Year abroad has UTSC student study and work in the U.K. and Kenya

Salman Khan
Supported by the Global Learning Travel Fund, Salman Khan worked as a financial analyst at the Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, for almost four months.

Tina Adamopoulos

Life as an aspiring chartered professional accountant has taken student Salman Khan around the world –– first, studying abroad in the U.K. and then right after that, to Kenya.

Khan recently made the 12,176 kilometers trip home to Toronto after working as a financial analyst at the Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, for almost four months.

His trip was supported by the Global Learning Travel Fund, which helps undergraduate students find and use global learning experiences for course credits.

“I think that it’s a good idea to go abroad because no matter what you are studying you can build and grow as a person,” says Khan, a fifth-year management and international business student.

The management and international business program gives students the opportunity to study abroad for a semester, to build an international network and a foundation through experiential learning in a cross-cultural environment. The program sends students off on one study and one work term abroad.

He first travelled to the University of Warwick in Coventry, England where he enrolled in business courses for the fall study term –– an overall university experience he says was still similar to going to school in Canada.

In Kenya, Khan was working with the hospital’s finance department, updating donations to the hospital, tracking how much money was spent and making financial reports for departments.

In his spare time, Khan went on safaris and travelled to Naivasha, a town about two hours northwest of Nairobi –– it was also a bit cooler than the temperature in the city, which he calls a relief. In the drive to the forested area, Khan saw a range of wildlife, such as elephants, giraffes and zebras.

He says a big learning curve was not just in the work itself, but adjusting to life abroad. Being mentally prepared for a new environment of a chosen country is eye-opening, but has its challenges.

“You should be ready to go financially and be mentally ready to leave,” Khan says. “I talked to other interns there about what I should expect and what day-to-day life looked like.”

While leaving for a new country is a big leap into the unknown, Khan advises to not let any of those fears discourage you.

“It’s only after you go abroad that you realize, even if it doesn’t change you, it gives you a new perspective of the world.”