A working vacation in Vietnam
While many look forward to time off and travel during summer, Melissa Melo is looking back on a working vacation she took this spring.
She went to Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, to volunteer with North Thang Long Economic-Technical College through Leave for Change, a program run by Uniterra, a partnership of World University Service of Canada (WUSC) and the Centre for International Studies and Cooperation (CECI).
“The chance to share the knowledge and skills I've gathered during my time at University of Guelph-Humber was extremely rewarding,” said the Manager, Recruitment.
With the support of Uniterra and their sponsoring employers, participants like Melo donate their vacation time and expertise to organizations in developing countries.
North Thang Long Economic-Technical College originally drew students from among working professionals in local industries.
Now, explained Melo, “They’re really trying to focus on high school students and realize they need to invest more in recruiting from that market.”
A photographer in her spare time, Melissa Melo's camera was always on hand. Pictured above: Melo with her hosts, scenes from the college's 10th anniversary ceremony, the Temple of Literature, a popular mode of transit in Hanoi and a mist-covered rice field.
“When I ran my student recruitment workshops, the ideas I shared about presenting to high school students and building relationships with staff at the high schools stood out for the group,” said Melo, who addressed her audience through an interpreter.
Like University of Guelph-Humber, North Thang Long Economic-Technical College is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2012. Melo was there for the official ceremonies on March 26th.
During pre-trip training and research, Melo learned that social and political change regarding post-secondary education was also taking place in the country, which only made it more interesting to her.
“[It’s] becoming more common among young people and more valued overall,” she said. “Like many things in Vietnam, such as infrastructure, the government is really putting an emphasis on education to meet development goals.”
By applying for this opportunity in Vietnam, Melo set and achieved a personal goal.
“I was really outside of my comfort zone and needed to be flexible and adapt,” she said. “That was huge for me, a person that isn't very comfortable with change!”
Read Melissa Melo's blog from Hanoi.
Humber College and University of Guelph employees working at University of Guelph-Humber are eligible to apply to Leave for Change.
Sean Flinn, Web Communications Specialist, 416-798-1331, ext. 6299, firstname.lastname@example.org