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For Nicola Valley Institute of Technology student Megan Fulcher, it’s not just graduation that 2013 has in store.
The social work student will be going to Australia to complete her practicum on Jan. 1.
“I just like to see other cultures, other peoples, other ways of being and thinking and doing,” Fulcher said.
She said going abroad for her practicum was her goal, and she had almost finished planning a trip to Guatemala when the practicum fell through.
“They needed things in Guatemala that did not fit my practicum objectives. I had about a month left before classes ended when I found this out, so I had a mini-meltdown,” she said.
With the deadline to plan her practicum approaching, Fulcher sent a mass email to her friends and contacts asking for help to set up a work placement. She also applied to places in the Kootenays that work with Indigenous youth and families — which she said is her focus with this practicum — but things were looking even more grim when the Kootenays plan also fell through.
However, those emails to her friends did net Fulcher a new opportunity: the one to do her practicum in Perth with the non-profit Communicate Inc. Fulcher said the opportunity and the organization looked like a good fit, especially when the organization’s CEO offered her free room and board. She also got a provincial scholarship to cover the cost of her flight.
“I’ve been trying to go to Australia since high school,” Fulcher said. “For it to actually work out is amazing.”
The 29-year-old said she was bitten by the travel bug early, travelling throughout Canada and some of the United States when she was growing up.
The northern Alberta native went to Cape Breton to do her Bachelor of Arts after high school, spent three months in Mexico training with the National Outdoor Leadership School, travelled to Israel and heard bomb blasts at the Syrian border, and spent last summer in Guatemala with Impact Ministries.
“I think seeing and being in different countries makes me appreciate what I have more,” Fulcher said. “The opportunity to travel has always been there, and it’s been a priority, so I’ve made it happen more than other people may have.”
Fulcher expects her practicum to end mid-April, although her flight back to Canada isn’t until May 14 — two days before her NVIT graduation. That will give her two more weeks to explore Perth and two to explore Sydney.
As for her plans after graduation, Fulcher said she is open to working abroad or back in her homeland.
“There’s so much learning to be had,” she said. “I think I’ll end up exactly where I need to be.”