Crossing Borders, Connecting Worlds: Vancouver to Seattle

Crossing Borders, Building Bridges: Insights from Our Vancouver and Seattle Experience

Our trip from BCIT’s vibrant campus to the innovative heart of Seattle captured a mix of discovery, community service, and technological insight. 

During our time in Vancouver, we had the opportunity to explore Canadian campus life and sustainable design. Through interactions with students and experts, we gained unique perspectives on these topics. 

Our commitment to the environment was demonstrated by a meaningful ocean clean-up, which left a lasting impression on us. Traveling to Seattle, we continued our mission of impact through volunteer work with Zero Waste Washington and an inspiring visit to Microsoft’s Inclusive Tech Lab. 

This trip connected us not only to two cities, but also to diverse cultures, communities, and the forefront of accessible technology.

Last Day in Vancouver

The last day in Vancouver started with discovering the campus life and Canadian culture of the students in Vancouver at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT). Eva Y Wong, the International Program Coordinator for Global Relations at BCIT, provided us with a tour of the campus full of life and Canadian spirit. Observing the lifestyle of Canadian students was a very interesting and insightful experience for us Swiss visitors. Thanks to Dr. Svitlana Kominko, guest lecturer for Cross-Cultural Management, who coordinated the interactive activities such as bingo, which was a great icebreaker to connect with the local students and gain insights into their academic life and the diverse community at BCIT. Our next challenge involved conceptual teamwork, where we explored hypothetical mergers between diverse companies, from Toyota to Chick-fil-A and Zalando. This widened our perspectives on international business dynamics.

The afternoon was reserved for two enlightening sessions with Marcel Studer of EconGroup and Vince Sciamanna of Garaventa Lift.

Marcel Studer introduced us to the principles of passive house design, showcasing EconGroup’s commitment to sustainability and energy efficiency. We gained insights into how architecture implements sustainability and which materials construct the most sustainable buildings.

Later that day, Vince Sciamanna shared the remarkable history and global impact of Garaventa Lift. We also had a tour of the manufacturing facility where the lifts are made. As office workers, we found it very interesting to see how they are made.

Saying Goodbye to Vancouver and Hello to Seattle

Our final day in Vancouver included an ocean clean-up with SeaSmart, led by Talia Damas. The connectUS team had a great experience volunteering and successfully collected waste from both the sea and the surrounding land.

Our collected waste was separated into 12kg of garbage, 2.3kg of paper, 700g of compost, almost 4kg of glass and 1kg of metal. This experience reminded us of the impact we can have on preserving our planet.

After the Ocean Cleanup, we had to say goodbye to Vancouver and took the train from Vancouver to Seattle. The 4.5-hour ride gave us the opportunity to experience the train ride in North America.

First day Embracing Seattle

Upon arriving in Seattle, we immediately began our community service work with Zero Waste Washington. We met with Xenia Dolovova and Sara Dandy and divided into three groups, each taking on a different project: sanding furniture, painting, and reupholstering chairs. It was a powerful demonstration of the impact of hands-on volunteer work to witness the transformation of these items thanks to our collective effort.

Another highlight of our first visit in Seattle was exploring the Microsoft Inclusive Tech Lab, led by Bryce Johnson. The lab is located in Seattle’s tech hub and is dedicated to making technology accessible to everyone through inclusive design and innovative assistive technologies. The lab’s collaborative approach to developing solutions that work for all abilities highlighted the potential of technology to bridge gaps and enrich lives for all. Witnessing Microsoft’s commitment to inclusivity and accessibility was truly inspiring.