The little girl in the snow jacket still peppers the memory of Griffith business student Samantha Milton.
One of four students representing Griffith University at this year’s Golden Key International Honour Society conference in the United States, Samantha found herself serving one of Atlanta’s poorer districts as part of the week-long itinerary.
“We were helping a charity drive where donated clothes were handed out to hundreds of refugees,” the 21-year-old says.
“I was looking after the kids, keeping them occupied.
“I remember this little girl. She told me she was eight but I don’t think she could have been more than five or six. She was wearing tights and skirts and boots and a snow jacket. This was in the hottest weather, 35 degrees and so humid.
“I think she thought she could only bring home what she was wearing.”
From an unforgettable and personally rewarding week where she shared experiences with 250 students from all parts of the world, it’s a moment that sticks in her mind.
The fourth year Gold Coast native is operations advisor on the executive committee of Griffith University’s Golden Key society, an organisation which places great emphasis on principles of leadership, service and academia.
“Future leaders need to know how to serve and give back to the community. That community can be local, that community can be international.
“We’ve got it pretty good here in Australia. People need to realise that and think about giving back.”
Samantha, who is in the final year of an International Business and Commerce degree has also “given back” in Nepal during her four years at Griffith. There she was part of a Griffith Honours College student group that helped renovate a monk school while also volunteering at an orphanage.
Griffith has also given her the opportunity to go to Oxford Brookes University in the UK as an exchange student, to Prague where she participated in a 5-week leadership and human rights program, and to Arnhem in Holland for a three-week business elective.
That experience has whetted her appetite for more.
“I’m fascinated by European culture and I want to live there. Ultimately, after I graduate, I’d like to work there and help European businesses engage in trade with Australia.
“Europe as a block remains one of our biggest trading partners. I believe there are niche markets where European business could break into Australia, and that’s where I would come in, helping with European ties and relationships to make it happen.”