By Glauce Fleury
After Juanita Mora, it’s Nolan Kim’s turn. In the next few days, he embarks on a three-month adventure in Ecuador. An undergrad student at Simon Fraser University, Kim is about to start his co-op term with Community Evolution Foundation (CEF) through the Queen Elizabeth Scholars (QES) Program. He will support the Asociación de Turismo de Sigchos para el Mundo (Asotursigch), one of our partners. The association’s ultimate goal is to turn the region of Sigchos into a sustainable touristic destination.
“In the past, I went on a mission trip to Mexico so, when I heard about this opportunity to help develop tourism in Ecuador, I knew I wanted to do it,” says Kim. As part of the Mexican mission, he visited small villages to assist indigenous people with basic needs, such as food. His overall interactions with Latin Americans have been so positive that their culture has left a footprint on him.
Identifying himself as an adaptable person who develops a strong sense of belonging when abroad, Kim believes he’s going to build rewarding connections. “I’ve experienced how people [with different backgrounds can] function together,” he says. “This is what inspires me.” With a Korean background, Kim has lived in Mexico, Canada and New Zealand. He’s fluent in Korean and English, communicates comfortably in Spanish, and has also studied Japanese and French — in fact, French is his minor at SFU where he plans to earn a degree in criminology.
You might ask what professional goals a criminology student interested in community tourism has in mind. According to Kim, his life experiences have been key to guide him towards his desired career opportunity, which is a role with an organization that, besides sharing his values, focuses on community-based initiatives. For now, he’s directing his attention to the co-op work to help Ecuadorians promote their culture and natural resources while he gains invaluable international experience. “I know that, after I come back, I’ll be changed,” says the student. Clearly, he’s a global citizen.
Follow Kim’s journey on our Facebook page.