2015 Training Programme:
What to Expect
What does the course cover?
Generally speaking, the training programme will challenge you to step out of your field
of specialisation and expose you to key issues in ocean governance through an interdisciplinary approach.
The detailed syllabus will be available nearer the time, but is expected to be quite similar to this year's programme with modules ranging from Law of the Sea to Fisheries and Aquaculture, and from Maritime Security to ICOM.
Please therefore carefully review the
2014 syllabus for details.
Who are the lecturers?
Specialists from a whole range of disciplines and backgrounds including
academics, policy-makers and practitioners are invited to speak to the class.
The list of
2014 speakers gives a sense of their areas of expertise. Most are based in Canada, but many have extensive international experience,
and some experts from other countries are brought in to enrich the perspectives and discussion.
How heavy is the workload?
The course is very intensive, with a lot of material to cover in a relatively short time. Classes are held from Monday to Friday, with a normal day running from 9.00 to around 4.30, with an hour and a half for lunch. Attendance is required at all sessions. You should also be prepared for some evening and weekend work, as well as field trips.
What about readings or assignments?
Participants should begin by consulting the
Course Documents section of this website, which includes links to both the course reader and a number of useful materials which you are encouraged
to review before arriving in Halifax. (Please note that these will be updated
prior to the 2015 programme.) Individual lecturers will also assign background readings and/or assignments during the training programme,
and there is a course-long simulation, as well as some shorter exercises.
These will involve preparation, reading and/or group work out of class hours. In addition, all participants are asked to
prepare a 20 minute case-study to present at some point during the programme. You will be sent details of this prior to leaving for Canada.
Should I start arranging my own travel as soon as I am accepted?
No, please discuss travel options with us BEFORE you make any arrangements! In most cases travel is arranged by either IOI or your funding organisation,
and you will be expected to arrive and leave on specific dates just before and after the course.
What about visas?
Participants are responsible for getting a Canadian visa, and have to cover the costs associated with this (application fee, cost of travel to Embassy/High Commission etc.).
You will probably find that you need a Temporary Resident Visa or equivalent rather
than a Study Permit, but you must check as the requirements vary from
year to year, and from country to country. It is very important that you start
this process as soon as you have been offered a confirmed place on the
programme, as the process can take weeks or even months in some cases. You are also
responsible for any transit visas which are required, so check carefully with a
travel agent to ensure that you know whether any are necessary.
Will I be met at the airport? What if it is late at night?
A driver will be sent to collect you from the airport and take you to the university, regardless of the time.
The residence staff member on the front desk will provide you with access to
your room even if you arrive in the middle of the night.
What accommodation is provided?
Accommodation is arranged by IOI-Canada, with participants living together in a student residence
close to the classroom, libraries and computer facilities. You will have your own
bedroom with shared bathroom, kitchen and lounge facilities. Note that the facilities are fairly typical of student accommodation so don't
expect a fancy, luxurious hotel! (Consider it a return to a student lifestyle!)
If a field trip involves an overnight stay, accommodation will be arranged for
you. It is possible you might have to share a room with someone of the same sex for the field trip, but if so, you would be given plenty of notice and be consulted on your choice of room-mate.
Will I need to bring any household stuff?
The residence is fully furnished, and your room will have a bed, desk, chair, wardrobe etc.
You will be provided with sheets, bedding and towels on a weekly basis, and will have access to
coin-operated washing machines/dryers plus iron and
ironing board for your personal laundry. The kitchen is equipped with a 'fridge, stove, microwave, kettle, toaster,
pots and pans, utensils, crockery, cutlery, etc.
What about meals?
For the first few days while you are settling in, you will be provided with breakfast, lunch and supper.
The Course Co-ordinator will eat with the group most of the first week, and be on hand to answer any
questions you may have. Weekday lunches (or occasionally lunch money) and coffee breaks will continue to be provided for the remainder
of the course, but participants are responsible for preparing their own breakfast and supper after the initial
settling-in period, as well as all weekend meals. This may be a learning experience for those who are not used
to cooking for themselves, but it is a very valuable life skill to acquire! Some participants also enjoy
sharing meal preparations with their flatmates and learning about other national dishes, and the group may want
to set up a rota for kitchen use to ensure everyone gets easy access to the facilities. Be warned that you will
all be expected to clean up after yourselves -- another useful life skill!
What about money?
Participants are expected to continue to receive their normal salary. A modest
but adequate allowance is provided to cover your essential living expenses
during the programme, e.g. groceries, toiletries as well as minor course-related
expenses such as photocopying, printing, stationery etc. It is not intended to
cover such things as eating out, international telephone calls, souvenirs and
presents, clothes, etc. so you would have to bring your own funds for such
items. Again, it may be helpful to consider it a two-month return to a basic
What clothing should I bring?
Classroom dress is informal, although you may want something more formal for occasions such as the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and the course photograph. You may well find it cool, or even cold – temperatures vary a lot, but could be between 10 and 30 degrees – so bring some warm clothing. Comfortable shoes are very important, as some field trips involve quite a bit of walking. And given that Halifax is a coastal city and can be wet, you should bring a raincoat and umbrella.
One of the most important things to bring is an openness to new experiences. You will be studying and living with people from a very wide range of countries and backgrounds, and will need to be tolerant of different attitudes, values, religions and behaviour. The Canadian weather, lifestyle and food will also almost certainly be different from at home, so be prepared to adapt to them. Things won't necessarily be done the way you're used to, and you may be expected to do things you aren't accustomed to. Perhaps you're used to having a driver, and will need to adjust to having to walk to places. Maybe you're not usually expected to make coffee or tea for others, or to cook for yourself, but will have to take your turn in the classroom refreshments rota, as well as preparing many of your own meals. Possibly you're from a culture where men typically dominate the discussion and decision-making, and will have to adjust to female and male participants being treated as equals. This may well mean moving beyond your personal comfort zone, but will be an important and very valuable aspect of your two months in Canada.
What about after the course?
As noted on the application form, all participants are expected to use and share their new knowledge and skills on their return home. During the course, you will be asked to identify relevant ways you can do this, and some months after you have returned, you will be expected to provide written follow-up demonstrating what activities you have engaged in. You will also be encouraged to stay in contact with your classmates and get involved in any local alumni activities.
And if I have other questions?
You will be sent more information nearer the time, and when you arrive you will be provided with a booklet of information with answers to many of the questions you might have. The Course Co-ordinator will hold an initial information session when the participants have all arrived,
and will be available to help you settle in. The internet is also a great source of answers to general questions you
might have, whether about Halifax or
Dalhousie University. For those visiting a different culture for the first time, some of the University's helpful
hints on Living Across Cultures
might be of interest. But if you have any pressing questions that remain unanswered, feel free to contact the IOI office at firstname.lastname@example.org.