Alumni Spotlight: Dominique Saab

Dominique is student at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo, BC, Canada. She is majoring in Global Studies and minoring in Political Studies, with plans to pursue a career in community development, humanitarian aid, and international education.

Mixing paint for the kids at Baan Nokkamin while they painted their murals

Why did you decide to volunteer abroad with Art Relief International in Thailand?

Dominique: I decided to volunteer abroad as part of an internship opportunity that Vancouver Island University offers to its Global Studies majors. As for why ARI in particular, I attended an internship soiree in which a previous GLST intern from VIU presented her experiences with ARI. Being a Global Studies major, a hip hop instructor, and enjoying art and photography as hobbies, I quickly concluded that this was a great organization for me to volunteer with.

What made this experience unique and special?

Dominique: I think the thing that makes any experience unique and special are the people involved. I had the privilege of working with a group of incredible volunteers from around the world and experience constant support from the CCT and ARI staff. I can say I made some life-long friends during my experience! Aside from those I worked with, the groups we did workshops with were so positive and inspiring! The number of smiles and laughs shared during this experience are, in my opinion, the most special moments.

How has this experience impacted your future?

Dominique: This experience has not only fulfilled internship credits for my academic program, it has shown me that I am headed in the right path professionally and it taught me a lot about myself on a personal level. I hope to continue working with NGOs in the future on the same community-based level that I experienced with ARI.

A workshop Dominique led at Wat Ku Kam teaching colour theory

What was the highlight of your experience?

Dominique: The highlight of my experience with ARI was working with all the community groups and getting to know community members as individuals; getting to see them smile and share stories with them while we all expressed ourselves through the universal language of art.

What is one piece of advice you would offer someone considering volunteering abroad in Thailand ?

Dominique: The one piece of advice I would offer is to arrive with a willingness to learn and share. This experience went by much too quickly and I left wishing I could stay, so to all new volunteers, I would say try to enjoy all the positives about the experience and not get caught up in the little bumps that might come up along the way. Make it YOUR adventure!