Dominique Alexander - Gateway Bursary
Dominique, a student in the School of Chemical Engineering, used the Gateway Bursary towards working as a GIVE Volunteers in Thailand & Laos.
What did you do?
In Thailand I was involved in working on permaculture sites, where I helped with agricultural projects. And in Laos I worked on construction sites, this included packing water bottles with sand, which were used as bricks to build dormitories for local English teachers to live in throughout the year.
I also worked on wildlife conservation projects. In Thailand I was involved in the Elephant Reintroduction programme where I helped feed, bathe and carry out health checks for the Asian Elephants who are currently endangered. In Laos, I was part of the Free the Bears charity and worked on building sanctuaries for the endangered black bears.
What did you learn?
From this experience I improved my communication skills. I was faced with the challenge of teaching English to foreign students, which forced me be patient and open-minded, and find techniques to overcome the language barriers.
From working in schools and amongst the locals, it taught me to be open to learning about other cultures. This has led me to become more open minded to travelling abroad with a purpose and has driven me to use my engineering degree to pursue a career path in sustainable development, where I can have an impact in less privileged parts of the world.
College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, School of Chemical Engineering
“This experience has stimulated my desire to start my own organisation in the future, particularly to work on sustainable development and education projects in the Caribbean...One of the most valuable lessons I learned during this experience is the importance of being a global citizen.”