Convocation Profile: A chat with Karen Lui

Born in Hong Kong and raised in Calgary, Bachelor of Kinesiology graduate Karen Lui came to Edmonton in 2015 to pursue her degree at the University of Alberta. With the desire to experience university while living independently, Karen’s student journey has taken her from Edmonton to Norway and back again, all the while providing her with opportunities that have helped shape the person she is today.

Why did you choose the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport and Recreation (KSR)?

Like many KSR students, I came in with the end goal of applying to a Physiotherapy program! This goal has changed over the years, but my passion for helping others in through exercise and rehabilitation has stayed the same.

What were some of the greatest challenges you faced as a student and how did you overcome these challenges?

I think the years spent in university are some of the most transitional, where you re-evaluate your identity and where you belong in the world around you. My biggest challenge was finding where I fit in and what my “thing” was, but I don't think I ever found a single consistent group to settle into. However, now I consider this one of my greatest strengths—having many interests and the ability to create relationships in different areas.

What prompted you to participate in the exchange program and spend a semester studying in Norway?

As soon as I was about to graduate high school I was considering studying abroad. I even thought about doing my entire degree overseas! So from day one I was itching to go somewhere, and studying at the Norwegian School of Sport Science during my third year was the perfect opportunity. 

How did your study abroad experience influence you as a student and a person?

It’s difficult to sum up the many impacts of that experience, I feel that there are so many obvious and many subtle changes I don’t even realize! Through creating new relationships and travelling to different countries, I learned to connect to cultures outside my own, to be independent and resourceful, and to be open to different experiences and educational styles. I would highly recommend this to all students!

Where did you do your practicum and what did your role entail?

I completed my practicum at the ReYu Paralysis Recovery Centre as an Assistant Neuro Exercise Specialist, and it was an amazing experience! I learned tons about neurorecovery and activity based training, and worked with the most wonderful team and clients. This experience sparked a passion for the neurorecovery field and I am looking forward to learning more and helping the community.

As you get ready to convocate, what career plans do you have for the future?

As we all know, the future is very uncertain right now, it definitely is a unique experience to convocate at this time and I know, just like my peers, there are many feelings of anxiety and confusion. I am still working as a CSEP Certified Personal Trainer, and plan to continue until I return to school for a Masters in Occupational Therapy! I also hope to dive deeper into the field of Neurorecovery and am looking for opportunities to do so. 

What are you most proud of in your journey as a University of Alberta/KSR student?

As a KSR student at the University of Alberta, I am most proud of finding communities that I really cared about, participating and giving back to them. I was not just a student, but a supportive peer, a friend, a climber, a powerlifter, a volunteer, a campus recreation employee, and a club sports executive. I am so grateful for the people in these communities and their support, I would not be anywhere close to where I am today without them!