Photo: Oswaldo Aviles, Victor Valderrama and Salvador Gonzalez enjoy working in the labs at Selkirk's School of Renewable Resources in Castlegar.
Selkirk College’s School of Renewable Resources in Castlegar recently hosted three exchange students from the Universidad Tecnologica de Tulancingo (Tulancingo Technical College) of Mexico.
The students, Oswaldo Aviles, Victor Valderrama and Salvador Gonzalez, arrived in Castlegar on May 9 for three weeks to learn about renewable energy, to improve their English and to experience life in Canada. A group of Selkirk College Renewable Energy students will be travelling to Mexico in September to study renewable energy and Spanish at the Mexican college.
School of Renewable Resources faculty member Rob Macrae says “The Mexican exchange students are from working class families. Their visit to Selkirk College is something few of their peers or families would have undertaken. They’ve participated in activities well beyond what would be included in a tourist’s visit to the West Kootenay region. I hope they’ll remember this trip as something special and as a unique educational experience that will open doors previously unimagined.”
These exchanges have been made possible through support received in 2006 as a result of a successful application to the North American International Academic Mobility program, administered by Human Resources and Social Development Canada.
The North American International Academic Mobility program required six post secondary institutions (two from Mexico, two from the USA and two from Canada) to form a partnership. The partnership prepared a proposal for educational exchanges around a particular theme—in this case, the exploration of renewable energy. The proposal was then approved by the governments of all three countries.
Selkirk College is the lead partner in this partnership. Other partners include the Cégep de la Gaspésie et des Îles in Gaspé in Québec, the Universidad Tecnologica de Tabasco and the Universidad Tecnologica de Tulancingo in Mexico, Golden West College in Huntington Beach, California and Turtle Mountain Community College in Belcourt, North Dakota. Selkirk College selected its partners based on their programs, geographic location, cultural diversity, unique renewable energy resources and interest in the project.
While in Castlegar, the students participated in a number of activities which included: building solar powered model cars, assembling light meters, constructing a solar oven, studying the operation of an artificial leaf, operating a solar thermal water heater, touring local industries and residential renewable energy installations, visiting local attractions and attending classes delivered by Selkirk College International.
When asked what they like most about their experience Victor said, “This is a small place. The people are nice, we like what we are learning and the scenery is beautiful.”
Selkirk College offers a one year certificate in Renewable Energy. The program focuses on surveying emerging renewable energy technologies including geothermal, micro hydro, wind, solar and biomass and examining their applicability as alternate sources of energy.
For more information on the Renewable Energy program or Selkirk College International, visit www.selkirk.ca/programs or call 1.866.953.1133.
First published on May 31, 2010