Jan 27, 2022

As part of the College's internationalization strategy, Langara established the Collaborative Online Intercultural Learning – Virtual Exchange program (COIL-VE) in 2020. The goal is to improve learning and teaching to facilitate the development of global citizens. It is an approach to develop global competency through the creation of a multicultural learning environment that connects classrooms from various countries.  

COIL gives students from two countries the opportunity to collaborate on class activities in an integrated setting. They learn to work across cultures under the supervision of instructors from both countries, thereby strengthening their cultural literacy and empathy. 

Kenneth-Wong-3.jpgKenneth Wong, an instructor of International Business, Marketing, and Business Management at Langara, is passionate about the COIL-VE course he teaches. He believes all students have the potential to become global citizens and emphasizes the importance of being skilled in collaborating internationally and interculturally in today’s job market 

On what made him want to be a part of COIL-VE, Kenneth says it’s a reciprocal process that benefits both instructors and students, “I, too, gain much from the experience as instructors themselves also need to collaborate.” As for students, they get the opportunity to work across different ethnic cultures and can also build up an international network which may be of value later in their professional career. “More gratifying is seeing students move onto the next step, which is to study abroad. Whether it’s field studies, student exchange, or international co-op, the experiential learning will exponentially enrich the students’ knowledge.”  

With the pandemic limiting international travel, the students experienced working with people from different cultures and this transferable skill can be used in a variety of employment environments. Kenneth hopes this experience will spark students' interest to explore the world, and in doing so expand their minds, “I want to see them develop more questions out of their newfound curiosity, and inclusively integrate their findings into a diverse set of resources and capabilities.”   

“More gratifying is seeing students move onto the next step, which is to study abroad. The experiential learning will exponentially enrich the students’ knowledge.”  

Rachel-Nguyen.jpgA new learning experience was what encouraged Rachel Nguyen, a PDD Marketing Management student, to be a part of COIL-VE. “I came to Canada to experience new things, so I just want to try everything as I know I can always learn something”. Her favorite part about it was collaborating with fellow Thai students and giving each other feedback. “I was surprised by their creativity and cooperation. At first, I thought it would be hard to work together when we are in different time zones, but it turned out very well.”  

Being open to new ideas, teamwork, and interpersonal skills are among Rachel’s takeaways from the experience; she also gained international friendships. This increased her cultural literacy and competence when working with international teams, “It helped me a lot when I started my new job where I have to work with Philippines teams in Asia.”  

Rachel recommends COIL-VE to other students, she says it enriches the student experience abroad and makes classes more fun and interesting.