My GLP Journey: A How To guide from our 2015 Excellence Award Winner

We are told that we are all different, yet we are taught to be exactly the same.

I started my university life as a normal student with more anxiety than motivation. In my second year, I heard about the Global Leadership Program.

I have always been driven but at this point in time, I was more academic than social so I decided to step out of my comfort zone and join GLP at the beginning of 2012.

At the very beginning I felt that it was impossible to achieve 200 points. Furthermore, I felt nervous attending the Distinguished Speaker Series and hearing from Excellence Award winners who had accomplished things that seemed impossible to a normal attendee, but it did leave me with a thought:

‘If they could, why cant I?’

I decided to start with the things I enjoyed and I got involved mentoring students for the majority of my first year in the Program. I enjoyed throwing welcome parties for new students so I also lead the SIBT Student Association.

Mentoring

Mentoring at SIBT

I also mentored high school students that were at risk of not completing high school, helping to inspire and persuade them to complete.

Not everything in life goes according to plan. In my second semester of 2012 I contracted an intestinal infection that impacted my health and academics critically. I had to quit my part time job and take a break from all my responsibilities to get efficiently diagnosed and treated.

This caused sudden chaos in my life. I lost motivation and felt like a failure. Nothing and no one made sense at this point.

At my lowest point, I made a decision to change my path. I decided to throw myself right in, to participate, to get involved in everything that caught my eye, to communicate with people and to repair my emotional state.

I started with volunteering for dementia patients at Hunters Hill Ryde Community Centre mainly because I wanted to verbalise my thoughts, communicate and revive an old hobby of mine which I had discovered as a teenager – volunteering.

Tasha and her Dementia Patient and friend.

Tasha and her Dementia patient and friend who she was paired with through the Hunters Hill Ryde Community Centre.

You don’t need a set of analytical and technical skills to volunteer, as long as you are willing, you can do it. It is so important to find something that you genuinely like and stay committed to it.

And it worked. I found my motivation and got back on the horse. It started off with volunteering and went on to do a sign language course, attend the GLP Canberra Symposium and attend various on and off campus seminars. Due to my co-curricular vitae, I scored an internship at an AMP Financial Planning firm that elevated my profile.

Tasha in Canberra on the GLP Symposium

Tasha in Canberra on the GLP Symposium

At the end of 2013 I was elected as one of the two candidates for a CEO forum Luncheon held by Women in Banking and Finance. I had the opportunity to dine with 10 executives and the only thing I talked about to all of them was about my involvement in GLP. I also found my mentor in this group.

Due to the response I received from the Luncheon cohort, I decided to push myself more towards the things I liked.

At the beginning of 2015 I participated in the Harvard National Model United Nations as an individual delegate representing Oxfam in the NGO program, held at Harvard University, Boston. I also went back during the winter break to do a short course in Applied Mathematics: Graphing Theory at the Graduate School of Arts and Applied Sciences at Harvard University.

Tasha studying at Harvard

Tasha studying at Harvard

You never know what you can achieve until you make an effort to try it. The Global Leadership Program started off as a segue for me to make up for what I thought I lacked, but the more I participated in various events, the more I realized how invaluable this program is.

Our education system is meant to produce smart graduates but we miss out on developing our soft skills, cross cultural competency, understanding of global issues or community responsibility.

I believe someone somewhere is waiting to be rescued from anxiety, the fear of not fitting in or not maintaining the perfect score. I would recommend GLP as the perfect antidote. The opportunities that I have utilized in the Global Leadership Program, in conjunction with the networks I have established, have provided me with an unparalleled view of the future and kick-started my career.

Due to my substantial involvement in the program I also won the Undergraduate Excellence Award at the Distinguished Speaker Series this year!

Tasha winning the GLP's Excellence Award at the 2015 Distinguished Speaker Series event.

Tasha winning the GLP’s Excellence Award at the 2015 Distinguished Speaker Series event.

The most important lesson that I learnt during my experience was to remain authentic and do the things that define me. You do not have to follow someone else’s path, you should make it your own.

“It will cost you nothing to dream and everything not to.”― Rodney R. White

Tasha Trivedi.

