Five Minutes with Student Ambassador James Bowers!

Hi I’m James Bowers! I study a Bachelor of Arts – Politics & International Relations, Spanish (in my final semester!) and Human Rights Law and Development.

  1. What is your worst childhood fear?

I was once terribly afraid of the dark! Now, I love the dark. Dark chocolate. Dark beer. Who’s laughing now, night-time?

  1. If you could have dinner with any figure, alive or otherwise, who would it be?

J.K. Rowling. With Adele serenading us. Can I pick two? I did anyway.

  1. What advice would you give to students who are currently completing the Global Leadership Program?

Get stuck in! For me, what I get out of the program is decided almost entirely by what I put into it. I think that personal development is just that, personal, and it’s our own drive to push ourselves outside our comfort zones that leads us to bigger and better things. Dive into other ways of thinking and don’t assume the way one society does things is necessarily right or better. Involve yourself in the world, learn another language and experience another culture, you’ll often learn more about your own in the process.

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  1. You just got back from the GLP’s International Symposium to Brazil. What was the highlight of the trip?

It was a pretty intense two weeks! It’s hard to beat standing atop Sugarloaf Mountain at dusk, with clouds forming on the cliffs underneath you as you gaze over Rio bathed in red and gold. More seriously though, walking through the favelas (unincorporated communities) that have been repeatedly failed by poor policy and bad governance, hearing their stories and witnessing the effects of a system based on who has the most friends or the most money, was an eye opening experience. It strengthened my desire to work with communities to make their voices heard in systems that profit from their remaining silent. Definitely a jarring mix!

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  1. What’s your favourite part of the program?

It is a bit of a process: taking colloquia nourished my desire to effect change, in myself and around issues, I feel passionately about. Secondly, the Foreign Affairs Series helped to highlight the skills I could develop and the tools I could use to do so in my field. Finally, the Symposia gave valuable insight into how to deploy these skills and tools to make connections with like-minded people, and gave me some of the real-world experiences that continue to drive me today. The best part of it all is that you can make your program a string of favourite experiences!

  1. What business, person or innovation has been your biggest motivator?

This one is tricky. It’s equal parts my mum, who has raised my siblings and I single-handedly, and proved the value of hard work time and time again. Also my partner, who pushes me to push myself with his work ethic and endless good counsel; and, more abstractly, the potential power hidden in mankind’s ability to organise as communities, something that has needed to be tapped throughout history to make real change.

  1. What’s the greatest piece of advice you’ve been given?

Your postcode doesn’t define you.

  1. In another life what would you have been?

A chef!

  1. Your philosophy is…

Do it right, do it well, or don’t do it at all.

  1. Would you rather have the hiccups forever, or forever have that feeling like you’re just about to sneeze?

That’s a horrific situation. Let’s say pre-sneeze. I suppose that I could learn to live with the endless anticipation.

 

Five Minutes with Student Ambassador Perri Reynolds!

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Hi everyone! My name is Perri Reynolds and I’m a third year Law/Arts student, majoring in Criminology and hoping to pursue Cyber Security research after my degree.

  1. What’s something that we don’t know about you?

I am a massive Lord of the Rings fan and have an unhealthy addiction to caffeine. People are starting to worry.

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  1. Tell us about some of your extra-curricular experiences. Any big highlights you could share?

Last year I travelled to Seoul, South Korea to attend the Sookmyung Women’s University Summer School program through the GLP.

The memories I experienced there are some of my most treasured, from the big moments – such as visiting the Gyeongbokgung Palace, standing on top of the world at Seoul Tower, zip-lining down to Nami Island – right down to the little memories that have etched onto my heart, such as eating fire chicken with tears running down my face, making kimchi, or standing on a rooftop the day before I left and thinking with perfect clarity ‘This is not goodbye.’

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These are just a few of the experiences that I have claimed for my own from participating in the GLP, and I wouldn’t trade them for the world.

  1. What advice would you give to students who are currently completing the Global Leadership Program?

Do everything, see everything, and experience everything. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself.

