Belfast by way of the Philippines and Canberra: A GLP Journey

I have been part of Macquarie University’s Global Leadership Program (GLP) for 3 semesters now. Within this time, I have managed to complete my 200 experiential credit points by taking advantage of the wonderful opportunities offered to students by GLP and Macquarie itself. Being involved in this program has led me to some very exciting places in the last 2 years and helped me mature as a person and I strongly recommend undertaking the GLP to any student.

In 2013, my first GLP activity was the trip to Canberra for the Global Leadership Symposium. This was an initial 20 experiential credit points, but more importantly it was an excellent way to start my GLP career. The trip was incredibly fun and I was lucky enough to share this experience with a great group of people. After this trip I was more motivated to get involved with other programs at Macquarie.

GLP Cultural Series Day Trip, Auburn.

GLP Cultural Series Day Trip, Auburn.

In 2014, I tried to make the most of as many international opportunities offered by Macquarie as possible. This led me to PACE International which offers internships and volunteer placements with grassroots organisations in developing countries. I had a 7 week placement in the Philippines working with children’s rights organisation Bahay Tuluyan. Going on PACE was an amazing experience that will remain with me for life. I became a much stronger and confident person and learnt how to work in a team environment with people from all different backgrounds. Going on PACE is confronting and challenging and I was constantly pushed out of my comfort zone, but I believe I am now a much better person for it.

Volunteering through PACE at Bahay Tuluyan

Volunteering through PACE at Bahay Tuluyan

Also in 2014, I completed a semester exchange at Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland. This is the quickest way to complete the experiential credit points component of the program as exchange earns you 100 points. It can be frightening to move to a foreign country for an extended period of time and to study at an unfamiliar university but going on exchange is the best thing I have done at Macquarie. I have made friends from all over the world and learnt how to live more independently and I cannot even begin to describe how much fun I had on a daily basis in Belfast.
While going international on PACE or study-abroad are the quickest ways to earn points, I understand they are not for everyone. Yet there are still plenty of ways to earn experiential credit points domestically. I earned 20 points for completing a Macquarie language unit and another 20 points for Macquarie unit of study with an international focus. I also was part of a team organising the fundraiser at the 2013 Distinguished Speaker Series. The staff at GLP work hard to broadcast upcoming opportunities, such as conferences, workshops and festivals, which will help you to earn experiential credit – so there is always plenty of support available if you’re unsure how to go about completing the points.

Queens University Belfast

Queens University Belfast

The GLP is a great program to meet new people, whether it’s for friendship or professional purposes, or to get experience in your specific academic sphere, or just to go international and have fun. I have thoroughly enjoyed my journey with GLP so far and I am excited to see what opportunities lie ahead.

Ellen Kirkpatrick has been in GLP since Session 2, 2013. GLP staff got to know Ellen on the Canberra Symposium and she’s a great example of someone who didn’t have it all worked out from the start but who made the first step and booked her Canberra trip and found the ideas and the inspiration along the way. Canberra, the Philippines and Northern Ireland in the space of three semesters ain’t bad.

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An incredible journey of volunteering & global learning

GLPer Jessica Compton has recently completed all her program requirements and finished up her Macquarie degree and is set to graduate in 2015. Below is Jessica’s reflection on the transformative experiences of her six years in the GLP….

In a society where many people have a degree or two, we need that extra edge to prop us up above other prospective candidates to get those dream jobs. I’ve been told that volunteering is that extra edge. But I think it can be so much more than boosting a career – it can be life changing.

I started volunteering as a school kid, well before it was a cool thing to do, and back when it was just called ‘helping out’. It’s now a way for me to both learn and contribute, and thanks to GLP, it’s also a way to distinguish myself as a global minded citizen on my formal academic record.

Beyond volunteering, GLP’s Colloquia events and the Distinguished Speaker Series have added an avenue for further learning outside of my degrees and given me a chance to meet like-minded people. In recognition of the end of my time with GLP, I will take you through some of my GLP highlights.

