Aston students help quake victims smile again

Placement students
L-R: Carolina Salinas, International Placement Officer at Aston Business School, Emma Saint-Genies, Priya Mattu, Rufus Henneken and Samuel Dorie Bates

18th June, 2010

Four undergraduates from Aston Business School, currently on placement in Chile, have been extolled by their mentors for going the extra mile to help bring back smiles and wipe the tears of victims of the recent Chilean earthquake.

The students – Samuel Dorie Bates, Priya Mattu, Emma Saint-Genies and Rufus Henneken – who are studying International Business and Modern Languages (IBML) with Spanish are on a year-long internship at accountancy firm PriceWaterhouse Coopers in Chile.

The students were among several volunteers who had signed up to help as part of an opportunity provided to PwC Chile employees by a local charity, Un Techo para Chile, in collaboration with Amnesty International Chile. Their work involved providing food and building shelters for the homeless using bricks and wood and, in general, offering support, good company and a helping hand when needed.

One of the students, Samuel Bates, aged 21, who had initially felt “anxious” said at the end of his “remarkable” experience that he had felt “enthused”. Samuel, from Kingswingford, and ancestral roots in France, added: “The bond I created with the people most affected by the earthquake is something I will always remember.”  A tennis and photography enthusiast, Samuel hopes to go into international relations on completing his degree.

Another student, Emma Saint-Genies, aged 20, from France, described her experience as “enriching”. She said: “I helped support a grandmother who had lost almost everything. Yet, she was so welcoming and expressed her gratitude by cooking for us. It was truly touching.”

Multilingual Priya Mattu had this to say: “Despite the fact that the victims we helped had very little left, they still offered us all food and shelter which was very humbling.” Priya, aged 21, from Newcastle, hopes to one day work for a multinational company.

International Placement Officer, Carolina Salinas, who visited the students in Chile earlier this month, said: “It was amazing to see how all four students have progressed in such a short space of time. Their volunteering experience has enabled them to acknowledge and appreciate the ways of life and culture of people in Chile and has given them an additional perspective to their own lives. Credit is due to all four. We’re very proud of them and look forward to welcoming them back to complete their degrees.”

Chile is prone to earthquakes with the 8.8 quake in February this year affected an estimated two million people.


Notes to editor:

1.  Aston Business School is one of the most successful business schools in Europe, committed to lead and enable transformation through teaching, research and through supporting and influencing organisations and their leaders. It has one of the largest internship programmes in Europe with almost 600 undergraduates on placement each year. The School aims to contribute positively and substantially to society – regionally, nationally and internationally.

For all media enquiries contact Dhiren Katwa, press officer at Aston Business School, on 0121 204 4954 or email d.katwa1@aston.ac.uk.

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