Abhilasha Trivedi is studying towards a Bachelor of Applied Finance and started the Global Leadership Program midway through 2012. She impressed GLP staff with her Excellence Award application and was one of two Excellence Awardees at our Distinguished Speaker Series event with Rachel Botsman in October.

 

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A focus on science: Tailoring your GLP experience to your studies

The Global Leadership Program is a fantastic way to experience many opportunities the world has to offer and put Macquarie students, such as myself, in environments that challenge us both personally and professionally. However, sometimes it can be difficult to tailor these opportunities to your studies as I found being a science student, particularly with a major in Human Biology. But it is certainly not impossible!

Nicholas and his fellow PACE volunteers in Vietnam

Nicholas and his fellow PACE volunteers in Vietnam.

One of the first volunteer-based projects on which I worked, was organized through PACE with a partner organisation called Know One Teach One or KOTO. KOTO is a social enterprise in Vietnam that provides hospitality training, English & life skills education to disadvantaged youth. I had a wonderful time teaching the trainees English at various levels for 4 weeks and this was the start of my passion for volunteering and overseas work. I remember coming home and thinking, “on my next trip, I want to work in a medical science or health related field”.

On my return I decided to plan for a second trip working in a medical science or health related environment. This took many hours of research and strings of emails going back and forth between various organizations and myself. I was very keen to find an opportunity in my field of study. Eventually, I came across an organisation through which I volunteered in a children’s medical centre in Chile. I worked in the radiography area of the centre and assisted with X-raying children aged from just a few months to 15 or 16 years. Despite the language barrier, the experience was great because it forced me to speak and practice Spanish with my supervisor and the children. Furthermore, I learnt to interpret X-rays, worked on some basic administrative tasks in Spanish and attempted discussions about patient’s symptoms and possible diagnoses. Even better still, my studies at Macquarie complemented the work and enabled me to put knowledge I already had into a professional environment. I also used my language study at Macquarie and at an International School in Chile as a means of preparation for the volunteer work. I was able to use the trip to claim experiential credit.

Viña del Mar in Chile

Viña del Mar in Chile

Since returning home, I have attended a 1-day conference on Infectious diseases that focused on current global eradication campaigns and the associated barriers to success, the HIV epidemic and other diseases that are particularly relevant to modern day society. The conference really put content learnt at Macquarie into perspective and showed where attention has been placed in order to alleviate the current issues in health both in Australia and globally. These conferences create great environments to network with professionals and staff in your field of study or interest. You never know who you’ll meet!

I am hoping to embark on postgraduate studies in Public Health next year as I wish to contribute to disease management and epidemiology both locally and internationally. By volunteering in Vietnam and Chile, I have developed essential communication skills and discovered how important this is when working in a cross-cultural environment. In addition, teaching English in Vietnam, even though not directly related to science has given me even greater experience of working in a team and highlighted the benefits of collaboration. Epidemiology often seems to involve large teams of people from a wide variety of disciplines and hence collaboration is an essential skill in such an environment. Furthermore, learning Spanish overseas has inspired me to continue practicing and speaking a second language here at home, which will increase the global opportunities available to me as part of my postgraduate studies and future career choice. Luckily for me, it so happens that Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world!

Nicholas managed to take time out of work and language classes to travel to the North of Chile!

Nicholas managed to take time out of work and language classes to travel to the North of Chile!

Tailoring experiential credit can often seem difficult, particularly for science students, but there are always opportunities out there. With the assistance of GLP staff and consistent research your next GLP opportunity in your chosen field may be only an email away.

*By Nicholas McNulty. Nicholas is in his final year of a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Human Biology.

Want to hear more? If you are in the Faculty of Human Sciences, Faculty of Science and Engineering or Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences come along to the Experiential Credit workshop on Monday, 26 October at 3pm to hear more tips and suggestions from Nicholas on getting the most out of your GLP experiences. For more info and to register click here.

A Sensational Summer of Sight-seeing and Seoul-searching

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”

In June this year I, along with five other lucky GLP students, arrived at Sookmyung Women’s University in Seoul, South Korea to participate in a short term exchange program. None of us quite knew what to expect, least of all me; a sheltered Chinese Australian from the suburbs, with little travel experience and a limited understanding of my host country.

