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Langara student volunteers share experiences abroad

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Six Langara students spent their summer volunteering overseas as part of the C.A.R.E Langara Volunteer Travel Abroad Program.

During an Oct. 2 presentation for the program, several students spoke of their experiences abroad.

Teaching English in Nepal was enriching for Leilani Reum.

“Everyone was in harmony, ” said Reum of the students she taught.

Leilani Reum with Samikshya, the daughter belonging to Reum’s host family. Samikshya told Reum they were “sisters for life.”

Muslims, Hindus and Christians gathered in one place to learn, which Reum said, “really opened my eyes to acceptance.”

Enormously rewarding

Christina Theocharis volunteered in Kenya as a general assistant for a hospital, which she said was an “enormously rewarding experience.”

The nursing student initially volunteered for a nutrition program at the hospital, but realized that nutrition was not a priority.

She also participated in three volunteer programs, including a local NGO that fed, clothed and provided glasses for over 300 orphans.

“It truly changed my life,” said Theocharis. “The moment I finish my nursing degree I will be back and it will be a permanent move.”

Kathleen Parker also volunteered in Kenya. Working for a school and with former child soldiers, Parker says she took more away from the experience than she was able to give.

“I thought I would be pitying them. I found the opposite to be true, ” said Parker. “They were all so happy all the time, it was impossible not to be happy when you were with them.”

Call of the wild

Across the ocean, Kathleen Higgins rescued wildlife in Costa Rica. She took care of animals, before releasing them back into the wild.

“It was rewarding to see [the animals] grow up,” said Higgins.

The experience provided her the “inspiration and spark” for her plans to study zoology at UBC.

The C.A.R.E. Langara Volunteer Abroad Travel Award is a pilot project for students who are volunteering in developing nations. As a partner program between Langara and the Vancouver-based C.A.R.E. society, it pays for flights of volunteers.

Students interested in the C.A.R.E program can contact Megan Richardson, the program coordinator of VOLT at mrichardson@langara.bc.ca

Reported by Judy Chern

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