Making the most of studying abroad

A big welcome to Macquarie for all our new students from abroad! 

Last year, Ashley traveled from her snowy home in Minnesota in America to spend a Session studying abroad at Macquarie. She was selected as a Macquarie Study Abroad Ambassador and blogged about her time in Australia. 

Hi GLPers, I’m from Green Bay, Wisconsin in the US. I am currently a second year Mathematics Education student at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. I spent the last half of 2016 studying abroad nearly 10,000 miles from home at Macquarie Uni. I came to uni unsure of what clubs and activities I was going to get involved with. I almost did not join the GLP because I was not sure what it entailed, so I hope this post can give you a feel for what to expect when you participate in the Global Leadership Program! My participation in the Spirituality and Social Transformation, Me Inc., Beyond Borders, and Indigeneity: unlocking the value of traditional knowledge and culture colloquia were unlike anything I have experienced in a classroom. The discussions were deep and meaningful, challenging you to think about topics in ways you have not before. As long as you go into the program with an open mind, you will learn to see the world from a new and improved lens, a skill I have found to be invaluable. Now I am back to school in the cold (-15 degrees Celsius on average) Minnesota winter, continuing my studies to graduate licensed to teach middle and high school math, spending an occasional weekend in the mountains snowboarding! I’ve included an extract of one of my posts in Australia below.


Ashley exploring the Great Barrier Reef, 2016

So I’ve officially completed the GLP! Soon I’ll receive my completion certificate, my letters of recommendation, and my transcript of all the activities I attended. I’ll be able to add ‘Global Leadership Program’ to my resume. But honestly, those things are of minimal importance to me. Yes, it’s great to be able to say I completed the GLP, but what’s more important is the ability to take what I’ve learned and apply it in ways that will help me in the future. I have already begun to apply what I’ve learned by discussing with others during the colloquia, but further reflection on the topics is where most of my learning has and will occur.

The last colloquia I attended was about Indigeneity and although it was basically a lecture on it, I found it to be quite interesting. This colloquia was especially interesting because it coincidentally build off my Diverse Learners and Families class I took at UST last semester. What I found to be most intriguing was comparing little things in Western culture to Aboriginal culture. Things like firm handshakes and eye contact are avoided in Aboriginal culture. The Aboriginal cultures also tend to focus a lot more on listening rather than being good public speakers. I find that relatable because I tend to listen more than I want to speak. The Aboriginal people are also a lot more community based. They have extended families living together and hold group achievement over individual success. This got me thinking because so much of the world today is based on individual success. Business a great example of this, which ultimately revolves around money. But life isn’t all about money for these people. It’s about family and sticking together. It’s about getting by with what you have and what the earth wants to give you. For some Aboriginal people, their life is meant to be immersed in Western culture, so they can make a difference for their people, which I think is really cool. They also value their elders so much more than Western societies do. I think this is amazing because older people really do have so much more wisdom and life experience to share. We think of getting old as a negative thing because we are restricted from doing things because of age, but the Aboriginal people praise them and turn to them for guidance. They are looked up to and turned to for advice, interpretations, and ceremonial duties until they die. I’m not saying that we don’t turn to our grandparents for advice and stories, but they way that elders influence the lives of aboriginal people is stupendous compared to Western ways.

Keep reading on Ashley’s blog.


Ashley deep in the caves of Southern Tasmania (left) and hiking in Queensland (right)

Registrations for the Global Leadership Program are now open. Find out more


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