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July 4, 2013

Ireland Exchange Boosts Confidence

International Experience Expands Horizons for Law Enforcement Students

Christian Dungey and Jordan Vanderhorst graduated from the Law Enforcement Studies (LESD) program in June with more than a diploma. They also have international education experience on their list of accomplishments. 

The two students spent January to May of this year in Ireland, at the Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT). It was a chance to broaden their intercultural experience while exploring the international dimension of justice and public safety. 

They’re trailblazers for what is now expected to become an annual opportunity for Law Enforcement Studies students. 

JIBC partnered with WIT because of its prominent Criminal Justice Studies program and robust exchange program, according to LESD Program Coordinator Steve McCartney. A leading post-secondary institution in south-east Ireland, WIT offers a wide range of programs including a BA in Criminal Justice Studies. Victimology, Human Rights Law, Social Ethics and Applied Criminal Evidence are just some of the courses that Jordan and Christian were able to choose from. 

McCartney says there are invaluable benefits that come from an international education exchange opportunity. “The experience helps young people expand their horizons and gain independence,” he says. “They come home with a greater level of confidence that enhances their academic learning and helps them in their career planning.” 

Jordan admits to feeling a little intimidated during the first few weeks at WIT, though it didn’t take him long to settle in. “The Irish people were friendly and helped us get comfortable in our new surroundings,” he says. “They were interested in learning about our culture and where we came from. Campus life was fun. We got to hang out with students from all over the world and our roommate from Australia was great.” 

The two students studied criminology, applied forensics and policing. “We found out how different policing in Ireland is compared to Canada,” says Christian. “For example, the Irish police, known as An Garda Síochána, are not armed like they are in Canada. The Garda is going through reform and it was really interesting for Jordan and me to see the transition in how it goes about enforcing law and public safety in the country.” 

Once they overcame their initial shyness, Christian and Jordan actively participated in class discussions. “The professor asked us what policing and criminal law was like in Canada,” says Jordan. “It was enjoyable for us to teach the class a little about Canada while we were learning about the differences in law enforcement between our two countries.” 

Jordan says his favourite class was applied forensics. “This class showed me a new side of policing,” he says. “We learned about fingerprint patterns, techniques used to get fingerprints and how to identify forgeries in documents, signatures, and currency.” 

Kevin Sanford, Program Director, Office of International Affairs, is looking to expand the number of international educational opportunities available to JIBC students. “We’re building partnerships with educational institutions so more of our students can gain this type of international exposure, whether it’s for a few weeks or an entire semester,” he says. 

Sanford believes that participating in an international exchange helps to increase a student’s employability and their ability to integrate successfully into the justice or public safety sector they choose to contribute to. 

“The education is similar worldwide, so the real learning happens in the richness of experiences outside of the classroom,” says Sanford. “Our students become aware of a country’s cultural sensitivities, its customs, government, what is acceptable versus unacceptable behaviour. It’s this global awareness and understanding that helps them achieve success in their careers no matter where in the world that career takes them.” 

Jordan hopes to be recruited by either the RCMP or the Vancouver Police Department. Christian also plans to pursue a career in policing. 

Both students agree that their trip to Ireland exceeded all expectations. “On a personal level, the exchange made me more independent,” says Jordan. “I had to go grocery shopping, make my own meals and learn to manage my money. I met new friends, embraced a new culture and learned to live on my own.” 

Christian’s advice for the next set of students heading to WIT this Fall is to study hard but also have fun. “Enjoy the experience. It’s important to get good marks, but it’s also about learning and growing, and gaining valuable life experiences. Four and half months may seem like a long time but it flew by quickly so do as much as you can while you’re there.” 

JIBC offers the LESD program in New Westminster and, starting this September, at the Victoria campus. Visit the program web page to find out more about the program, and to apply. 

Support student international experiences

A range of opportunities exist for individual donors, foundations or corporations to support student international experiences at JIBC. For more information about supporting these initiatives, please contact the JIBC Foundation.

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Tags: Law Enforcement Studies Diploma, LESD

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Last updated October 3, 2014