Tobago teens get advice on studying abroad

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Reid Maisonneuve of Thompson Rivers University in British Columbia, Canada, talks with students about the academic options at UniFest Tobago College and University Fair 2022 at the Shaw Park Complex on Wednesday. – THA

Students interested in studying abroad were given crucial advice on Wednesday as Study Abroad Student Services (SASS) hosted UniFest Tobago College and University Fair 2022 at the Shaw Park Complex.

SASS founder and managing director Esther Jones told Newsday the organisation helps fill the information gap for students and parents.

SASS’s objective is to assist Caribbean/international students seeking to study abroad in tertiary institutions.

Jones said enrolling in the right school is pivotal to achieving one’s potential. She said, “It is very important for our students to get into the right fit, whether they are at the very early stage of their life, or they’re coming into that middle window where they said, ‘I did this degree, but I don’t really like it, let me do what I really want to get into and what I love and what I want to pursue.’”

Over 100 students registered for the fair, which was attended by representatives from Thompson Rivers University and Wilfrid Laurier University (Canadian institutions) as well as the Tobago Hospitality and Tourism Institute.

Those present got the chance to speak with representatives from these institutions to find out admission criteria and information about academic and athletic awards, bursaries and scholarships.

The students, Jones said, “are encouraged, they feel good that they have some options before them. I think they’re excited about the prospects. They’re excited about finding out more. It’s a big deal in ensuring that everybody understands what’s required of them.”

She said SASS visited Tobago in 2018 and 2019 and was able to engage the US Embassy as well as a couple of other universities and colleges.

Signal Hill Secondary’s 18-year-old Kareece Kerr welcomed the initiative, saying she was seeking a career in law.

“I am in sixth form, and I came to see what opportunities there is in choosing the right career path. Doing this exposition, I think it would give me a better opportunity as to what is available.

“This is an excellent opportunity for everyone around my age, because we never get the best opportunity, and, in this exposition, you’re able to meet people from all over. Instead of doing it online, where it can be a little confusing, you have them here face to face to interact.”

Che Douglas, 16, of Bishop’s High School, said he was uncertain of his career choice and that was why he chose to attend the fair, to gather information.

“I am considering anything in the culinary field. I came to see what exactly I can do in that regard outside of the country. I would check inside of the country, but I am also exploring my options outside as well.

“This is a great opportunity for people like me especially, who have no idea about what they want to do or what college they want to attend, so getting students to come here and find out what is available is a nice opportunity.”

One parent, Marlene Davidson, said she was representing her 11-year-old son Mathani, who since he was small had spoken about three professions. She said now she is hearing about one more – dentistry.

“We saw the advertisement, and my son, who since he was five years old knew what exactly he wanted to do, and over the years that has not changed; so when we saw the ad, we decided to do that instead of waiting until he is in secondary school to decide what he is going to do.

“At least from now we can start putting things in place, in that he would know exactly what subjects to pursue…It is going to be some exciting years ahead.”