This collective blog chronicles the learning of Centennial College students, staff and faculty participating in the 2014 Global Citizenship & Equity Learning Experiences (GCELEs). It is an offering, a way to live our learning out loud–a giving back. It is a space to mingle, converse, connect and reflect. It is a place to build a circle of knowledge and sharing that will drive and sustain our commitment to making the world a better place, together.

To learn more about the upcoming  projects in Arizona/Mexico, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Ottawa, click the ‘About’ tab at the top of the page. We welcome your comments!

An ongoing journey

It has been quite a while since our return from the Mountains where life had seemed so very unfamiliar to us as students with the privilege of choice to go to school. Although much time has passed I continue to find myself drifting off into memories and thoughts of the life we experienced in Xi Chang, China. I recall experiencing a range of emotions as we went through the many stages of our journey. I remember arriving in China and being amazed at the first encounter with Chinese culture. I remember being scared to do, and try new things. I remember being nervous to meet all of the students we would be doing workshops with. I remember being sad as we drove through the mountains and saw the conditions of the houses and streets. The looks on the faces of the inhabitants of the drab structures made me feel helpless and the rainy weather didn’t help. I remember being angry seeing the countless number of children sitting by the roadside with nowhere to go and nothing to do. I remember becoming more and more angry when I thought of all of the stories of children that had been abandoned and left orphaned.  The anger and sadness made me miss home. But then something changed. We met up with the students, at this moment I knew that I these kids were some of the most generous people that I would ever meet. We didn’t speak the same language, or know the same songs or games, but none of that mattered. We began to share our ideas of happiness and learned their ideas of happiness as well. The hardest part was leaving our new friends behind. I do hope that the students in Xi Chang had as great of an experience that we did. They’re intelligence and generosity has impacted me more than they will ever know.

Since I’ve been back, people keep asking me how my trip was and each time I answer that question I find my self pulling new things that I have taken from this trip, memories that I had forgotten, new insights and new perspective.

The members of the Fu Hui team were a great inspiration. They’re hearts were filled with passion. This gave us the drive to take all of the feelings (good and bad) and turn them into something positive. This trip to China lasted two weeks, but the journey we set out on July 9th, 2014 is still going and will continue on for a long time.

What Happens in Costa Rica, Doesn’t Stay in Costa Rica

After the amazing Costa Rica trip, I would like to share my experiences and what we had done there… Here we go!

Day 1: We arrived to San Jose where the capital is. We had great lunch at the local restaurant. Luckily, Costa Rican national soccer team arrived at the same day with us. That’s why, the city was full of people. At night, they had organized great celebration and we all had fun with Costa Ricans.

Day 2: Time to head to Tortuguero where the biological station locates. For going there, we took a bus and then boat because boats are the only way to reach that location. Before reached the station, we went to Tortuguero Village and spent some time in there. It is very cute and small village but you can find lots of different gift shops. After that we reached the home that we would spend our next two weeks.

Day 3: This was the first morning at the station. We had hiking and canoeing with Mario who is amazing Costa Rican guide. End of the hiking we reached the top point, the view was amazing! It was totally worth for long and tough hiking. Canoeing was also amazing. We saw monkeys, birds and natural places.

Day 4: We went to very small village that is called San Francisco to meet local student at their school. We attendant their “conversation club” class and tried to communicate :). Then we went to canal trip by boat. After that we went to national park where locates near Tortuguero Village. The day was not over, that’s why our last activity was night walk. We walked in the jungle with our head lambs. It was another unique experience for me.

Day 5: The weather was very rainy so we had no power for couple of hour. At that day, we had a turtle training which was about main types of sea turtles that nest on the beach. It was very informative for us because we would go to night patrols to look for sea turtles.

Day 6: We had different tasks for every day. In the morning time, we went for shorebird monitoring. We record shorebirds and collected information about them. It was nice but rainy walking. Afternoon, we cleaned the beach. It was full of plastics and glasses.

Day 7: Another morning task was waiting for us which is called morning turtle monitoring. We had walked around 5-6 miles on the beach and controlled the sea turtle nests. Thankfully, we did not face any problem such as a demolished nest.

Day 8: Here was the first night patrol. We had worn all black clothes, took our head lambs which we were not allow to light on J and walked six hours. We saw green sea turtle while she was nesting but another night patrol team had found her before us. We just got closer but even if this experience was priceless.

Day 9: Another training day which was about mammals. At night time, I had another night patrol at 10 pm and it had taken six hours, too.

Day 10: Afternoon, we went for mammal survey to find mammals’ trails. We had found racoons and armadillos trail. We recorded them all.  We had another night patrol. At the night patrol we saw a green sea turtle but she somehow scared of something and heading back to sea just in front of us. It was the first time that I had seen a sea turtle that was moving.

Day 11: Another conservation club class and another fun time with local children at San Francisco. Before night patrol, we went for caiman survey. We were on the boat with hand lambs and try to find reflected eyes that belong to caimans. After that we went for night patrol but at that night we were not lucky. No turtle, not even track!

Day 12: The day was off for me 🙂

Day 13: All of us went to Tortuguero Village again. It was the last time that we had been there. We bought something as gifts.

Day 14: Time to say goodbye to the station and the adventures. Time to go back to San Jose. In San Jose we had great dinner with all together.

Day 15: Toronto was waiting us that’s why we went to the airport. Goodbye Costa Rica.

These are very brief explanation about what we had done there. I would like to thanks again to Helen, Maija, and Pearl. It was amazing experience for all of us.

Pura Vida!



Cano Palma

So along with all of the amazing research we got to do while working with the interns at the station, we got to do some community involvement as well.

We got to go to the school and see all of the students (all ages) and see the way their school is run and all of the cool things they get to learn. We were lucky enough to participate and help out with their Environmental group, which gets together at 2pm on Fridays, and help them learn about the planet and make fun crafts!  It was amazing to see how excited most of them were about learning.  It really puts things into perspective back home and  how many of us want to ditch class for no reason, where all they want to do is learn learn learn.

Seeing these kids that were at the school and in the community and how happy they were and grateful for the little that they have, really made me think about my life back home.  Whenever I had any down time, all I could do was think about what I am going to change when I get back to Canada.

This trip has really taught me a lot about my life and how I don’t really have much to complain about in comparison to the people who live in Costa Rica.  We are very blessed and lucky to be living in Canada with all of our opportunities.