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.
The Future Leaders Program to China has been a very valuable experience, which has enabled me to reflect on my professional skills and my personal self. Being able to experience another culture, especially one that is ever-changing yet historically grounded was incredible. I also had the opportunity to work with and get to know some very great people in the process as well.
Developing my employability skills around good planning and collaboration were important aspects of the trip. During the trip, there were many opportunities to collaborate and communicate with my colleagues. By taking the initiative to go on our own adventures, to places like the Summer Palace, we were able to collaborate and learn together.
Just being able to keep track of each other while also really making the effort to navigate through the public transport system and learn together was collaboration at its best for the trip. We did it with little aid and it was a great experience.
In many professional settings, it is essential to be good at collaborating with groups and working autonomously to achieve outcomes. We built a formidable trust with one another, journeyed together and looked after each other in an uncertain and to us, a foreign environment.
Industry Study Tours Blog Post – written by Charlotte Bray
I was beyond thrilled when I found out that I’d been accepted into the Future Leaders Program Study Tour to China. Travel of any kind always presents an incomparable opportunity for learning and personal growth. I’ve been lucky enough to travel to Beijing before, though not since 2005, and Shanghai would be a whole new experience.
Once the initial shock and excitement wore off though, the nerves started to set in. I would be travelling with twenty-three other students from various disciplines. Bunking together, working on assessment tasks, exploring the cities, facing all the inevitable challenges of being thrown into another culture. As a textbook introvert, and someone with a history of social anxiety, I began to question my decision to apply for the program in the first place. We’re all in the same boat, I reassured myself. Perhaps everyone’s got the same concerns.
So I threw myself into the elements I could control: payments, visas, making sure all the right boxes were ticked, and all the right pages were signed. With all those jobs done, I focused on exams, although apprehension about the social side of the trip was always at the back of my mind. What would the other people be like? Would we have anything in common? Would I even slightly fit in with the group? And hang on, shouldn’t I be meeting them soon? The trip’s only a couple of weeks away!
Then I found out that there’d been some technical glitch in the Blackboard system that had failed to enrol me in the site properly, and that I’d missed out on several weeks of announcements, preparation, and – oh no! – the pre-departure workshop! The information, I could catch up on. The academic stuff? I’d get it done. But the thought of everyone meeting for the first time at that all-important workshop was excruciating. We were no longer in the same boat. I’d been left behind on the dock.
I knew that this trip would present me with challenges, but I had no idea that they’d begin before I’d even left.
The animation industry is a reasonably competitive field, one where international collaboration is often a given. This is the industry I wish to work in, but I grew up in a small town in Regional Tasmania, to say we weren’t exposed to many other cultures would be an understatement. I have travelled a bit and I like to think I have gained a greater perspective on the richness of the world, but I undoubtedly have a long way to go in the never-ending goal of immersing in the cultures of the world. So as a creative student much of what excites me about this trip, and hopefully what I can focus a lot of my time on will be developing a cultural understanding of China, from its people, to its stories, history and mythology, to its design, art, music, architecture and theatre, everything that makes up the unique visual and cultural identity of China. The culture of China in particular is of value to me, as my ancestor’s on my grandmother’s side originate from there and this is a part of my own cultural identity I have never explored.
I’d also like to research the issues and needs of China and it’s most vulnerable people and how I, working in media can make their needs known to people back home in Australia, or overseas, to advocate for a positive change to the lives of those in need.
As an animation student my focus is on visuals, and creative communication, I haven’t a head for business and personally have little patience for technical writing or research. I believe I will be able to cope with adjusting to a new country, having travelled abroad to numerous places before, and I am confident I can make new friends and be at ease during the Study Tour. My real worry is reflective writing, and presenting projects on unfamiliar topics to a satisfactory standard.
The silence was becoming more and more worrying. I’d been told that at some point there would be a “pre-departure workshop” and there would be various assignments. But with less than two weeks until the plane took off, I was hearing nothing about anything. Was someone just really unorganised? Was it all going to happen the weekend before the plane took off? And then, out of the blue, on Swinburne’s Blackboard Study Portal, all the information appeared. Lots and lots of information, information published weeks ago. Someone in an office had the job of clicking a checkbox next to the name “Daniel”. That someone had not succeeded in their job. I happen to be that “Daniel”, I study Software Development at Swinburne, and I’m participating in the Future Leader’s Program Study Tour to China.
Scrolling through the Blackboard information was an incredibly stressful experience. A huge assignment which everybody else had known about for a month was due in a couple of days. I was behind in the first two phases of activities. I had missed the essential full-day pre-departure workshop. This caused me to receive a grade of 0 for the first assessment task. Zero. I couldn’t remember ever receiving a grade of 0 for anything. What’s more, my visa still hadn’t been processed. With failed assessments and no visa, it was looking more and more likely that I wouldn’t be going to China.