GLPer Jessica Compton volunteering with Villawood Vollies at Villawood Detention Centre.

GLPer Jessica Compton volunteering with Villawood Vollies at the Villawood Detention Centre.

Villawood Immigration Detention Centre
In my first year at MQU, I initiated Villawood Vollies, a volunteer program promoting health and wellbeing in Villawood Immigration Detention Centre. I have been directing this organisation (as a volunteer) since 2009. The people I have met, the skills I have developed, the tears and laughter that have transpired, have all amounted to a journey so profound that it has shaped who I am today.

Christmas Island
During a colloquium event on International Humanitarian Law, I met a new lifelong friend, Rob. During the session he told me about a volunteering opportunity on Christmas Island where we ended up spending a month delivering programs and workshops to people seeking asylum through the Australian Government. During the month, we gained so much knowledge, understanding, humanity, and a deep care and respect for one another and for those seeking protection in Australia. Thanks Rob!

India
I carried out my psychology placement in India for a month with Pravah, a not-for-profit working on youth citizen engagement. It was an incredible experience learning about Indian culture and forming some special bonds with my fellow Mac Uni peers.

PACE students volunteering in India.

PACE students volunteering in India.

LEAP Mentoring
Two very special things happened while volunteering with LEAP. Firstly, the students I got to mentor were boys from Iran that I had met on Christmas Island when they first came to Australia! It was incredible to see them settled into the community and getting an education. Secondly, I made a very good friend in another GLP student, a friendship that I hope to treasure for a long time.

Professional Development
Colloquium series: These seminars have been a great addition to university life. I have integrated many key lessons into my personal and professional life. For example, during my Health Placement at Ku-ring-gai Council delivering health and wellbeing workshops to high school students, I incorporated concepts and activities from the design thinking session; Insight to Innovation: Using Design Thinking to Solve Wicked Problems and the Climate Change – Leading for the future session.

Distinguished Speaker Series
These events have been the cream on the top of my GLP experience. I particularly loved the speeches by Waleed Aly and the Honourable Michael Kirby, but I have enjoyed and been inspired by all of the incredible speakers that have been freely delivered to us for the past 5 years. There are so many golden nuggets in the speeches, I’ve found it impossible not to take down notes.

So to conclude, I’m sad to be graduating and leaving everything GLP has freely offered. Thank you for an incredible experience and a multitude of wonderful life changing opportunities.

Jessica Compton has been in the GLP since 2009 and recently completed the Program requirements along with her concurrent degrees of Bachelor of Arts, Psychology and Bachelor of Health. All photos are credited to Jessica Compton.

Volunteering is child’s play…..

By Brita Penfold

….Well the PACE group residing in the Philippines has been here for a bit over a month now. And the time is ripe to check in and tell you all what we’ve been up to and give you some insight into the jam-packed journey we’ve had thus far.

First up, the great group of eight was split up after an intense week of children’s rights training and some sightseeing in Manila. Five people from the group trouped off to the rural provinces where a life of bucket showers and intrusive wildlife awaited them. Myself and two other volunteers stayed on in the bustling chaotic district of Malate Manila, a vibrant city where everything’s constantly on the move.

After you become accustomed to the mortal peril you are in every time you cross the street, you grow to love the city and the close-knit communities within it. The Bahay Tuluyan family took us in, and from the start it began to feel like home. Our friendships in the community grew and our connections with the children deepened. But as we became more connected with our surroundings, we also became confronted by our own set of personal challenges. For me, it was the street children. I have seen my fair share of homelessness around Sydney, but nothing could prepare me for the vast scale of homelessness in the Philippines, nor how many children lived without the basic protection of shelter, adequate food and care.