  1. What do you wish someone told you on your first day of University?

Make as many friends as possible. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.

Before joining the GLP, I struggled with making friends. University can be overwhelming; you really can never be prepared for just how overwhelming it can be. But at the end of the day, all you need is to find the courage to speak up, hold your head high, and make the effort to make the friendships that matter. And I promise you will not regret it.

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  1. Is there an experiential credit activity you are hoping to complete?

Hopefully a chance to study overseas for a semester!

  1. What business, person or innovation has been your biggest motivator?

My family, who have always been there for me, no matter how grumpy I am.

  1. What’s the greatest piece of advice you’ve been given?

My father: (saying goodbye as I left for my gap year abroad) ‘You’ll be fine. Remember: How do you eat an elephant? One step at a time.’

  1. What do you want to do when you grow up?

When I grow up, I want to be able to look up from my desk on a Monday morning, take a long sip from my coffee, stare off into the distance, and think, with no reservations, ‘This is it. This is all that I want from life.’

I’m not entirely sure what that entails, whether it means that I’ll be working in cyber security, research, or whether I’ll be a practising lawyer. I don’t know whether that desk will simply be my kitchen counter in a house, accompanied by a large dog with his head on my lap, or whether I’ll be surrounded by many mini-me’s as they prepare to go to school – but above all else, my main goal is that, when I grow up, I will be happy.

Oh and also save the world from the eventual robot apocalypse. That’s definitely on the list.

  1. Where would we find you in your spare time?

I would love to say here that you could find me crammed under a pile of books in the library working ferociously, being an excellent student, but, I’m going to be truthful. Netflix is a powerful spare-time sucker.

That being said, you’d most likely find me at Wally’s Walk grabbing a coffee before class, or playing squash at the gym (badly). Feel free to say hi!

  1. Would you rather live by the beach or by the snow?

Give me a hot chocolate, a nice scarf and a log fire and you’ve caught yourself one happy snow dweller 🙂

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A Time to Remember, a Time to Reflect, and a Time to Rejoice

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”

 

Robert Laurence Binyon [1869-1943] penned this famous fourth stanza in his poem, “For the Fallen”. Every year now for 100 years we, as Australians and New Zealanders, have remembered those who fell in the ANZAC campaign at Gallipoli from the first landing on 25 April 1915, and
in other theatres of war in which our nations participated.

This remembrance, the pause in time when we are silent and reflect, and rejoice in the opportunities afforded to us today and into the future, is a significant part of our cultural heritage and something we gladly share with others. Attending the GLP Canberra Symposium was an opportunity to learn of and express our own cultural heritage, as well as learning about the wonderful diversity of cultures in our world.

Canberra Symposium Delegate.jpgAs a delegate from Macquarie University on the Canberra Symposium in August 2015, I felt honoured and privileged to participate with such a diverse group of people over a four day period in a well organised and deeply significant series of events that included visits to ambassadorial representatives such as dining with the High Commissioner for Pakistan at her personal residence; visiting the United States of America Embassy; and enjoying the hospitality of the Italian Embassy. There were numerous other persons and places we met and visited too, and yes, dinner time with newfound friends, my fellow delegates, was always enjoyable, Yet the most significant activity for me was the excursion to the National War Memorial. It is here I experienced my own personal opportunity to remember, reflect and rejoice.

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Mine is an experience that has taken six decades to realise. As those who kindly listened to a small piece of my life story know, this opportunity to attend the memorial was the first time I had been to this location. I was never afforded the opportunity as a 6th grade primary school student, nor whilst in high school. As a child, I knew my grandfather’s name was inscribed here for all to see, so for myself it was an opportunity I treasured and strove for even as a mature-aged undergraduate student drafting my application for the Symposium.

 

While to some the War Memorial is a mere ‘tourist site’, it was of deep significance to me that I was finally able to visit, in my 60th year, the place where my grandfather has his name recorded on the Honour Roll. I never had the chance to meet or get to know my granddad. Visiting the memorial for me is a token of what many others have, the real life experience of having a grandfather, yet this is all I have and so I truly embrace it without complaint.

