University of Victoria student gains intercultural experience through co-op with SEAMEO

Oct 15, 2019    Source: Chelsea Dibble

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Sam Hudson had already completed two co-op work terms during his Master’s degree at the University of Victoria (UVic) when he decided to sign up for one more. “I thought a co-op with an organization in Vietnam, this could be an amazing experience,” says Sam.

Through the Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarships program, Sam travelled to Ho Chi Minh City for a four-month co-op with the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization Regional Training Centre (SEAMEO RETRAC). “It was the most beautiful experience. Vietnam is such a remarkable country,” says Sam.

Sam’s co-op involved writing grant applications on behalf of SEAMEO including one for the US State Department, an application that the organization won.

“The biggest pay off of my co-op was the cultural experience,” says Sam. “I met a really great colleague at SEAMEO who became a friend and took me under his wing. We would go for lunches, I met his family, and he even took me fishing.”

UVic’s relationship with SEAMEO started in 2016 when university president Jamie Cassels was the keynote speaker at a BCCIE and SEAMEO joint conference in Ho Chi Minh City. From there, a partnership was established.

“It’s important our international agreements include an opportunity for cooperative education,” says Carolyn Russell, director of Global Engagement at UVic. “SEAMEO was excited to have our students complete work terms with them that contributed to the goals of the organization.”

In addition to Sam, another UVic student was involved in administrative initiatives including running workshops around teacher education and training.

“SEAMEO was pleased with the initial co-op placements and are looking forward to hosting more UVic students,” says Carolyn. “Our partnership with them has allowed us to have a local connection in Vietnam that has opened doors to expand partnerships with local organizations and institutions.”