A unique interdisciplinary course offered for the first time in January 2017 will bring together Griffith students from a variety of disciplines ranging from Business, Arts, Humanities, Photography, Education, Health, Science and Math as a team to undertake applied service project in India. Students will travel to the Western Indian state of Maharashtra, and visit the cities of Mumbai, Malavli and Pune. On this journey, they will develop a range of professional and personal skills through a combination of volunteer work and academic learning. The three week community internship will run from 6th January to 29th January 2017. It is a 10 credit point course (3002LFC) funded for three continuous years through the prestigious Australian Government New Colombo Plan.
Dr Dhara Shah from the Griffith Business School’s Department of International Business and Asian Studies and the Griffith Asia Institute is part of the team involved in designing the course. She, along with the Acting Program Director for International Programs (Nursing), the Global Mobility Manager and the Partnership Coordinator (Service Learning) were part of the delegation who traveled to India in February 2016 to design the course by experiencing first-hand what students will become immersed in. The Indian partner for the course, Beyond Borders, will be providing ground support and organize the experiences for students in India. Visit the Beyond Borders Program website for more information.
The program will include visits to slums, waterways, villages and primary health clinics in order to gain contextual information about the environmental and health conditions of the hard to reach Indian poor. Moreover, students will also visit microfinance providers that issue loans to the poorest in India (particularly women), and discover how a small loan can transform a person’s life and indeed a community. Students will use the knowledge they have obtained in their current disciplines to collaborate on a project in India. They will develop health and finance related resources for promotion to the local population to increase participation rates in social programs. There will also be a language component, ‘Introduction to Hindi’. This opportunity will internationalise our students’ resumes and impress upon prospective employers their practical experience working with diverse people and environments.
In the lead up to their departure, some students have offered their thoughts on what they hope to get out of the internship:
‘I am very excited to be able to combine both my passions of social work and tourism within this internship. I anticipate learning much about service delivery and the scope for community development and engagement in India and experience the vibrant culture and dynamic lifestyle at the same time. I envisage to come back with shifted perceptions and perhaps even shifted values.’ Naseema
Article by Dr Dhara Shah, Lecturer in the Griffith Business School’s Department of International Business and Asian Studies and member of the Griffith Asia Institute.