Langara Student Explores Irish Recreation Through GSO Internship

“Growing up in a low-income immigrant household, travelling abroad was never something I had the opportunity to do,” says Paula Parman, a second-year Diploma student in Recreation Leadership at Langara College. That all changed this past winter when Paula and her classmates had the chance to travel to Dublin, Ireland to see their COIL virtual exchange project with the Technological University of Dublin come to life.

Over the past few months, Paula’s cohort has been meeting virtually with their partner class at TU Dublin to collaborate on a project that explores recreation in Canada and Ireland.

“The Collaborative Online Integrated Learning Extension (COIL-EX) through Global Skills Opportunity (GSO) is a unique opportunity for regular studies domestic students at our college to explore an international and intercultural opportunity,” says Heather Workman, Work Integrated Learning (WIL) Abilities Coordinator/Instructor at Langara.

“So many of our programs have very specific options for Work Integrated Learning. There aren’t a lot of opportunities for students from general Arts and Sciences. The GSO funding gives students a chance to travel abroad while not having to worry about how much it’s going to cost,” concludes Heather.

While in Dublin, Paula and her classmates participated in lectures on campus and visited work practicum placements of their Irish colleagues. “It was fantastic to meet everyone in person after months of talking online,” says Paula.

The group also visited Croke Park, a Gaelic games stadium in Dublin, to take in an Irish rugby match where the athletes were all local volunteers.

Paula says the trip was a success. “I’ve never been to Europe before and feel very lucky to have had the chance to go and to see how recreation is developed in another country,” she concludes.

The Langara College GSO Internship program has a goal to provide 156 internship experiences over the next 4 years.

Paula’s long-term goal is to get her a Master of Arts in Leadership and eventually open a not-for-profit that offers recreational services with minimal barriers to immigrants like herself.