GLP 3

Bahay Tuluyan offers a range of programs and services for children in need of special protection, and one program is a mobile unit that a group of youth facilitators and volunteers go out in every week. The mobile unit is a colorful, child-friendly truck that goes to the areas of Manila most entrenched in poverty. The truck acts as a colorful magnet to the children that live there, calling them to come learn, play and eat together. With the youth facilitators we play games, teach the children about their rights through arts and crafts and sing songs together about community and safety. The children love to run after you and swing off your arm and ask all the important details of your life. ‘What’s your name?’, ‘how old are you?’, ‘do you have a boyfriend?’. They remind me so much of children back home, always ready to play and full of irresistible energy, yet they show unmistakable signs of a life lived in poverty.

GLP photo

Many of the children’s bright large smiles are dimmed by their rotting teeth- the consequences of a country where health care is expensive and inaccessible to those who live under the poverty line. Their energetic limbs are full of small-infected wounds tied up with dirty rags that have been left to fester without basic medical care. They run around wild, jumping into the local polluted river, unused to having adult supervision or censure. These children are scantily clad, dirty from playing so much on the dusty street and running around wild while their wealthier neighbours go to school.

The Philippines is a place of contrast and difference, right down to the absurdly sweet and savoury foods- like green mango dipped in fish paste… a Filipino favourite unfortunately. But some differences are not acceptable, like the view of the urban slums from lecture rooms in the prestigious universities, or homeless families sleeping under the roofs of multi-million dollar hotels.

Poverty in the Philippines is a vast and complex issue and Bahay Tuluyan is doing incredible work to provide shelter, schooling, and a safe environment to as many children as possible. It has been an absolute pleasure to work for an organisation that seeks to protect those most vulnerable from the cycle of poverty. But I know that there is much more that we can do as a country and a community of culturally aware Australians. There is no excuse to accept poverty, and it is imperative for us to actively stand up for those in most need of protection and take steps to eradicate extreme poverty…and maybe green mango too whilst we’re at it.

 

Until next time!
Brita

 

*All pictures courtesy of Brita Penfold and PACE

 

 

Taking up the Challenge – Looking to the future

By Jennifer Tridgell

Ceiling insulation, plastering and cement already complete, a cheer sounded as the final nail was hammered into the floorboards. Finishing the classroom was a moment of real achievement for our group as we had accomplished one of our core goals and ahead of schedule at that. From March, there will be a third classroom in use at Quilla Huata school, allowing 40 more schoolchildren to attend. This classroom will become yet another of the many distinctive blue and yellow buildings of Peru’s Challenge that already dot the Andean countryside.

Quilla Huata schoolchildren, their mothers and construction workers with the Macquarie team in front of our completed classroom

Quilla Huata schoolchildren, their mothers and construction workers with the Macquarie team in front of our completed classroom

Within Quilla Huata, these blue and yellow buildings include flower greenhouses, guinea pig farms and the Women’s Workshop. It was what made Peru’s Challenge special for me: this holistic, community-oriented approach to sustainable development. With a steady, non-seasonal income from greenhouses or handicrafts, the parents can afford better clothes, food and housing. Consequently, the children are not required to spend as long in the fields, allowing them to remain in school longer and have a better shot at the future.

Quilla Huata school , painted with the distinctive colours of Peru’s Challenge

Quilla Huata school , painted with the distinctive colours of Peru’s Challenge

The visit to the Women’s Workshop in the second week really stayed with me, particularly as I eventually hope to work with Indigenous women and development. Built in the last few years, the Workshop is a safe space for the women of the community to weave, sew and knit beautiful, brightly-coloured llama wares. Money from selling their handicrafts provides a steady income for the women, which is not dependent upon seasonal produce or weather. Their partners also respect their ability to support the family financially, with the incidence of domestic violence dropping from 96% to 42% in 2009. Given the opportunity to buy scarves, tablecloths and beanies and, above all, to support the women, the Macquarie volunteers did not disappoint.

