May 17, 2021

Vancouver, BC – Students in the Recreation Leadership Diploma Program at Langara College are collaborating online with peers around the globe to develop intercultural competence.

The Collaborative Online Intercultural Learning – Virtual Exchange (COIL-VE) has led to exchanges with students at The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) and The Technical University of Dublin (TU Dublin). 
Intercultural skills training and virtual exchanges with international partner institutions are now components of the recreation program, and Langara students are required to demonstrate competency in diversity and inclusion. 

“COIL-VE projects provide students with an opportunity to learn collaboratively in a virtual environment and explore global issues working constructively across cultures with diverse groups of people,” said Erin Wilkins, Department Chair of Recreation Studies at Langara College. “It is integral that we come together as global citizens to support one another and work together. We are proud to provide our students with the skills necessary to adapt and manage whatever circumstances arise in the workplace and in the world.” 

In the first year of the program students complete an intercultural skills training module (2IQ2) in the Direct Leadership in Recreation course and build a foundation of intercultural competencies, as well as their first experience working with a COIL-VE project and students at Penn State.

In the second year, students participate in another COIL-VE project where they are paired with students at TU Dublin to explore global issues and trends such as community development strategies. The COIL-VE projects are co-facilitated by faculty at Langara College and faculty at the partner institutions to achieve common learning objectives.

“It was a pleasure to develop a network of emerging international community development professionals and to facilitate the students learning of new perspectives while completing their field work,” said Mairead McCluskey, Coordinator of Community Development and Youth Work Programmes at the TU Dublin.

Students use online tools to develop digital literacy that bridges geographic boundaries, allowing them to work with peers at partner institutions around the world. Students become more aware of cultural differences and more competent in their ability to be flexible and adaptable in an intercultural environment. These skills make them more employable and more effective in their future workplace.  

Some of the research projects that students worked on together included: 

  • Over an 8-week period, students from Langara College and Penn State examined how mental health issues present themselves in various contexts such as racism, gender equality, and political affiliations, and how these might differ in an American and Canadian workplace. They explored how mental health issues manifest in society and in the workplace, and developed resources to support new workplace supervisors and managers. 
  • Over an 8-month period, students from Langara College and TU Dublin addressed key issues such as racism and discrimination that the community development, youth work, and recreation sectors are experiencing. 

“I came to the conclusion that I need to put myself out there and get to know different cultures around the world. It is something I am interested in, but it is something new to me, so I was not as confident and comfortable as I thought I would’ve been,” said Ramneet D., a student in the Recreation Studies program at Langara College. “If I continue working in the public recreation centre sector, I will continue building my intercultural competence in order to connect with more people in my community.” 

The coursework and COIL-VE experiences in the program prepare students for intercultural experiences in their future careers in the field of recreation. Learn more about the program at

About Recreation Studies at Langara College 

Recreation is about improving people’s quality of life. It is a dynamic and diverse field that spans the public, private, and non-profit sectors. From health wellness to advocacy, recreation professionals provide leadership by creating positive environments for people of all ages to explore their potential, connect to community, increase health and wellness, celebrate cultural traditions, and live meaningful happy lives. Our mission is to provide outstanding education to students so that graduates are able to make meaningful contributions to the field of recreation. To this end, the Recreation department works closely with our students, taking a keen interest in their progress during and after their studies at Langara. 

About Langara College 

Located in beautiful Vancouver, B.C., Canada, snəw̓eyəɬ leləm̓ Langara College provides University, Career, and Continuing Studies education to more than 23,000 students annually. With more than 1,700 courses and 130 programs, Langara’s expansive academic breadth and depth allows students of all ages, backgrounds, and life stages to choose their own educational path. Langara is also known as snəw̓eyəɬ leləm 'house of teachings', a name given to it by Musqueam, on whose unceded traditional territory the College is located. 

Learn more. 
Lynette Hawksley 
Communications Officer