Griffith Business School Student Leaders experienced the school’s ethos of global responsibility firsthand during a unique community engagement project in Nepal. The trip, which saw the students immersing themselves in Nepalese culture before working with locals, helped participants gain a deeper knowledge of their role in a global environment.
For Rachel Perkins, this was her second cultural exchange with the Leaders and she was thrilled to be attending this year as a mentor. “I knew that I wanted to go on another trip as soon as I had gotten home from the first volunteer trip,” she says.
“On our trip to Borneo, my whole perspective on life changed and I was looking forward to another trip that had the potential to change my perspective yet again. I saw it as an opportunity for self-growth and development, as well as giving back.”
The eager group of Leaders, including Rachel, Leah Brokmann and Amber Chapman, spent their first week exploring the landscape, immersing themselves in Nepalese culture and partaking in local delicacies. The second week saw them donating their time to teach extra-curricular activities to schoolchildren.
“We climbed mountains, we ate loads of delicious local food, we visited temples, lakes and even watched the sunrise over the Himalayas,” Rachel says. “We also visited Bhaktapur, one of the oldest towns in Nepal. I think this established a really great understanding of their country and culture before we headed back to Kathmandu to begin teaching.
“The aim was to help students to become more confident,” she continues. “The growth in the students over a one-week period was amazing, and I was so proud of each of them for stepping outside of their comfort zones.”
Bachelor of Business student Leah says engaging with people from another culture has made a more-than-significant impact on her. “The experience has wholeheartedly changed my future career direction,” she explains. “While I’m still planning on building upon my current sport management industry experience at the 2018 Commonwealth Games after graduation, the Nepal project inspired me to pursue a career as an academic and complete my PhD, so I can give back to the education industry that has given me so much.
“The whole thing really gave me greater mindfulness for the importance of being socially responsible in the business world.”
For Amber, it was Nepal itself that was calling her. “I’ve wanted to travel to Nepal since I was in my early 20s, but I never thought I would one day be able to do so through university!” she says. “My ultimate goal is to enter the humanitarian aid and logistics industry and I thought that being able to immerse myself in a country that receives aid often would be an amazing opportunity to experience life at a grassroots level.”
The Bachelor of Business student says assisting students to enrich their education left her feeling on top of the world. “I can’t even begin to describe just how much they gave to me and contributed to the overall experience. It was a privilege and incredibly humbling to have been able to teach them for a week.
“We also learnt to make [the Nepalese delicacy] momos, and if that isn’t worth the 18-hour flight, I don’t know what else to say to convince you!
“Honestly though, it is so incredibly rewarding,” Amber continues. “You get to visit another country with people that are like-minded, experience local culture and events, and then see what education is like in a global environment. It will test you and change you.
“Griffith offers so many opportunities to think outside the box and venture outside your comfort zone — it lets your test your limits, if you want to. I feel incredibly prepared for my next challenge.”
Leah says one of the main reasons she decided to study at Griffith University was the access to international exchange opportunities such as the community engagement project. “Griffith Business School [GBS] has such a global perspective which really influenced me to study here. Knowing that I want to travel the world following major sport events after graduating, GBS offered me the international experience I needed to help me become a globally responsible leader.”
Rachel agrees that for her Griffith Business School has given her an edge in the job market because of her involvement in these sorts of extra-curricular activities. “Every time I reach out for extra engagement, Griffith always has opportunities to foster that, and opportunities to help me to continually grow and succeed,” she explains.
“During my studies, I have been taught how to network, how to sell myself and my work, and how to create a community within my workplace. Griffith has encouraged me to stand on my own two feet and believe in myself.”