 

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Information and image supplied by staff at the Australian War Memorial

My grandfather died in 1944 whilst serving in a Field Ambulance unit as a result of illness when he was a prisoner-of-war. One key aspect I take home from this experience is the humanitarian heritage I have. I am a student of Human Sciences, and as an individual I have found in my past a personal place: a link, a key, one element that contributes to my sense of belonging, of being, and most importantly, of my becoming. Becoming to me is a lifelong journey and in my travels a story unfolds. We all have our own unique and personal stories. As humans our stories intersect and run parallel to others; they all exist on a continuum. I might suggest this is the inception, growth and development of that term ‘culture’.

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A moment of reflection at the Roll of Honour.

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Memorial Plaque. Labuan Cemetery public records.

The GLP facilitates our awareness and understanding of peoples and their cultures. The Canberra Symposium is a rich and abundant source of insight into cultural diversity, and in making yourself open to your fellow delegates and the events on the program; you will find, like me, you have been granted a gift. I invite each of you to grant yourself this gift, the gift of taking a journey and creating your own personal story. I wish each of you well on your journey.

Mark Watson, Canberra Symposium Delegate, August 2015.

Schoolies… but different.

After graduating high school, many high school leavers choose to go on a schoolies trip to unwind, relax and well… celebrate. My trip was perhaps a little out of the ordinary, but exceptionally rewarding and life changing.

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Our team visiting a small village near Rabaul. 

I chose to visit Papua New Guinea, to immerse myself in the local culture and language, and help out some of the local people. During my 18 day trip I stayed and assisted volunteers at the Summer Institute of linguistics (SIL). Papua New Guinea is a nation with an estimated 820 languages, many of which are barely notated with the residents relying on tok pisin (pigeon English) or English to communicate, read, write and understand other Papua New Guineans.

One of the main roles that SIL has, is to translate the Bible in local languages so that they can fully understand what they are reading and ultimately what they believe. This also includes educating people to read and interpret their own language.

During my visit, we focused upon Ramoaaina, the language belonging to the people from the Duke of York Islands (off the coast of East New Britain). While visiting on this beautiful island, I helped to compile and deliver handmade books in the local language, visited schools to teach children about Australia, contributed to local Church services, assisted them to learn English and engaged as part of a team in developing public relations with the local communities.

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Teaching students at the Duke of York School about Australia whilst helping with their English. 

It is often the case that minority groups face very particular challenges and injustices. Only a few thousand people speak the Romoaaina language but that has no correlation with how important they are as a community of Papua New Guinea. The biggest thing I’ve learnt while away was that all cultures are important. We must be careful not to assume that we have all the answers to the world’s problems, or the challenges faced by minority groups simply because they are few, or because we are lucky enough to live in a country with fewer challenges. Seeing the joy on people’s faces as we tried to speak their language, their amusement at our attempts at scraping coconuts, and the joy on the children’s faces as we helped them to understand how important their language and culture is, helped to illustrate this to me.

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Collating books to hand out!

To me, it became clear that when communicating with others, you need an appreciation of their culture, live in respect of their way of life, valuing their collective history and culture, and working with them rather than trying to solve all their problems.

This year I am beginning the Bachelor of Speech, Hearing and Language Sciences after gaining entry through the Global Leadership Entry Program (GLEP). Through GLEP I have been able to have my trip considered in my experiential credit. This experience has allowed me to be inspired and intrigued by the international significance of language and communication across the world. I’m now keen to start my degree and explore the greater possibilities, education and challenges that university and the GLP have to offer.

Words by Anne Spragg. 

*The Global Leadership Entry Program (GLEP) is an early entry program which recognises Year 12 students who are leaders in the community and actively involved in extra curricular activities. GLEP students have early access to University facilities and early access to the GLP program, events and activities. Do you know someone in Year 12 who is deeply engaged with the world and the big issues shaping the future of society? Tell them to check it out at: mq.edu.au/glep.