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

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.

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

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

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

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.

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