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Photo by: Ruby Li

We visited memorable places, such as the famous, picturesque Gyeongbokgung Palace, the DMZ, Namsan Tower and the traditional Hanok villages. A trip to the Imjingak border village and the Dorasan Station (which would have connected both North and South Korea) located along the DMZ made me realise in a tangible way not only how deeply divided the Korean nation is, but also that there is still hope for peace and reunification. Atop the majestic Namsan Tower, some 237m above ground level, I was able to look out and see Seoul from all directions. For me this was symbolic of the dizzying heights Korea has reached in recent decades as a prosperous, highly-developed country. As far as its future development is concerned, the sky truly is the limit. The Hanok villages and Gyeongbokgung Palacein the modern heart of Seoul demonstrate the continuing relevance of history and tradition in today’s Korea, which is a country where the old exists side-by side and in harmony with the contemporary.

The cultural immersion activities were enjoyable and varied so as to give us a broad experience of Korean culture and their way of life. Learning Hangul (the Korean language) in just 3 weeks was not only one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do but also one of the most rewarding. I was fortunate to have been taught by such a wonderful, patient and passionate teacher who made learning the language fun and I also enjoyed the support and friendship of fellow class-mates.

Photo by: Betty Han

Photo by: Betty Han

We also tried on Korean traditional dress, watched a Nanta stage show performance, tried our best (but failed horribly) to learn K-pop dance moves and learnt to cook delicious Korean food. No prizes for guessing which of these activities was my favourite!

Photo by: Betty Han

Photo by: Betty Han

It is also worth mentioning how welcoming the people at Sookmyung were. We were each assigned a student “buddy” and their warmth and hospitality was evident from day one. They were only too willing to spend time with us on day trips and night activities and provide us with recommendations on where to eat, go shopping and what to do in Seoul. I had a lot of fun eating sannakji (squirming octopus), taking a leisurely night-time cruise as well as karaoke with the buddies.

Photo by: Emily Park

Photo by: Betty Han

Photo by: Sookmyung Buddy Group

Photo by: Sookmyung Buddy Group

I never imagined that I would be so taken with another culture, or that such a short trip could have had such a profound impact on me. Prior to my departure I did not like kimchi or K-pop but upon my return I can’t get enough of both! I have also committed myself to continuing to learn Hangul as a hobby. I have developed a love of Korean culture, which I now know is capable of winning hearts and minds across the globe. I say this as I write this blog while nursing a hot cup of Korean green plum tea.

Photo by: Sookmyung Buddy Group

Photo by: Sookmyung Buddy Group

I’ve also come away from this trip understanding myself better too. My time in Korea has helped bring out the best in me. Through exposure to the unfamiliar and interactions with others, I’ve demonstrated a real enthusiasm for learning and having authentic experiences, a love of wit and humour and an ability to connect with people, which I had previously underestimated in myself. As a result I’ve been able to create meaningful and (I hope) lasting relationships with people from different cultural backgrounds.

The Sookmyung Summer School Program will undoubtedly be the highlight of my 5 years as a University student and it’s been truly fantastic experiencing the unique, vibrant and dynamic culture and making so many friends along the way. I definitely hope to visit again in the future!

*By Tony Zhang. Tony is in his 5th and final year of a Bachelor of Social Science / Bachelor of Laws.

*The Sookmyung Beyond Borders Program at the Sookmyung Women’s University (SWU) takes place in both Summer and Winter breaks. It provides an opportunity for students to learn about Korean society through intensive academic courses, historical tours and cultural activities. Applications for the Winter program are currently open and close on Monday 26th October.

*The GLP will let students know via email and Facebook in when applications are open for future programs.

Collaborative Consumption’s Potential for the Big Issues

Here we are at our fifth and final blog in the lead up to our Distinguished Speaker Series event next Wednesday October 7.

After everything we’ve looked at regarding the collaborative economy we found ourselves asking; what about the big, systemic global issues we look at in the GLP? What potential does Collaborative Consumption have to address these?

