Kaitlin Beyler, a sophomore biomedical sciences major from Alabaster and Freshman Forum director, represented Troy University at the seventh annual University Scholars Leadership Symposium in Hanoi, Vietnam, from Aug. 1 to Aug. 7.
The conference was sponsored by the United Kingdom Humanitarian Affairs, with over 700 students in attendance and over 69 countries represented.
The students attended various lectures and networking sessions about human trafficking, leadership and other issues faced by developing countries. They also attended a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, school, where they had the chance to play with and read stories to orphans. Additionally, the students purchased and donated over 1,000 USB drives.
“The conference provided me with a more comprehensive perspective on this world,” Beyler said. “Americans need to pay attention to those issues.”
The motto of this year’s symposium was “inspiring individuals and transforming community.” Beyler hoped that she, as a member of Troy University’s SGA, could encourage students to look out for other students and the society as a whole upon her return to campus.
“I think students should get more involved in making this community a better place,” Beyler said. She also expressed that she would strive to get more international students involved in activities on campus.
Beyler said that the toughest part of attending the conference was overcoming the language barrier.
“There were guest speakers from non-English-speaking countries, so it was hard for me to catch on to all that they were saying,” she said.
Olivia Melton, a senior mathematics and economics major from Orange Beach and current SGA president, encouraged Beyler to attend the conference.
“It’s a great experience for Kaitlin because she is a young Troy student who was able to see the wide variety that Troy has to offer,” Melton said. “Our university is not merely a Troy-located campus, but it is also a global community.”
According to Beyler, her favorite part of the trip was having the opportunity to meet and spend time with two representatives from Troy University’s Vietnam campus.
“It is amazing to know that they are taking the same classes as we do but on the other side of the globe.”
Beyler hopes that the conference next year will have more hands-on experience and networking opportunities. “I wish we could have gone out to serve the community,” Beyler said.