Macquarie volunteers buying everything in the Women’s Workshop

Macquarie volunteers buying everything in the Women’s Workshop

Undoubtedly, one of the hardest moments of the  project was the farewell. Just like the welcome ceremony; the schoolchildren, their mothers and our fellow construction workers turned out to show their thanks. Confetti was sprinkled, bunches of flowers were presented and lots of hugs were exchanged. The main difference to the welcome was the connection we now share with the people here, whether it was banter with the construction workers, cutting fruit with the mothers or playing soccer with the kids. This friendship was reciprocated; instead of calling us ‘gringos,’ which means ‘foreigners,’ the children now call us ‘amigos.’

Lloyd being presented with a card and flowers at the farewell

Lloyd being presented with a card and flowers at the farewell

It has been a month of fabulous new experiences and adventures. Catching the crowded local bus into town and navigating around the Cusco streets to our favourite cafes, we no longer felt like tourists. However, the ‘special’ prices of souvenirs for us at the markets reminded us that we were not quite locals. Bargaining down the price of bulk llama socks, salsa dancing on Friday nights and trying new foods like guinea pig (a delicacy, which tastes a lot like chicken) are moments that I will always remember.

Criselda and Krista with their new friends at Quilla Huata

Criselda and Krista with their new friends at Quilla Huata

In the final group reflection session, we were asked, “What has this project meant to you? What makes the work of Peru’s Challenge so important?” Simply, it has shown me the enormous potential for hope. The people of Quilla Huata, the volunteers and everyone with Peru’s Challenge all believe that this is a chance for the entire community to rediscover itself and build a more sustainable, healthier future.  When the mini-bus drew away from the village school for the last time, I was not so much sad that this program has ended as grateful that I had this opportunity to meet such wonderful, inspiring people. Dear blog readers, if you ever get the chance to do a PACE International program, seize the moment and never look back.

Adios amigos!

Taking up the Challenge – Teaching

By Jennifer Tridgell

Jenny Tridgell is a current GLP student studying for a Bachelor of Arts with Bachelor of Laws. Over the last few weeks she has been documenting her experience on PACE International’s ‘Peru’s Challenge’project. For Jenny’s previous posts see her articles here

 

On Monday, Wednesday and Friday of each week, Macquarie students teach English, Art and Sport at Quilla Huata. The school is divided into two classes, with a Kindergarten/Grade One and Two and an upper primary composite. Since our program is during the summer holidays, we are running a summer school program for around 40 children from Quilla Huata. Currently, there are around 80 children enrolled at the school. The hope is that with the completion of the next classroom by our Macquarie group, another 40 children will be able to attend and receive an education.

Teaching an English class for Kindergarten

Teaching in the classroom made for a steep learning curve, particularly for those of us who do not come from a teaching background. After slightly disorganised lessons in the first week, we embraced the feedback of the teachers and did a lot more preparation. People stayed up late on week-nights to cut up paper body-parts, make labels for the storeroom and organise lesson materials. Each Sunday night, we had a class planning session to organise the teacher roster and lesson plans. English and Art classes had a theme for each week, with animals for Week Two and colours for Week Three. For art in the kindergarten class, the children loved painting butterflies, making paper-plate frogs and beading bracelets. Even days later, girls and boys ran up to me to show me their bracelets.

Simone taking the Quilla Huata children through sport exercises

Simone taking the Quilla Huata children through sport exercises

 

These last few weeks have been about gaining new skills, like learning how to control young children despite a language barrier. The key to this is: body language, hand movements and researching key terms in Spanish the night before. Flexibility has also been important. For example, on one day Laurence and Liz had just hopped in the car to leave for Quilla Huata when they were told that they were teaching high school students at Pumamarca that day. Also, whenever someone has been sick, one of us has had to jump in to fill the space on the health and hygiene, fruit preparation or teaching teams.

Loving life at Sacred Valley in Pisac

Loving life at Sacred Valley in Pisac

Peru´s Challenge is about helping the local communities during the week and exploring the beautiful Andean terrain on the weekends. We visited Cusco, Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu on consecutive weekends and loved every minute. For most, Machu Picchu was one for the bucket list and a highlight of the trip. It was a perfect moment when the fog lifted and we could see the perfectly-aligned walls and thatched rooves of Machu Picchu with a baby llama wandering its grassy terraces.

