Work Life Balance Infograph: An IST assessment

If you’re wondering what a potential artefact for an Industry Study Tour assessment might look like, consider what Samuel Drill, a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) student created. Samuel was part of our first cohort of students who went to Malaysia on a 12 week internship in Semester 2, 2016.

You can, in consultation with your Academic Supervisor, come up with ideas for projects that suit your interest, discipline and area of study. This, in turn, can form part of your portfolio which you can showcase to potential employers.

It’s time to get creative!

Worklife Balance

IST-Malaysia Internship Experience – Sacha Arthur

The Team at ActionCOACH

Copyright owned by the Author (2017)

From December 2016 to February 2017, I completed an internship in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I was placed at an international business coaching and business development firm. I was very excited and very eager to finally have real-life experience in the entrepreneurship and innovation field in which I majored for my Business degree. I was tasked with re-creating the marketing collateral for the company, which perfectly tied together my Business and Design degrees.

After only a few weeks into my 9-week internship, and as a task and results-oriented worker, I had completed all my work much faster that my supervisor had expected. I was left to participate in self-directed learning. In this time, I read two books, one by the CEO of the company I was at titled “Guide to Starting a Business” and another by the founder of the organisation titled “The Business Coach,” I completed the extra-curricular assessments for the “Emerging Leaders” program for my university and began research into what I planned to do upon completion of my internship and Bachelors.

After spending 9 weeks at a desk Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 6:00pm, I realised that an office job was not for me. My part-time job in Melbourne is at a bridal store, and during my self-directed learning time I found myself coming up with heaps of dress designs! I realised that fashion design and fabrics is where my passion lies and bridal gowns are the pinnacle of this. I came to a wonderful realisation that Fashion Business is what I am passionate about and what I would be willing to do day in and day out.

My internship taught me how to work and communicate with others, and especially on a cross-cultural level. I was able to learn about starting and running a business and discovered in what industry I want to do so. I learnt employability skills and soft skills which will unmeasurably contribute value to my personal, educational and professional development.

Despite the challenges I faced during my internship, I would not exchange them for an easier experience. These challenges, and all other challenges I have faced in my life, have worked together to build a solid foundation for myself both personally and professionally and led me on the path that I am on. I have realised my passion and what I want for my life at just 22 and I consider myself very lucky to already know this. I am very grateful for all the experiences I had in Kuala Lumpur and I will take them with me for the rest of my life.

Winston Tran’s IST-Malaysia + Internship experience

IST-Malaysia + Internship

copyright owned by the author (2017)
copyright owned by the author (2017)

From the moment I landed at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, I instantly felt and saw the differences between life in Malaysia and Australia.

The journey had started off as though I was on a holiday. All I wanted to do was try all the food, explore the active nightlife of Kuala Lumpur and grasp the feeling of travelling overseas for the first time until the reality of working finally arrived. Obviously the excitement did not stop there! I get to finally interact with the local people and find out what life is like in Malaysia! And I definitely learnt some interesting things about where the best night markets are and small tips that greatly help with living in Kuala Lumpur such as knowing how to use the hose in the toilet!

These experiences have made me more open-minded which helped me get by my internship since I had to learn quickly in an area of I.T. I am not so familiar with. This also came with struggles and downfalls which allowed me to gain more knowledge and learn skills that can be used in the future, broadening my technical knowledge while developing maturity as an individual.

Being out of my parent’s reach was one of my biggest worries when heading into the study tour as well! For my entire life, I had always lived with them and have gotten too comfortable receiving support from them. Throughout the trip, just relying on myself had become a thrilling challenge for me. Everyday I would learn how to do day to day activities more proficiently by planning ahead and managing my time.

This particular challenge provided the perfect opportunity to exercise freedom and independence. It allowed me to embrace the foreign culture that is in Malaysia and explore life over there.

Throughout my trip, I met the best people to have ever travelled with; making so many friends and memories that I hope will last a lifetime! It is a shame that I will dearly miss Malaysia and the experience that I have gained from the study tour.

Written by Winston Tran

Claire’s re-entry blog story for IST-Philippines

Claire’s Blog story for IST-Philippines

copyright owned by author 06 02 2017
copyright owned by author 06 02 2017

This bayanihan reflective trigger has sunk deep within the schema of my Australian socio-cultural synapses and continues to resonate through my thinking and actions today and will into the future.

“Bayanihan,” the Tagalog word for active solidarity was captured in glimpses of moments throughout the trip and will continue to impress upon me for the entirety of my lifetime. It is everywhere you look, in both finite and immense proportions and everything in between. Community, and the power of presence are the driver’s seat, where need, kinship and love are under the hood.

From cleaning a thousand duck eggs before breakfast, replanting village crops and sharing what resources we had, as Swinburne Ambassadors these are just some of the engagements that brought us Nexus among not just our own group but those communities with which we shared food, song, dance, solidarity and productivity.

I see solidarity on a global scale swelling. Having travelled over five thousand kilometers I can both see this happening and feel myself a part of it. Though, it was hard to swallow the double edged words of thanks that Tito Tony gave out while still succinctly stating that the rich would never get down out of their comfortability to really help the poor. I imagine he meant the words to inspire the strength to rise within his followers, however I could feel the opportunity for segregation to crawl from it just as much.

