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Students Travel to Nunavut for an Eye-Opening Service Learning Trip - 2017

During the Service Learning Trip to Arviat, Nunavut, students exchanged ideas and knowledge with locals in the community, as HRT students taught community members about fitness and nutrition and the community taught the students about Inuit culture.

This trip was HRT’s first ever service learning trip in Canada to Arviat, Nunavut with the objective to immerse students in the culture by participating in local activities and volunteering in the community. 

The trip was a part of the study abroad program and was led by Sherri Branscombe, a Professor in the Recreation and Leisure Services, and Sport Management Programs. Sherri was joined by trip leaders, Leila Kelleher and Danielle MacMillan, a graduate of the Recreation and Leisure Services Program.

When students weren’t volunteering, they were taking part in fun, unique local activities and excursions. Students went dog sledding, ice fishing, enjoyed a caribou stew cook off and listened to a Inuit history lecture delivered by community elders.

However, all the students agreed that the absolute highlight of the trip was an impromptu soccer game at 11pm with a group of local kids. 

The game lasted for hours and was played with a ragged ball in the middle of the street. Despite the language barrier, everyone had an amazing time and was able to communicate with each other, proving to students that the power of sport can break language and cultural barriers.

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Overall, the trip was an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime learning experience for the HRT students. Everyone was thankful for the experience and only had positive things to say about the trip:

"For myself, being able to experience a new culture and different customs was really eye-opening and made me think about the ways I do things. It was a chance to practice what we learn in school and deliver workshops to an actual audience, rather than in class. It was a great real-world learning experience." - Bryce McDiarmid - Nutrition and Healthy Lifestyle Promotion

“I knew this experience would be impactful, but I couldn’t possibly realize how much of an effect it would have on me. Definitely a life-changing experience.” - Nadine Asmis - Fitness and Health Promotion

“On this trip, I learned that no matter where you go, kids will be kids, and kids want to play. Sport has such a huge power on creating change, and despite the fact that the trip was only 10 days long, we still made an impact on their lives." - Jessica Cuhna - Sport Management

“It was an amazing experience! The trip allowed me to gain valuable work experience in a unique environment and made me more confident working with kids and adults. Service learning takes you out of your comfort zone and gives you opportunities to grow. This trip will end up being one of my favourite trips I’ve ever taken.” - Andrew Wilson - Sport Management

Thank you to Sherri and HRT for organizing this trip, and to the people of Arviat for welcoming our staff and students into their community.