The global refugee crisis has been on everyone’s lips of late and the plight of asylum seekers is one of the key contemporary, global issues GLP attempts to shine a critical and engaging light on. We already know that Germany has been setting a compassionate example for the world’s developed nations with their recent open-arms approach to refugees, but have you heard about the German group which “matchmakes citizens willing to share their homes with refugees”?

airbnb germany

Jonas Kakoschke (right) and Bakary Conan chat at Kakoschke’s flat in Berlin. Kakoschke gave shelter to Conan with his initiative Refugees Welcome, which has now placed 26 refugees in private homes. Photograph: Olga Syrova/AP.

The Refugees Welcome web platform based in Berlin has over 780 Germans signed up and offering accommodation to refugees arriving in Germany from all over the world. The Guardian article ‘Airbnb for refugees’ group overwhelmed by offers of help’  said that among those who have responded to the German site have been “PR consultants, carpenters and many students, spanning a large age range from 21 to 65. Most are people living in flatshares, the group said, but offers have also come from married couples and single mothers.” In other words, people from all social strata and age groups.

mine yours ours

Our speaker, Rachel Botsman has observed how the collaborative economy and sharing through technology has empowered people in ways that were previously inconceivable:  “… my core driver is how [collaborative consumption] empowers people. It empowers people to tap into skills and talent that they have – but haven’t found opportunities to make money from before. It empowers people to be in control of their jobs and their lives. It empowers people to make new kinds of connections that are often quite tricky to make.”

One of the many benefits of the sharing economy has been the way it’s utilised technology to harness untapped value or ‘idling capacity’ to address social needs. Microfinance organisations such as Kiva are a great example of this; using technology to connect average individuals in the developed world who have access to small amounts of disposable income with entrepreneurs in developing nations who have the skills and ideas for income generation and socially beneficial practices in their communities, but do not have access to the financial support that entrepreneurs in the developed world might have because they are financially excluded, or not considered ‘credit-worthy’.

Rachel Botsman Quote.

April Rinne’s article in the Huffington Post looked at ‘What Collaborative Consumption and the Sharing Economy Can Learn From Microfinance’ and teased out the key similarities across these two contemporary, disruptive innovations which can (and have) made significant contributions to affecting systemic poverty and disenfranchisement. Some of the touch points included Empowerment; Trust, Reputation and Social Collateral; and The Importance of an Effective Enabling Environment – all of which we have covered previously in our blogs on the sharing economy.

Both centre around the empowerment of individuals, the creation of a new type of social fabric made possible by technological innovation and both require people to first ask themselves the question; how can I trust strangers? – and then rationalise that most risks are simply perceived as opposed to fact, and are on-par with other daily decisions we make to trust strangers, such as the barista making your coffee or the bus driver who takes your kids to school.

We imagine enormous potential for the collaborative economy to address some of our greatest systemic issues, even if in the smallest and most local of ways, and we hope Rachel Botsman can give us a sneak peek into how she sees that already evolving.

Rachel Botsman Cartoon courtesy of Gavin Blake form the Wired for Wonder event.

Rachel Botsman Cartoon courtesy of Gavin Blake from the Wired for Wonder event.

But don’t just trust this cartoon, despite how cleverly it’s mapped Rachel’s system of ‘trust between strangers’. Because our keynote speaker will be addressing us all live in less than a week and she’ll be sharing insights with us that you won’t get from Google. We’ll hear insights from her personal journey and how she came to be an expert in the collaborative economy. We’ll get to hear how she’s seen the movement evolve, and where she thinks it’s headed. She will give us a behind-the-scenes snap shot of the start-ups and collaborative models we’ve been discussing with a particular emphasis on the people and the entrepreneurs behind them, and she will discuss the specific challenges for new forms of leadership in this space – leaving us with a picture of the key principles she has witnessed these successful leaders use, and share between them, and the way “they see the world” that other leaders don’t. Don’t miss out!

Chloë Spackman, GLP Manager

Previously, on the GLP Blog…….

Make sure you’ve marked the evening of Wednesday October 7th in your diary so you do not miss GLP’s 2015 Distinguished Speaker, Rachel Botsman, inspire you with her vision for Collaborative Consumption. Not only is the event compulsory, but it will be of great benefit to your development as a Global Leader. You have been automatically enrolled in this event on Thrive. Please refer to your emails for further information as sent out by GLP staff.