How do we find solidarity throughout segregation? Do we promote sections of solidarity and across what lines can solidarity cross and blend? Active solidarity is a rich and complicated emotive action and the depths of what each person gives and receives cannot always be measured. As I recall Tito Tony sitting in the rain with no need or want for an umbrella to affirm his unison with those working a few feet away who had none, I wonder how far does solidarity go? Do I cut off my legs to sit in solidarity with my sister who has lost hers? Or do I use those legs for the both of us? Does that mean I am not in solidarity but in charity? And where does our solidarity lie? How many times can our heart align? Who gets it, when, how and why?

Reflecting on bayanihan, I very much started in a positive spin. I find though that the more I think of it the further my thoughts carry me and not always in a positive light. There are deeper darker depths to where bayanihan can go. The mentality of pushing through, of overworking of not sleeping and eating that can become a damaging detrimental spiral that can and has led to demise. By relating and reasoning I still hold the worth of bayanihan close to my heart, though I believe key to the art of fruitful bayanihan is balancing that bayanihan for the sake of the collective whole as well as each individual.

As far as taking these experiences and thoughts that continue to develop from and around bayanihan and honing it into a marketable and expanding employability skill, it is something each of us do as we interact on a daily basis consciously and unconsciously, the difference, I believe, is the level of understanding of bahaniyan. I personally will continue to immerse myself in different cultures and understandings and practice bayanihan, at each step of my understanding, within each circle of my life.

Written by Claire Dowling (06 02 2017)

Hanna’s story of the IST-Philippines experience.

Hanna’s published story in the Business Mirror (Philippines, 2017)

hanna-pic“I am one of a cohort of group of students from Swinburne University in Melbourne who arrived at the GK Enchanted Farm in Angat, Bulacan, on a study-tour program. I arrived here expecting to learn about social enterprise and a more inclusive approach to doing business, but was not expecting to be considered as an extended member of the Make Peace family, as the founders Anj Mariano-Calungcaguin and Yok Calungcaguin, have welcomed me.

Read more…


Industry Study Tour: In Country Report for Malaysia

It’s almost the end of week four of my nine-week internship. When I first got to Kuala Lumpur, I was immediately charmed by this city – the high-rise buildings, the mix of Indian, Malay and Chinese culture everywhere, the food – everything.

Right on my first Monday here, I started my internship at an auditing firm. My first day interning was as nerve-wracking as you can imagine, but it was good. I am thankful for my colleagues’ friendliness and hospitality as they invited me to lunch on my first day (even to this day we have lunch together)…. me being someone who was introduced to them merely three hours prior. Although it was awkward at the start (which is completely normal), I can say that I made great acquaintances with some of the people at the firm. It is definitely an effort to try to cross a language barrier as well as a cultural barrier; however, it is quite fulfilling to know that despite all the differences, there are things I have in common and can share with them, things that transcend those barriers.

Right from day one, they (Chew & Associates, a chartered accountancy firm based in the Kuala Lumpur CBD) –  gave me work that was relevant to my course, accounting. Accounting involves a lot of practice and trial and error, and I am confident that the training they have provided me in auditing will not only help me in my next year of university, but also in the my future career life.

The internship and study tour experience may be different for each of us participants, but I’m sure at the end of it all, we have valuable experiences that help us grow as individuals.


Joana (seated facing camera third from left) with work colleagues

Written by Joana Alcala

Patrick’s story: Industry Study Tours Philippines

Industry Study Tours: Pre-departure story for Philippines


Engaging in a study tour is something I’ve always been interested in whilst at Uni, the opportunity to experience different cultural values, apply knowledge with international context and participate in a unique way of life was always very appealing. I’ve specifically chosen the Philippines for numerous reasons including my interest in social enterprise and local business, the political environment surrounding enterprise and the backgrounds of the families who have started and sustained these businesses. I’m hoping to explore the unique barriers a business in a developing country might face and understand the disruptive past other countries have played in the formation of this country. As a board member of a fund in the city, I’m intrigued about different communities, potential barriers and economic solutions so I’m also excited to return and apply some of the skills to better the local community.

Having visited a developing country before in 2012 (Timor Leste), I’ve somewhat developed a vague idea of what it may be like however I’m hoping to be surprised with a few different elements. I have the expectation of receiving a genuine experience – To be pushed well outside the comfort zone of the western world and expect a few problematic situations which requires us students to collaborate, think logically and resolve the issue at hand. I expect the students I’m working alongside to be likeminded, passionate and deliver the best possible outcome for our respective enterprises.

I think regardless of my expectations from the trip, I’ll come away with a challenging yet rewarding experience. Personally I would like to learn more about the way I best work in a practical setting and how well I’m able to apply my university knowledge. Undoubtedly communication, teamwork and adapting new cultural values will all present challenges within themselves, however I think it’ll present a stern and demanding learning environment.

Investigating the economics within the Philippines is something I’ve began doing, noting key areas such as consumer electronics and garment production as key exports. It’s an exciting time for the Philippine people with rapid year-on-year GDP growth, however law-enforcement and government corruption may hamper the true effects of the strong and consistent growth.

Written by Patrick Malone (2017)