Meahgan Sweet's Trade Mission to Indonesia and Malaysia
Release Date : September 21, 2011
From August 3 – 19, third year marketing major Meahgan Sweet was one of three young professionals representing Saskatchewan on Junior Team Canada’s International Trade Mission to Indonesia and Malaysia.
In addition to sponsorship from the Hanlon Centre for International Business Studies, Sweet had to find various Canadian companies to sponsor her. “We would partner with those companies and try to develop opportunities overseas for them,” she explained. “We were kind of like the middle men, formulating trade relationships for Canadian companies.”
Sweet said she was able to get contact information for trade officers while meeting with the Embassy of Canada in Indonesia and the Canadian High Commission in Malaysia. Upon her return, she passed this information on to local companies like Genki Bar.
One of the highlights for Sweet was touring Indofood, the largest producer of noodles in Indonesia. “I grew up on a farm and that’s our wheat being shipped over to those countries and feeding those people,” she said. “Seeing our Saskatchewan product transformed into food that is the staple of Indonesia gave me an overwhelming feeling of pride.”
Sweet said she also enjoyed the interactive meetings, such as the one at Manulife Financial. “We used a marketing technique to try get more brand representation in the country. It was sort of like something we would do in a marketing class but we were doing it for a country,” she explained. “It was cool.”
On her first day in either country, Sweet participated in an activity much like the Amazing Race. “That was our opportunity to see the country,” she said. “They were fun and had us all over the city. We took local transportation and got to jet around on our own.”
Her traveling adventures, including visiting the World Bank, a local orphanage and Malaysia’s Batu Caves, helped solidify friendships with the other members of Junior Team Canada. “I made some great friends,” she said. “I’m going back to Ottawa this weekend to visit them.”
Sweet said the experience also inspired her to do more when she returned to Canada. “This has kind of given me the opportunity to realize we can do things within Canada. We have opportunities available to us.”
She plans to get more involved with the Hanlon Centre during this academic year. “Nick [Kokkastamapoulos] asked me to volunteer with them and I’d like to do that,” she said. Given her recent travel experience, one of the Hanlon Centre programs she’ll likely get involved with is the upcoming pilot Saskatchewan International Trade Officer (SITO) Program. The program will consist of training in various aspects of international business and will give students practice in a trade assistant role, similar to what functions might be expected of junior diplomat officers within Canadian government’s Department of Foreign Affairs & International Trade.
Sweet said she’ll also look to the Hanlon Centre to provide guidance on further international travel. “I’d like to do a term abroad, so we’re going to talk about that.”