The NIC DIGITAL Design + Development faculty member received a Faculty Mobility for Partnership Building Program grant to cover a three-week stay in October in the Amazonas region of Brazil.
NIC and the Instituto Federal de Amazonas, the partner institution for the project, share remote campuses with diverse student populations. Both institutions have a variety of programs that focus on engaging and working together with Indigenous communities and students.
“Despite the differences, the two regions have some common ties,” Wilson said.
Her trip is an example of NIC’s Journeying Together plan and its commitment to Indigenize its international programs and projects.
“The plan aims at re-imagining global engagement for the NIC community by encouraging engagement and collaboration with global partners who, similar to NIC, are striving to become truly Indigenous serving,” said Romana Pasca, Manager, International Projects, Partnerships and Global Education for NIC’s Office of Global Engagement.
The trip started in the city of Manaus, where Wilson got an overview of the people, area and partner institution. This included meeting students, touring anthropology museums and visiting a remote Indigenous campus in São Gabriel da Cachoiera. The final week allowed Wilson to go into the jungle to explore ecological issues, such as deforestation.
The trip offered her a chance to look at further possibilities for collaboration, such as student projects, research and other partnerships. She even had the chance to meet with an exchange student from Brazil, who is attending NIC in 2023.
Wilson expects the outcomes of the trip could include NIC design students working virtually with students in Brazil to create infographics, websites or social media platforms that raise awareness around Indigenous language revitalization or issues such as deforestation. Collaborative Online Intercultural Learning (COIL) projects could offer students and faculty the opportunity to engage with the Brazilian partners and bring in other partners that share similar interests, such as in Hawaii or Costa Rica.
The Brazil journey marks the third time Wilson has ventured abroad for NIC’s Office of Global Engagement. The previous trips included one to the Philippines and Vietnam and another this past year to Mexico.
As Wilson puts it, life in more rural, remote Vancouver Island communities can sometimes feel a bit small or isolated, but these exchanges can help bridge the distance between students here and around the globe.
“It’s really great. These kinds of opportunities open up the world to NIC students,” she said.
Wilson shared about her experiences in Brazil in a NIC podcast series which is being highlighted as part of activities for International Development Week. NIC will be hosting a series of events for students and employees February 13-17 for International Development Week as part of a national initiative that celebrates Canadian contributions to international development work. For more information, visit www.nic.bc.ca/international.