Category Archives: 2017

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

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)

Claire’s story: Industry Study Tours Philippines

Industry Study Tours: Philippines

Open Source Copyright for image (2017)

I want to strive to make an impact in social structures. I believe social enterprise is where I will find flow. I very much admire and emulate the same values such as Jarryd Burns, Justine and Daniel Flynn’s Thank you, Simon, Jehan and Danny’s Who Gives A Crap, Sam Prince’s Zambrero, and Blake Mycoskie’s Tom’s.

I grew up terribly embarrassed that I was the poor kid, the kid from the broken family, though the broken bit was true as far as the poor conception went, I was far from the truth. I’m more grateful these days and relish the rich supportive family that I have. We were not well off, (we were five kids living under a single parent income), and I did struggle with my family structure but I think now how lucky I was to even have the time to feel embarrassed when there are so many kids out there who are preoccupied with fulfilling their basic human needs of warmth, food, water and shelter. Everyone should have the resources to not only survive but thrive. These children (and adults), who do not have the luxury of fresh clean drinking water flowing at the twist of a wrist, or enough food let alone a choice of an abundant variety of foods that I enjoy, they all play an important factor in my motivation. They have been on my mind for a very long time. Everyday we make choices, and if those choices can go on to impact people positively we strengthen and nourish not just ourselves but our world.

Thriving economies need you within them to look after those around you, your circle. I also believe it is important for that circle to move and look after other circles. I admire and I am humbled by a lot of people. Two of these people also have ties to the Philippines, after travelling there some time ago. My friends Callum and Josephine are completely committing to each other for life in January, mid study tour in the Philippines. I was upfront enough to question the possibility of using days in lieu to do both and astonished and filled with possibility when Dr Rachael accepted my request.

Another Filipino wedding last year found me very well looked after, and it left me curious to learn about how the Filipino leaders are positively impacting and looking after people and the environment. I love what GK enchanted farms have created, turning what was once a wasteland into a thriving hub for conscious, adaptable and aware people. I would love to see it first hand and share with those seeking to do the same, my enthusiastic, facilitating and active nature. I know the business summit will have vital nutrients to build, sustain, and grow.

High expectations that I hold are of meeting and being surrounded by positive, forthright people wanting to construct, cultivate and sustain our world and I want to know if I am one of those people that can be a source of inspiration, comfort or support. I also want to know whether I have the fortitude to follow through on the many bright ideas this trip is sure to give me, and how I can hold myself accountable to do just that.

Written by Claire Cherie Dowling (2017)