KAMSACK, CANORA — Five students from the Kamsack and Canora area were among the 10 students who attended an Indigenous student study tour of Yucatan, Mexico last month.
From May 13 to 27, a group of Parkland College students travelled to Merida, Yucatan, Mexico as part of the Global Skills Opportunity initiative, the Government of Canada’s Outbound Student Mobility Pilot Project, said a release from Parkland College. This program, funded by Employment and Social Development Canada, strives to improve international outbound mobility opportunities for Indigenous and low-income students.
In its inaugural student outbound mobility initiative, Parkland College partnered with Saskatchewan Polytechnic and Autonomous University of Yucatan, the release said. Students participated in a two-week intensive study abroad program where they learned and experienced both Mexican and Mayan culture.
Daily classroom sessions focused on language, history and culture, followed by activities to support the lessons. Students learned basic Spanish and were able to interact with students at the university and in the communities of Tekit and Ek Balam.
History lessons were reinforced by neighbourhood walking tours, the Mayan Museum, and visits to archaeological sites Xcambo, Chichen Itza, and Ek Balam. Students also enjoyed the food, preparing and baking traditional breads and tortillas, and sampling local honey.
“Parkland students represented the college and our province well as Saskatchewan ambassadors,” it said. Travelers included Malaysia Brass, Nathan Brass, Tasha Brass, Shaylene Erhardt and Desiree Genaille of the Kamsack and Canora area, as well as Bailey Collins, Randi Jones, Wilda Mariano, Tarin Morrissey, and Kimberley Stone.
The group represented a variety of programs, including business, office administration, social work, and Indigenous education. Staff advisors for the trip were Lisa Cadieux de Larios, Adult Basic Education Program Head, and Kami DePape, vice-president of academics.
The next Global Skills Opportunity at Parkland College is scheduled for spring 2023.
“Thanks to the Global Skills Opportunity Program, students who never had the chance to travel or study abroad immersed themselves in the culture and life in the Yucatan. They developed an appreciation of the uniqueness of another culture as well as the connection and similarities to their own,” said DePape. “The trip allowed them to experience, learn and grow as individuals and opened their eyes to new opportunities for their future.”
“The most valuable experience I learned was to take chances,” stated Malaysia Brass, student at Parkland College. “This trip allowed me to realize that there are so many opportunities for young Indigenous people like myself to partake in an experience like this.”
Parkland College provides high quality, learner-centered education and training as a foundation for lifelong success, the release said. The college offers a superior learning and campus experience with locations in Yorkton, Melville, Fort Qu’Appelle, Esterhazy, Canora and Kamsack.