PIC5

Not a picture was ruined at Machu Picchu

 

As Jenny has mentioned, participating in this PACE project has given Jenny invaluable life skills in planning and organisation as well as the opportunity to network with like-minded individuals and make a positive difference to a community. If you’d like to have your own experience with PACE there are projects in countries such as India, or Cambodia as well as local opportunities to get involved. Check out their website here.

 

 

Taking up the Challenge Part II: Health and Hygiene

By Jennifer Tridgell

Everyday at 10am in the Quilla Huata school, the Health and Hygiene team kicks into action. Five Macquarie students are responsible for washing the children’s hands, arms and faces, drying them and applying moisturiser.  Before we have even finished setting up, the children are eagerly getting into line. Seeing them so enthusiastic about the process gives us hope that learning these sanitation practices will help reduce the incidence of diseases. Warts, infected feet from ill-fitting shoes and malnourishment are just some common health challenges. Prevention is also part of the health regime, with cracked skin from the cold mountain air being moisturised daily to prevent infection.

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The Health and Hygiene team in action, washing the children’s hands

Once a child has finished Health and Hygiene, she sits at the wooden picnic tables, awaiting her bowl of fruit salad. This nutritious morning tea is thanks to Peru’s Challenge and is followed by lunch; it teaches the children about healthy eating and gives them a decent meal so that they are able to concentrate in lessons. Selvy, the co-founder of Peru’s Challenge, told us that the children of Pumamarca used to walk over two hours without breakfast to school in Cusco, whereupon they promptly fell asleep from exhaustion. Since Peru’s Challenge built a school in Pumamarca, the easier commute and regular nutritious food have helped the children to excel academically. Last year, the school placed first in the region for dance.

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Serving fruit for morning tea at Quilla Huata school

During the second week, Selvy began inviting small groups of Macquarie students on house visits around Quilla Huata. As part of Peru’s Challenge, the ‘Project for Life’ initiative identifies families who are most in need within the community, pays monthly house visits and helps them overcome certain obstacles. This assistance may take the form of food, sourcing medication or rebuilding damaged houses. On this particular occasion, we were delivering groceries to Angelica, a single mother of four young children. She invited us warmly into her mud-brick hut, which had dirt floors, smoke-blackened walls and a bare cooking shelf. Despite the conditions, they did not want sympathy, but instead looked hopefully towards the future.

This single room had previously functioned as a kitchen, living area and bedroom. Peru’s Challenge built a bedroom and bought beds, so that they were able to be elevated off the cold, damp ground. Despite the circumstances, Angelica was doing her best and her children were happy and healthy. Peru’s Challenge will continue to support her as greenhouses are built for flower cultivation, which Angelica can sell at the markets. This sustainable source of income will ensure that her children can continue their education and her family will have enough to eat.

Laurence and Criselda plastering the classroom ceiling

Laurence and Criselda plastering the classroom ceiling

Construction of the classroom is right on schedule. Having finished insulating the roof with bamboo, this week was dedicated to plastering the roof, walls and ourselves. After four days, I resemble a snowwoman, but the workers now praise my plastering technique as ‘professional.’ You could say that flicking the plaster is a “wristy” business. Despite the language barrier, we have developed a real camaraderie with the workers. Every Friday, we have a soccer match on the boggy field outside the school with mixed teams of Macquarie students and workers. For an hour, mud flies, the football is kicked enthusiastically and occasionally, goals are scored.

Friday soccer is a tradition

Friday soccer is a tradition

As the weeks pass, the Macquarie students are becoming better and closer friends. On the weekends, we have experienced the beauty and culture of Peru by touring Cusco and hiking around Sacred Valley. Wherever we go, views of the Andean mountains are peaking. During the week, after lesson planning and Spanish classes, we explore the cobbled alleyways, quaint cafes and gilded museums of Cusco.

