Group of Humber students in Arviat, Nunavut

For Humber students Nadine Asmis and Andrew Wilson, travelling to Arviat, Nunavut with the School of Hospitality, Recreation and Tourism (HRT) was a life-changing experience.

“You don’t see many service learning trips in your own country, so I knew that this trip would be special,” Asmis, a second-year fitness and health promotion student, said. “I thought to myself, ‘how is it that I know so little about such a big and important part of our country?’ I saw this as an opportunity to learn about Inuit culture.”

From May 4 to 14, students sat in on meetings with various community organizations, learned about ice fishing and hunting, taught cooking and nutrition classes, and helped plan sports activities for students in the community. Arviat, located about 200 kilometres north of Churchill, Manitoba, has a population of approximately 2,800.

The trip was HRT's first service learning trip in Canada. The trip, suggested by a student, took two years to plan. Six students participated in 180 hours of volunteer projects over five days, based on their areas of interest, including:

- Through the Jays Care Foundation, students became Jays Care play ball coaches to 200 students at Qitiqliq Middle School. This was the first time Jays Care baseball was offered in Nunavut. As a result of this trip, a Sport Management student got a full-time job with Jays Care.

- A nutrition/cooking workshop at the Youth Centre

- 12 dance, music and gym sessions

- Three high school music workshops

Two Recreation and Leisure Service students are currently interning with the Hamlet of Arviat Recreation Department, and one of them has accepted a full-time position there.

“This trip helped give me confidence because I was involved in so much planning about different activities and that is so valuable. I got real world experience,” said Wilson, who is in his first year of the sport management program.

A few of Asmis’ favourite moments of the trip include going out on the land with a group of middle school students, and sitting in on meetings with high school graduates and others in the community.

“They drove us about 40 minutes out onto the ice and snow, and we were given the opportunity to experience first-hand Inuit traditions.  We saw herds of caribou and learned about hunting. The younger kids lent us their fishing jigs and taught us how to ice fish – I didn’t catch anything,” she explained. “We were also given the opportunity to eat caribou meat, both raw and cooked. The entire experience was absolutely amazing. The best part, though, was when we first arrived to the cabin. In every direction that you looked, all (I saw was) ice and snow – and luckily for us, caribou. It was so calm and peaceful.”

Click here to learn more about the global study opportunities available to students in the School of Hospitality, Recreation and Tourism.