It is painful to grasp the fact that I have a mere eight weeks remaining on what has been one of the greatest experiences of my life… Although it sounds cliché, my semester abroad at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada has gifted me more lifelong friendships, experiences, stories, memories and knowledge than I could have ever imagined.
I recently had the privilege of being selected as a Global Voices Scholar and Australian Delegate to the 2018 Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Forum in Paris, France.
To sum up my experience in a nutshell, it was insightful, engaging and inspiring. On top of leaving this OECD experience with unique exposure to areas such as foreign policy, international affairs, global trade and economics, I left learning more about myself and the kind of life I wish to create.
Have you ever gone from being metres away from red-hot steel barreling down a production line one day…
…to touring the inside of a world-leading vehicle manufacturer’s factory the next?
Neither had I.
For two weeks, myself and five other QUT students had the chance to gain inside knowledge of the Australia-Japan relationship as participants in the Mitsui Immersion Program: a program facilitated by Japanese multinational Mitsui & Co. under the Australian Government’s New Colombo Plan. The program aims to strengthen people-to-people links by providing Australian students with business and cultural insights into one of our closest regional partners.
The 9th UN University Scholars Leadership Symposium (USLS) took place at the Office of the United Nations in Bangkok, Thailand, from 1 to 7 August 2018. The theme “Inspiring Confidence, Inspiring Change” drew 1,057 delegates from 87 countries, and I was one of them. In May, I decided to apply for the QUT Business School Sponsorship to attend the event. I am studying a Master of Business majoring in International Business and hold a Bachelor of International Relations. I have long used reports by the United Nations and related institutions for university projects, news writing and market research work, but I wanted to learn more about the day-to-day activities of the UN that aim to stimulate economic development, respect for human rights and preservation of the environment. It is not often that we get to say that our expectations were exceeded, but in my case, the USLS gave me more than I could have asked for.
Does going on exchange and living in the Indo-Pacific for up to 19 months sound incredible to you? How about completing an international internship whilst abroad, or studying a new language full-time? How about doing it all, without financial burden? If you said yes to all the above questions and are interested in the Indo-Pacific and gaining invaluable international experience to kick-start your future, then maybe you should be considering a New Colombo Plan Scholarship.
How good does 101 cities, 31 countries, and one degree, in one year sound? That is what I managed to experience from my overseas exchange as part of the BS08 program. I was part of the first group to study a new degree, Bachelor of Business – International, which allows me to obtain a full Accounting degree from QUT, whilst having the added benefit of also obtaining a Business and Management degree from the triple-accredited Aston University, located in Birmingham, UK.
In the last few days of 2017, I embarked on what would be the experience of a lifetime. After saying goodbye with mixed emotions and spending over 24 hours travelling, I finally arrived in the city that would become my home for the next 6 months – Rotterdam. The first thing you notice when you step off a plane on the other side of the world is that the weather is the complete opposite. No matter how prepared I thought I was, coming from 35C summer days in Brisbane to a Dutch winter which hovers just above the 0C mark was a shock. Fortunately, this weather did not last the entire six months, and seeing the temperature gradually warm into a Dutch summer was something special.
I recently had the privilege of completing an incredible development program called Venturer Mission III. The mission unfolded in the picturesque landscapes of Queenstown New Zealand and saw participants hiking wilderness trails, climbing mountains, pack rafting river rapids, and swimming in freezing glacial lakes. To say the least, this was a once in a lifetime adventure!
I remember how I felt when my flight landed in Australia for the first time. It was actually a feeling of numbness, where I did not know what to expect. Neither a feeling of excitement nor anxiety but a feeling of nothingness. To be honest, I was very overconfident to feel that I will settle in easily and quicker than other students. But I was completely wrong. I don’t mention it to freak everyone, but it happens and we need to prepare ourselves to deal with that kind of emotion. How do we prepare ourselves for a ‘culture shock’? We have to embrace it and work on it. I know! It’s easier said than done. When I went through it, I didn’t even realize that it was a culture shock. I saw it as being moody, as we all are I am sure, however, it wasn’t the case really.
I don’t even know where to start with my time at A&M but to summarise it in one phrase, I’ve had the best year of my life. Its hard to believe that almost nine months ago I boarded my flight to LAX; to say time has flown by is an understatement. I joined two organisations, which was probably one of the best decisions I made and I wouldn’t have half the time I had if I wasn’t apart of them. International Business Association allowed me to meet other exchange students in the Mays Business School, which was really helpful at the start when I first arrived because I had other people to relate to. I also joined a sophomore leadership organisation called Slide and we had a strong presence on campus promoting sexual assault awareness and mental health.