By Elena Nye-Lederhose, Bachelor of Business Administration with the degree of Bachelor of Laws
I did not know about the Global Leadership Program (GLP) when I started my 5-year degree in 2017. I actually didn’t join until my third year after hearing from friends involved in the GLP that it was a great way to get involved with other Macquarie students who shared a passion for current social and environmental issues, and it would look great on a resume.
Upon perusing the program requirements, I thought, well I’m definitely going to go on an exchange program and that’s already half of the required experiential credit points, so this will be a piece of cake! I eagerly enrolled, signed up for Colloquia that sounded interesting and was full of motivation to complete the program.
In 2019, I was lucky enough to attend the Compassionate Leadership & Effective Advocacy Conference held at the university and meet Jane Goodall, which was an inspiring and encouraging event. I also had the privilege to intern with the Aboriginal Legal Service in their Wagga Wagga office in the mid-semester break, which aided me in finding an interest for public defence law and advocacy. Both of these programs counted for GLP Experiential Credit, were enriching experiences and I ended 2019 feeling as though I would have no issues completing the program.
Elena and fellow students gather around Jane Goodall at Compassionate Leadership and Advocacy Conference May 2019
But then, a few weeks after I was accepted for my exchange program in 2020, it was cancelled due to COVID-19, and the world plunged into lockdown. This was a blow to not only my overall life plans, but a significant blow to my GLP plans. I became dejected and the thought of having to make up those 100 points seemed an impossible and overwhelming task. I will admit I was almost going to give up on the program, but with the encouragement of GLP Advisor, Kristina, I decided to go all in on completing the program during my final session. This desire to complete the program has motivated me to attend Macquarie careers events and the Innovative Leaders Speaker Series, which have really assisted me in how to network and approach my upcoming postgraduate job applications with less worry.
I was also able to complete a course on Children’s Human Rights and a course about the Noongar people of Western Australia, their culture and their language. Finally, I was able to participate in a fundraiser for Motor Neuron Disease where I committed to walking 27 different park walking tracks to raise money for FightMND research. Not only is this a cause dear to my family’s heart, it also got me outside and active during lockdown. I really would not have had these rewarding experiences this year without the encouragement of the GLP.
Elena on one of her 27 walks for the FightMND fundraiser October 2021
My takeaways that I hope can help even one person complete the GLP program if they are feeling dejected or overwhelmed would be:
Remember, it is not too late to start if you are not in your first year and it’s not too late to finish if you are in your final session.
Utilise the GLP Advisors: they know this program really well and are super supportive and willing to help.
Join Colloquia or events such as the Foreign Affairs Speaker Series with a friend in the program so that you are motivated to go and can have interesting discussions afterwards.
Read the ‘Upcoming Opportunities’ emails the GLP team sends out, not only is it a great way to find potential Experiential Credit points but they also send out great learning, volunteer and potential internship opportunities.
Be open to your plans changing and open to participating in events or online courses you may have not previously considered.
The past couple of years have been full of disappointment and uncertainty with plans changing and my university experience not looking how I thought it would. However, one benefit is that the GLP activities I have been able to complete domestically have helped offer me a sense of connection to both the Macquarie community, and the international community again. Completing the Experiential Credit activities in my final session, during another lockdown, has actually helped give me a sense of hope and motivation that I feel like I have been missing due to the stress of the past few years. I would encourage anyone who is on the fence about participating or completing the GLP to jump in headfirst and commit, you may just find the inspiration or connection you have been looking for.