Attending a small B.C. could help land you the “Best Job in the World” — as Greg Snell can attest.
Snell beat out over 330,000 candidates from around the world in December 2013 to win a six-month gig in Australia as a wildlife caretaker. The highly viral campaign by Tourism Australia is designed to show off the country.
Snell credits his education at the College of The Rockies (COTR) in southeastern B.C. for his success.
"I was a very good fit for the job," Snell told The Huffington Post B.C. in an email. "My education at COTR taught me about things I was interested in, sustainable tourism, cross cultural tourism, small group management, environmental stewardship, ecosystem awareness."
Snell said the Australian position was an "experience of a lifetime" though it was hard work organizing the workload while producing tourism content.
“It’s wonderful that those types of [opportunities] can happen to people who go to school in small rural B.C.," campus manager Karen Cathcart told HuffPost B.C. in an interview. "We’re a small campus here in Golden, but we’re small and we’re mighty.”
From an inaugural population of 543 students in 1975, the college’s current enrollment of 2,282 at six small campuses is relatively small. Still, the school has managed to make a name for itself.
In May, the Association of Canadian Community Colleges awarded COTR a gold prize for its innovative international strategy.
Last year, the college was ranked first overall in both Canada and the world, according to the International Student Barometer, which collected 140,000 responses from those studying abroad.
In 2007, Snell chose to attend the college in Golden, B.C. for a diploma in adventure tourism business operations because the curriculum offered what he was already doing in his free time, such as kayaking, and backpacking.
While some may be quick to scoff at a program with rock climbing and avalanche safety instructors, keep in mind the COTR isn't trying to offer a broad education. Students are drawn to focused classes that can prepare them for specific jobs like managing backcountry lodges or camps, said Cathcart.
In 2010, the school established its first degree program, the bachelor of business administration in sustainable business practices.
Snell spent a five-week practicum in Ecuador where he sharpened his knowledge in sustainable tourism, entrepreneurship, cross-cultural tourism, and Latin American culture. He also shared his knowledge with people living in that country's small coastal communities.
Snell's "best job in the world" ended in June, but his travel adventures live on through his website, "Greg Goes Global."
"My greatest adventure has been maintaining this unlikely lifestyle. I travel for a living and am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to continue doing so year after year," he says.
Check out some of Greg's global travels: