Learning the ropes abroad

Daniel MacEachern
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Students excited for opportunities available on trade mission to Asia

Samantha Phelan and Tyler Power are heading to Indonesia and Malaysia in August as part of the Junior Team Canada trade mission. Photo by Daniel MacEachern/The Telegram

For Samantha Phelan and Tyler Power a trade mission to Indonesia and Malaysia is too good an opportunity to pass up.

The two Memorial University students are making the trip this August - after being selected from hundreds of applicants - with Junior Team Canada, where they will meet with business leaders and government officials to explore markets and build business relationships for themselves and the companies sponsoring their trip.

"It's just the experience in general to see the world, have hands-on experience. There's only so much you can learn in school," said Power, 19, of Tors Cove, who just completed his second year of the bachelor of commerce co-op program. "They say that 25 per cent of it is what you learn in school and 75 per cent is on the ground."

To be eligible for the trip, the students each have to raise $5,500 in sponsorships from Canadian companies to help fund the excursion. In return, the businesses get their interests represented on the trade mission.

"We've been both trying to get into the community and approach local businesses, local companies, who would have a desire to see and learn more about international markets," said Phelan of Mount Pearl.

"Or perhaps they're already in international markets, but they want to maintain relationships that they currently have over there, or they want us to meet with some contacts that they may have met before, and kind of want to get things moving or put some pitches out there to them. It's basically just sparking innovation and trade. We want foreign investors to invest in Canada and more particularly in our province."

Phelan, 21, is going into the fifth year of her bachelor of commerce co-op program, and is focusing on marketing.

"This is really an opportunity for me to have hands-on experience of how you're going to market ... ourselves and what our brand is as individuals trying to represent a province or a city or community," she said.

"You really don't get that experience in school. You learn it, but this is actually applying it and putting yourself out there. Being fearless, being able to prep yourself to go up to these CEOs and government officials and introduce yourself as a young professional - not as a student, but as a somebody who wants to be taken seriously and say, 'Hi, I'm here. I'm representing this company. I'd like to sit and talk to you about the opportunities or just inform you about what this company in my hometown is doing."

Phelan and Power leave Aug. 4 and will be gone for about two weeks.

dmaceachern@thetelegram.com Twitter: TelegramDaniel


Geographic location: Asia, Indonesia, Malaysia Tors Cove Mount Pearl Canada

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