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Student Joins Junior Team Canada Trade Mission

Nabeela Barday

Some students spend Reading Week cramming for exams while others head to sunny beaches in Florida.

But for Nabeela Barday, a third-year management co-op student from U of T at Scarborough, the break meant a whirlwind week of meetings with organizations who are sponsoring her as one of the members of the Junior Team Canada trade mission that left for southeast Asia Feb. 24, 2005.

During the 16-day trip, Barday, 20, traveled to Singapore and Malaysia with 15 other students from universities across Canada in order to meet with industry leaders and find ways to cultivate business opportunities for the companies and organizations that are sponsoring them.

Barday was selected by representatives from the government-run program in January after applying for the position at a two-day information session held at U of T. The program, run by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, is designed to provide students interested in international business and affairs with practical experience in the global marketplace -– a natural fit for Barday.

“Since my interest is in international business, it’s a great opportunity for me to network with all sorts of really cool people,�? she says. “It’s a great opportunity to get to know people within your city and your country to get that hands-on exposure to further your field.�?

Each student was required to raise $4,000 from companies to cover their transportation and accommodation costs and met with industry leaders in Malaysia and Singapore to forge new partnerships for their sponsors. Additional costs were covered by Foreign Affairs Canada and the Canadian International Development Agency.

Barday raised funds from several sponsors at U of T, the Markham Board of Trade and the York Region District School Board. After the trip, Barday completed a marketing report for her sponsors. The student recruitment office at U of T, for example, is particularly interested in finding out what international high school students are looking for when they choose a university while the alumni association is looking for feedback from graduates now living in southeast Asia.

Besides being able to network with other students and businesses, Barday feels the trip helped her mature on a personal level. “I think it just opens your eyes to everything that is happening in the globe … particularly with the tsunami disaster and being so close to that region,�? she says. “Being in Canada, that’s great, but there are other things happening around the world that you need to know about.�?

© University of Toronto Scarborough