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Student travels to East Asia with Christy Clark on trades missions trip

While most students were finishing up final papers and cramming for exams, one student was on a flight to China with Premier Christy Clark.



By Jess Wind (The Cascade) – Email

Print Edition: January 8, 2014

Picture with Premier - Tokyo reception

While most students were finishing up final papers and cramming for exams, one student was on a flight to China with Premier Christy Clark.

Theresa Coates, a fourth-year bachelor of business administration (BBA) student was offered the opportunity to represent UFV on Clark’s trades missions trip through East Asia after being recommended by UFV president Mark Evered.

Coates is an elected student representative on the UFV board of governors and has previously sat on Senate and many of UFV’s sub-committees. She discovered she would be heading to China, South Korea, and Japan after being introduced to the Premier at an October event.

With roughly 150 industry professionals involved in the liquified natural gas (LNG) project from BC, Coates travelled from Beijing to Seoul and then on to Tokyo, meeting with local industry professionals along the way.

“By far Beijing was the busiest. At one event there had to be over 500 people present,” she notes.

In each city, the group had different events to attend and different people to meet. Coates describes the Canadian Embassy meetings as rewarding.

“I found the Canadian Embassy meetings the most interesting because they gave an overview of the country we were in at the time and each sector we represented. It was incredibly informative,” she says.

Clark was in private meetings for much of the trip, but Coates was able to chat with her some at the large events, describing her as “personable and very smart.”

However, Coates explains that she met many other people involved in the project — everything from top BC trades representatives to TV producers and accountants — some of which she didn’t expect to have anything to do with LNG.

“Sometimes there would be an organization represented that wouldn’t be something that would immediately jump to mind as an obvious choice for a Trade Missions trip,” she says. “It showed that there will always be the easily identifiable choices. Kind of like being a kid and saying you’re going to be a lawyer, doctor, or teacher — it’s easy to see those as choices but there are so many more out there.”

Overall, Coates describes the trip as a huge learning opportunity, noting the value of bilingualism when it comes to business dealing overseas. The trip provided new experience to take with her into the future as she gears up to graduate and put her BBA to use.

“I really enjoyed meeting everyone and learning so much about the LNG project,” she says. “As a business student it was interesting to see so many different sectors all come together in one large event and experience firsthand how each interact with one another.”

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