Group photo at Saqsaywuman, the largest and one of the most sacred Inca temples in Cusco

Group photo at Saqsaywuman, the largest and one of the most sacred Inca temples in Cusco

Team Morale has really being keeping true to their name, introducing a Fairy Godmother system over the last week. Upon drawing a name out of a hat, that person becomes your ‘giant,’ to whom you had to be especially nice, support and compliment. Fairy godmothers have left sweet notes and chocolates on their giants’ pillows, complimented their hard work at construction and helped out with jobs around the house. I’m so lucky to be surrounded by such beautiful and thoughtful people.

Until next time, adios!

Taking up the Challenge

By Jennifer Tridgell – Bachelor of Arts with Bachelor of Laws

Jennifer Tridgell is a GLP student at Macquarie University. She is currently undertaking a month-long volunteering project in Peru as part of PACE International’s ‘Peru’s Challenge’ Project. This project aims to build schools, educate local people and assist the community in becoming self-sustainable. Over the coming weeks Jennifer will be posting new updates on this blog about her journey. For more information about PACE and if you’re interested in going on your own international adventure please visit the PACE website at http://students.mq.edu.au/opportunities/professional_and_community_engagement/about_pace/ 

 
Fifteen Macquarie PACE students from different backgrounds, degrees and experiences have ventured to the historical capital of Latin America, Cusco. For one month, they will work with a local NGO, Peru’s Challenge, in the community school of Quilla Huata to teach, finish constructing a classroom and, ultimately, help the village to become sustainable.
 
 

From the moment our plane dipped through clouds enshrouding the Andean peaks, Cusco had me breathless. Yes, the altitude may have contributed somewhat, but this red-brick city nestled at 3300 metres above sea level is something else. For the next month, this will be home. For fourteen other Macquarie students, our lovely team leader Lana and me, participating in Peru’s Challenge is an exhilarating opportunity to explore South America, face cultural barriers and collaborate with the local people.

Never going to tire of waking up to this stunning view from the volunteer house

Never going to tire of waking up to this stunning view from the volunteer house

Peru, from the brutal 16th Century colonisation by the Spanish Conquistadors to the modern day, has borne witness to clashes and convergence between Spanish and Incan cultures. Like the perfectly-aligned stones in Incan walls being used as the foundation for Spanish Catholic churches in Cusco, Peruvian culture cannot be understood without appreciating both. Local communities like Quilla Huata speak both the local language of Quecha and national language of Spanish, and practice both traditional weaving handicrafts and the religious teachings of a country that is 81% Roman Catholic.

Working in the community will be a moment to experience traditional agrarian life, as well as calling for heightened cultural sensitivity. Whether this requires wearing clothes that cover the knees and shoulders or taking a moment to consider others perspectives, it all helps to build trust and collaborate closer with the community.

The gang in front of the classroom that we will be completing

The gang in front of the classroom that we will be completing

Orientation and cultural adjustment have taken a few days, particularly with altitude sickness, water-borne diseases and the majority of the group speaking limited Spanish. This language barrier will be overcome by daily interaction with the locals and the four hours of Spanish lessons each week at the volunteer house.  If all else fails, mime and interpretative dance work wonders. Nausea, breathlessness and fatigue are common symptoms of high altitude, but these have already subsided. The main ongoing concern is remembering to sterilise hands before meals, not eating street food and brushing my toothbrush in bottled water. Two of our teammates have already been admitted to the medical clinic for treatment, but they made a speedy recovery overnight.

Team brainstorm about what kind of team we want to be

Team brainstorm about what kind of team we want to be

As the first couple of days were dedicated to rest and recovery in the volunteer house, we got to know each other very quickly. By Day Two, Krista described us as, “a family.” Everyone, from the other Macquarie students to our incredibly talented chefs Angelica and Romero, is so lovely, personable and committed to the program. When we discussed what we wanted to be remembered for as a group in the first team meeting, we came up with terms like, “supportive,” “hard-working” and “enthusiastic.” Sharing leadership roles was important to everyone, so we divided group responsibilities into House, Security, Morale and Health teams. For example, Team Morale encourages enthusiasm in the group by performing random acts of kindness like buying flowers and giving hugs. Sharing responsibility and supporting one another will make this the best possible experience.

