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#159: Katherine Lam – Encourage students to travel and reward them for doing so

I recently graduated from UBC as of May 2012 and I had the fortune of doing an internship in Davao City, Philippines during the summer of 2012. I volunteered for a community health development project where I was immersed in a low income ‘barangay’ (village) and organized a medical mission, family planning events, and feeding programs to address some of the most pertinent issues raised by the community. I had the opportunity to collaborate with 11 other international students through AIESEC, as well as local health workers, community leaders, city counselors and the mayor. My experience serving the global community was both eye-opening and life changing.

What I’m doing now

I just finished my interviews for medical school in 2013 and am awaiting acceptance! I am currently looking for a temporary job and enjoying time with my family and friends since coming back home.

My recommendations for employers, career centres and schools

I definitely recommend schools and career centres to encourage students to travel abroad, for internship or for volunteering. My global experience led me to become more mature and more understanding of people from diverse cultural backgrounds. After my volunteer placement in Davao, I went off to backpack through South East Asia and that experience in itself was mind-blowing and so fulfilling. Our world is vast and beautiful – I encourage all students to become travelers (not tourists!) to experience this for themselves.

My (biased) advice for employers: give special attention to students with travel experience during your recruitment. Students who have travelled have overcome many challenges and barriers in an unfamiliar environment that have enabled them to become quick thinkers, efficient problem solvers and effective communicators.

My advice for students and recent grads

Again, travel abroad!

Here’s a quote from chef Anthony Bourdain: “If you’re 22, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel – as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them – wherever you go.”

This #StudentVoice belongs to:

Katherine Lam
Graduate
Bachelor of Science
University of British Columbia

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