ICAS Foundation: A life changing experience

By Marc Treanor

13 June 2019

ICAS Foundation student Marc Treanor talks about a life-changing experience in Mauritius which has broadened his horizons and developed his leadership skills

I would not have believed that a conversation with a friend while out shopping could have resulted in an amazing trip to Mauritius. We were talking about our plans when she mentioned an exciting opportunity being offered by Glasgow Caledonian University to students who are care experienced like myself. Initially I was sceptical; however, after doing my research and establishing that I met the entry requirements, I decided to apply.

The opportunity was an eight-day trip to the African Leadership College  (ALC) in Mauritius. I was delighted when I heard I had passed the initial stage of the application process and was invited for interview, and even more so to learn that I was one of just six students selected.

Previously, my travel experience had been limited. While I am grateful for the opportunities I have been given, I had never been outside the UK and the Republic of Ireland. On arrival in Mauritius we had an hour or so to drive across the country and I was struck by the immense beauty of the island. The vast mountains with bright green wildlife blended in with the Indian-influenced culture, highlighted in the architecture and beautiful Hindu temples, statues and monuments.

We were made to feel very welcome by the staff and students at the ALC campus, who were very sociable with our group. Over the course of the trip I felt the sense of community and social cohesion on the campus where many of the students empowered and supported each other. I participated in a broad range of classes from statistics to African studies which was a great learning experience.

Students were enthused and actively engaged in their learning and I believe this engagement and sense of community is developed from the inclusive learning environment within this small institution. This, for me, was reminiscent of my own experiences as an ICAS Foundation student. It is this inclusivity that helps encourage people who would otherwise not have these opportunities to engage in learning and follow a career in something they are passionate about.

This experience has impacted me deeply by highlighting the fact that opportunities can come to us from areas we might not expect. The students at the ALC gave me a fresh sense of motivation to make the most of the opportunities given to me, and I was inspired by their determination. I look forward to building on this experience during my degree and future career.

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