Program
Bow Valley College was honoured to be one of the post-secondary institutions granted a $25,000 fund from Colleges and Institutes Canada (CiCan) to provide students with international study and internship opportunities. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our International Education department had to find a novel way to connect BVC students and transport them to a new environment. This led to the development of the CiCan Outward Mobility Program, an initiative that offered students an international internship from the comfort and safety of their homes.
Bow Valley College students were virtually transported to Japan and immersed in Japanese culture, where they learned philosophy, intercultural competencies and experienced virtual city tours.
Participant Livia Aguirre De Castro, who is in her final year of Business Administration courses at the College, describes herself as someone who loves meeting new people and appreciates learning about new cultures. Livia saw the CiCan Outward Mobility Program as an opportunity to explore Japan and learn how Japanese culture differs from her own.
“What I valued the most was talking to the students from Japan. It was incredibly special to see people who shared similar experiences. They were struggling with the language, just like I was, and they were willing to learn about Canada, the same way I was willing to learn about Japan,” Livia says. “This was a great program. It gave me a better understanding of our cultural differences and helped me realize how much smaller the world is becoming.”
Palak Sharma, also a participant in the CiCan Outward Mobility Program, is an international student from India currently enrolled in the School of Technology. Palak saw the program as an opportunity to explore a different language and culture. “Japan is a place that people of my country barely know about,” she says. “So, when the opportunity presented itself, I was intrigued and could not miss it.”
Palak credits the program for expanding her knowledge and understanding of Japan. “We learned about Japanese culture, philosophies, etiquettes, as well as student and professional life,” Palak says. “I have an improved understanding of the negative effects of stereotypes. Overall, this experience will help me work better in a team where not everyone belongs to similar background or country.”
Dionne Smith-Castellano, who is graduating with her Business Administration Diploma this semester, describes herself as a continuous learner who is not afraid to explore different perspectives.
As an international student from Trinidad and Tobago, Dionne was pleased to discover similarities between her culture and the Japanese culture during her time in the program. “My culture is heavily based on collectivism, like the Japanese values. I learned that while we are all different, in many ways, we are also quite similar,” she says.
“I value Japanese philosophy, which focuses on a spirit of gratitude, kindness, humility, and respect,” she says. “I believe that this program enhanced my appreciation of cultural differences, and this competency will aid me in my human resources career path. I feel fortunate to have been given the opportunity to participate in this program.”
Bow Valley College would like to thank Colleges and Institutes Canada for their support in bringing the Outward Mobility Program to life and allowing our students to virtually connect and learn about new cultures.