A year ago I heard about the GLP during Orientation, and since applying I have had unbelievable experiences. I would like to share these with you, and although this will only be a snapshot, hopefully it will be helpful to anyone wanting to really enrich their university experience in the new year.
The trips I went on during 2018 were: The GLP's International Symposium to China, The Canberra Symposium and The Redfern Cultural Day. I joined the GLP because I thought it was perfect to continuously learn content and skills beyond my degree, to be involved in something bigger and experience the most I can.
Although I had always avoided change, and have lived in Sydney for as long as I can remember, I thought that joining the GLP was really a perfect opportunity for me to get out there.
Also as a first year psychology undergraduate, I was unsure about what career path I want to take. So I thought that if I had more practical experiences, I would develop my interests and new perspectives. This would not only give me a higher sense of self in the big world out there and get the most out of my university experience, but also discern my path.
So although I was unsure and had my doubts, I am so grateful that I did reach out and get involved, to have an amazing first year at university, make lifelong friendships, have unforgettable life experiences and develop my personal growth.
International Symposium to China - July, 2018
China had always been one of my top places to travel, not only because of my Chinese background, interest in cultural diversity, the amazing landscape and the cities, but because China is home to rich cultural heritage. I knew that the Chinese culture we know of in Australia is very limited.
As I had just graduated from high school, I was unsure and nervous about applying. However, the process of getting ready for the trip and the actual travel experience was seamless, and for that I am extremely grateful to the fantastic GLP team who were extremely motivating, helpful, organised, and made my first trip overseas truly amazing.
This trip was an opportunity to explore China's urban and rural spheres -- from Shanghai to the Yunnan Province and Beijing -- learn about both contemporary and traditional lifestyles in the country, as well as it's current issues and international relations.
The indescribable international symposium in China involved engaging in Chinese culture, values, history, natural beauty, opportunities for adventure, to interact with professional speakers, community leaders and locals, all while having an awesome time connecting with my peers and creating new friendships.
With a packed itinerary, we started our trip in Shanghai, and spent the nights admiring the lights and sights along the Bund and Nanjing Road.
Although, the visit to Shanghai's Jewish ghettoes is definitely unforgettable. Conversations with Dvir Bar-Gal continue to resonate with me today, as he spoke about how his dedication to increase awareness of the Jewish lives and experiences in Shanghai.
His tours in the Shanghai Ghettoes and the Jewish Refugee Museum highlighted the most unsung, yet heroic stories of ordinary people during the difficult times of WWII.
Another significant highlight in Shanghai was visiting the New Development Bank and visiting the Australian Chamber of Commerce to discuss topics of China-Australia relations.
What's truly amazing is that while everyone on the trip came from different fields and interests, we all could take something away.
While discussing the influences of marketing and trade on the bilateral relations between China and Australia, I could definitely notice the unique links with marketing and a level of research similar to what is undertaken in psychology. Effective marketing and product development in China also involves bridging a gap between cultural differences -- involving research on what the Chinese people want, as China becomes increasingly modern and takes in aspects from the Western world.
I would have to say that my visit to the Yunnan Province was my favourite. What captured me was it's tranquility, calm atmosphere, and rural lifestyle in comparison to Shanghai.
What amazes me is how different the minority ethnic groups actually are from the majority, as well as the common view of Chinese people in Australia.
Hiking, visiting Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and the Black Dragon Pool, were definitely highlights as we saw a unique side of China, in contrast to the cities and the complex social and environmental problems China faces. It was ideal to hear the perspectives of local community leaders and learn about what is being done about such problems at the Green Education Centre.
Then, visiting the United Nations Development Programme, and the Australian Embassy in Beijing allowed us to delve even deeper into the efforts being made to improve our tomorrow, and improving China-Australia bilateral relations.
Canberra Symposium - September, 2018
Fortunately, I once again had the opportunity to make new friendships and challenge myself to learn in an area beyond my degree on the Canberra Symposium.
The action-packed 4 days involved learning about what's happening in our own country -- the issues our government and the Australian media has encountered, and what we continue to face today.
It involved discussion of Australia-US relations at the Embassy of the United States, and at the Embassy of Indonesia, we concluded that committing to lifelong learning is one of the many aspects that constitutes a ‘good’ leader.
Our schedule was completely full -- it involved discussing ways international cooperation is established at the Republic of South Korea and the High Commission of Bangladesh.
The visit to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) was definitely a highlight and to me, was very reminiscent of the New Development Bank in Shanghai on the China trip. Our student voices were acknowledged, we reviewed Australia’s international relations, and discussed the influences of soft power.
And among all these visits to Embassies, the Parliament House, the ABC, and DFAT, we also had plenty of opportunities to connect with our peers -- including the Australian War Memorial, Floriade and Questacon, and our group still keeps in touch today.
Cultural Day to Redfern - October, 2018
To attend the GLP cultural days offered during the semester you may need to rearrange study schedules, however they are definitely worth it. The Cultural Day to Redfern is new to the GLP, and was an invaluable opportunity to hear from community leaders from Gamarada Indigenous Universal Resources and ANTaR at The Settlement. We also delved into the Close the Gap campaign and the criminal justice issues the Indigenous continue to face.
It was not only an opportunity to network and learn, but also embrace and greater appreciate differences of tradition and culture at the Royal Botanic Gardens and Clarke Island -- such diversity which defines our Australian society.
Each person who attended came from a different background and we all got something unique from these visits. For me, this involved learning about improving the mental health of the Indigenous population in Australia and about the practical applications of psychology in community settings.
Looking back, I’m so grateful for these experiences I’ve had to reach out and get involved. These have encouraged me to get involved in more that the GLP has to offer, such as applying for exchange this year. I would have never thought to apply for exchange, or even consider living in another country. However, taking a risk, spending my first year at Macquarie Uni participating in the GLP, and meeting motivating people has become invaluable to my personal growth, and has really allowed me to become more open to new, challenging, yet amazing opportunities.