Amid the uncertainty regarding international travel and with border closures currently restricting mobility, Griffith Asia Institute (GAI) was quick to pivot to remote/online offerings, ensuring students are afforded the opportunity to participate in a Global Work Integrated Learning (WIL) experience as part of their degree program during 2020. This year, in lieu of an in-country work placement, 26 students will complete a Remote Global Internship with a host organisation based in one of five destinations, i.e. Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea or Malaysia; and/or, a Research Project affiliated with an international industry partner.
In line with the response to the current climate, GAI commends the recent Australian Government announcement that 2020 Remote Global Internships will be eligible for New Colombo Plan (NCP) mobility funding. The shift to a remote/online delivery of teaching and international learning experiences will maintain the momentum of the NCP, by strengthening people-to-people connections, supporting industry and institutional linkages, as well as forging closer country-to-country relations across the Indo-Pacific region.
While the 2020 cohort has reduced due to a number of students postponing in hope of borders opening next year, Dr Andrea Haefner, Kiri Stinson and the GAI team were delighted to host a Welcome Aboard Lunch (a COVID-safe event) for current Global WIL students. The 20 credit point Global WIL elective course aims to expose students to the diversity and dynamism of Asia by developing cultural, political and economic understanding and awareness. It is also designed to foster professional associations and this year will add breadth with a focus on digital capabilities, in turn, authentically navigating the new world of work and increasing employability to bolster graduate success. As highlighted by Raymond McCarthy, Bachelor of Commerce student and 2020 Remote Global Intern, Hong Kong:
“I feel that COVID-19 has presented some huge challenges for young people entering the labour market. The Remote Global WIL program has made me confident that we can keep momentum in our careers and still get global experience. I feel that this may become a much more normal aspect of work life and we are in the front row for adapting to this change”.
The Welcome Lunch also served as an effective engagement strategy for staff and students to build rapport, develop relationships and strengthen support networks. As well as discussing course requirements, students were introduced to the work of GAI, along with an introduction to Asia and emerging trends in the neighbourhood. Time was dedicated to Q&A, with the event ending in lively group discussion. Students expressed their appreciation for a face-to-face activity held on campus, the first for many since the beginning of the academic year. The event was a success, and as follows, impressions and positive sentiment was shared by Tristan Peart, Bachelor of Business / Bachelor of Commerce student and 2020 Remote Global Intern, Korea –
“The Global WIL welcome lunch was very informative and provided us with an excellent chance to network (get out of the house) with peers with similar interests and study programs. There was plenty of time to discuss any questions with Andrea and Kiri as well as connect with some new faces. While I am naturally disappointed by the enforcement of travel restrictions, the remote offerings provided by Global WIL are an excellent alternative given the circumstances. This program delivery will help me develop new-age digital communications skills that will be incredibly relevant in the post-COVID world and give me a practical edge in future employment opportunities”.
By enabling a platform for practical exposure to a professional environment in an international setting, GAI is shaping our emerging Asia-Pacific leaders and looks forward to welcoming our 2020 Global WIL students back to campus for a three-day intensive ‘Asia Ready’ program, delivered at the beginning of Trimester 3 in preparation for the Remote Global Internship/Research Project.
For further information about the program, please see the GAI website at https://www.griffith.edu.au/asia-institute/global-wil-internships.