I’ve always been someone who is afraid to ask questions, afraid to ask people for help. Overwhelmed with anxiety, wiping away tears, I reasoned that there was no other way about it. I would have to drop out of the program.
I had really been looking forward to it. I’ve never been outside Australia. I’ve learned some basic Mandarin and was curious about what the immersion experience would do this skill. I was interested in seeing how people in China use technology and software, and I was curious about how a multi-disciplinary team such as the one I would be a part of would work. And as I reflected, I suddenly knew that the experience the tour would give me was irreplaceable. I arranged a meeting with one of the unit convenors. I had never done that before.
He was understanding. He briefly walked me through what I had missed in the workshop. My non-attendance won’t be counted against me. I was given information about the imminent assessment, and a small extension. And he told me that nobody had their visa yet.
I calmed down. All I needed to do was read through the information I’d missed, find some time to throw something together for the pre-departure assignments, collect my visa, and the trip would be on. And when I was actually on that international plane, my first, flying out of Australia and across the ocean, the most difficult part of the whole trip would be over, surely?
My name is Alyssa Sacris, studying Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology and Forensic Science), where I am participating in the Industry Study to Tour to China within the Future Leaders Program.
Recently this year, I travelled for the first time independently to Japan and France, and it was after arriving that I truly was caught with the “travel bug”. I was intrigued and fascinated by learning and experiencing the differences in cultures, lifestyle, food, and people, in which I was longing to see more parts of the world. This is what led me to the quick decision to visit China as well.
China will be no different in offering a new cultural experience, especially in terms of being exposed to the business side in which the study tour involves. I hope to develop my communication skills, both in interacting with students who I have not met before, and with the Chinese people. In particular, I want to learn about certain customs and the way that respect is shown. In Japan, I was often not aware of certain behaviours such as eating in public, which is seen as disrespectful. This is one of the challenges I will be faced with, in terms of being unaware of the little cultural differences of Australia to China. It will be a challenge to adapt to a vastly different culture in a short amount of time, but interacting with the locals and doing research can overcome this problem.
There is little I know about China, and broadening my knowledge about people from different cultures is important to me for a future career in Psychology. Gaining as much knowledge as I can about various cultures will ensure I can tailor my approach to helping individuals in a way that they can best feel understood.
I have completed a Bachelor of Business – Public Relations and applied for the study tour in Malaysia to challenge myself personally and professionally. From an employability skills development perspective, I particularly wanted to improve my business literacy of the PR industry and develop my intercultural communication skills. Key employability skills sought by the industry include high level written and verbal communication abilities to convey messages, research skills to inform approach and creativity to reach and engage target publics.
The PR skill-set is multi-faceted and any individual task will be influenced by the demands and expectations of the stakeholders for whom you both represent and the ones for whom achieving the PR objectives rely. While such tasks may differ, for example, internal communications within an enterprise versus publicity campaigns aimed at business promotion, they are always influenced by a need to proactively maintain relationships. As I found myself working within a newly formed team of people within a foreign workplace, I realised that perhaps more importantly, maintaining positive relationships within the workplace is vitally as important as those with external stakeholders. While the benefits of a harmonious workplace may sound obvious, I had previously thought it either occurred or it didn’t, and that as an individual I could not really influence my attitudes towards its existence.
Time pressures, multiple clients and competing deadlines left little time for my colleagues to provide me with any guidance. Naturally, I found myself in a daunting predicament. While learning to adjust to a new job and a foreign culture I was able to utilise reflective practice to assess the expectations of those around me and adjust to the requirements of individual tasks through identifying and evaluating previous methodologies. More importantly, I was able to use reflective practice to assess my own attitudes and approaches. This helped me to identify the motivations of those around me as I sought to understand where I fit in and how I could best contribute, and provided guidance for my future conduct.
As my experience during my internship in Malaysia has shown, professional development and employability skills attainment within varying disciplines relies on a common approach. That is, through maintaining our business literacy, being accountable for the work we do, and in developing a positive attitude. During my internship, I developed my business literacy skills through gaining an insight into how a PR agency responds to client briefs and develops media coverage strategies for a diverse corporate clientele. My professional development can also benefit from ongoing reflective practice that supports integrating prior knowledge and experience with a professional approach. Such evaluative efforts should be rewarded with greater confidence in my professional abilities, enhance understanding of my academic discipline, and improve my productivity through acknowledging and cultivating integral workplace relationships.
On reflection, my internship was very challenging but I believe the experience I have gained has improved my PR business literacy and will be transferable to my ongoing professional development as I integrate the theory I have learned in my studies with the reflective practice skills I have learned.