June 6, 2013, by brach6

Christal Seebaran wins the Vice-Chancellor’s Global Graduate prize, supported by STA Travel

Third year BioMedical Science student, Christal Seebaran, is the winner of the Vice-Chancellor’s Global Graduate Prize, supported by STA Travel. This year, the successful candidate was asked to demonstrate the ability to think critically, show exceptional maturity and independence, and demonstrate cross-cultural awareness.

The Global Graduate Prize was presented by the University Registrar, Paul Greatrix, on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor and STA Travel. The prize awarded to Christal is £500 of STA Travel vouchers to contribute towards her future plans.

In addition to her academic studies, Christal has successfully completed the Nottingham Advantage Award. She completed the Work Experience, Students’ Union Volunteering Activity, and Placements and Internships modules.

Here is what Christal had to say about winning the Global Graduate Prize:

‘I applied for the Vice Chancellor’s Global Graduate Prize because I thought that it would be the best platform to gain formal acknowledgement for my extensive volunteer work and to showcase the skills and experience that I attained. This prize would expand my CV and make me more marketable to future employers.

Volunteering abroad in Kenya and Zambia has equipped me with a better understanding and respect for different cultures. I encountered language and cultural barriers to healthcare, along with various socioeconomic and legal issues surrounding healthcare delivery. I supplemented my academic knowledge of predominantly westernized medicine, with that of common tropical and infectious diseases.

I have acquired unique, first-hand knowledge of what goes on in developing countries’ hospitals, in relation to one of the world’s most fatal illnesses, HIV/AIDS. I witnessed how this dreaded disease affected the people, both in medical and personal aspects; with issues surrounding stigmatization, lack of medication, knowledge and resources. Cultural myths and superstitions greatly determine their decisions. I now have a better understanding of the severity of this matter which has had a greater impact on me, rather than simply reading statistics from a textbook.

In addition to hospitals, I also volunteered at feeding centres, rehabilitation homes and summer camps, gaining experience in breaking cultural barriers for I had to find common grounds in the local music, dress and sports. I discovered traits such as a genuine smile and respect for one another can transcend all language and cultural boundaries. This eye-opening experience has strengthened my resolve to me volunteer with Médecins Sans Frontières upon qualification so that I can be of greater service to others. The STA travel voucher would assist me in planning my medical elective which would allow me to gain additional medical training in a foreign country.

NAA compliments the interests and activities that I am pursuing. It allows my extra activities to be recognised and validated. It also pushes me to pursue my interests and step out of my comfort zone. The skills gained will increase my employability and make me a more effective practitioner. Each module prevented me from becoming complacent; always challenging me to improve. In addition to thoroughly enjoying these experiences, I developed new attributes that I was unaware of, such as increased confidence and assertiveness. NAA made me aware of underlying goals I had for myself and propelled me to actively pursue them.’

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