Hugs and confetti from the Quilla Huata community to welcome us

Hugs and confetti from the Quilla Huata community to welcome us

In Quilla Huata school, we are going to be working on health and hygiene, construction and teaching. Selvy, the co-founder of Peru’s Challenge, school children and community representatives welcomed us warmly, hugging us and sprinkling colourful confetti on our heads. Having met the community and been touched by their reception, we threw ourselves into the work. The priority is finishing the classroom that the last Macquarie University contingent started. Construction initially involved stripping bundles of bamboo, nailing it down as roof insulation and evening out the floor. Not being so fond of heights, I spent most time with the bamboo and shovelling dirt. Needless to say, we’ll all be very fit and ready by the time we have to climb Machu Picchu.

Criselda helping to nail down bamboo on the roof rafters

Criselda helping to nail down bamboo on the roof rafters

Until next time, adios amigos!

(Photos courtesy of Jennifer Tridgell)

 

Patrick McGrath is currently in Brazil on the GLP Symposium. Here is Part 1 of his experience…

Hey there my GLP brethren,

 

I’ve no doubt that most of you have seen the emails advertising this year’s GLP symposium to Brazil. I’m excited to let you know that the symposium is underway and a group of 11 students from Mac are currently in Sao Paulo, under the guidance of our fearless leader Chloë Spackman. We have just completed our first day of formal activities that began with breakfast at our hotel at 7:15am and has just wrapped up at 11pm.

 

This morning we travelled about 40 mins outside Sao Paulo to visit Natura, one of the largest cosmetic companies in the South America, although it’s possible you haven’t heard of it before as it doesn’t sell its products in Australia. The easiest way to describe the ethos of the company is to think if Google owned and ran a cosmetics company in Brazil. The welfare of the workers is well looked after with childcare and medical facilities onsite. It is a company that the residents of Sao Paulo wish to work for, a recent advertisement for 100 positions saw 65,000 people apply. The company also managed to sell 303 million products last year without a single store in Brazil. The products are all sold through consultants or ‘reps’ with a strong emphasis on relationships with their consumers. And this is all before I start on their commitment to a series of environmental and social goals, needless to say I was impressed, if you want to find out more, you’ll have to come along next year.

 

We then came back into Sao Paulo for lunch before attending a couple lectures at EPSM, an exceptionally well reputed business school here in Sao Paulo. We had the opportunity to learn about Brazilian culture and Brazil’s growing role in international politics.

 

We were then given a tour of EPSM’s Junior Enterprise program offices. It’s an incredibly impressive student-run business that employs undergraduate students to complete project work for Sao Paulo businesses. We heard about a group of students working on a project to create an online store for a wine distributor and heard that these students would see this task from conception to completion-  a fantastic model for internships and workplace experience.

 

You might be thinking that this qualifies as a full day of activities but not on a GLP trip. We had a brief moment of respite in the form of dinner, which gave us the necessary fuel to power throw the still present jet-lag of a 13 hour time difference. After said meal, we filed duly back into our van to head to aptly named Unique Hotel in the centre of the city. We enjoyed a quiet beverage in the lobby bar before heading upstairs to enjoy the view of Sao Paulo atop the Skye bar. I will let the photo do justice to the stunning décor (check out the chair) of the hotel that my words simply could not.

 

I hope to keep you as up to date with our activities as possible but I also know that tomorrow we will set off for a walking tour at 8am and our last activity, a football match, commences at 10pm so it may be a couple of days.

 

Patrick McGrath (GLP Student)

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Photo; Patrick McGrath

 

 

-Stay tuned for more in-country blogging from Patrick- Georgina (GLP staff member)