Over 200 Deakin University students were acknowledged for their international engagement and achievements last week at the 2018 Global Citizenship Awards.
The awards – presented at Melbourne’s iconic Federation Square – saw more than 350 guests in attendance to show their support to the outstanding recipients who had successfully completed Deakin’s Global Citizenship Program (GCP).
Deakin’s GCP program aims to supplement students’ studies with a range of internationally-focused activities and experiences. It is designed to enhance their skills and cultural diversity, and ready them for the global workplace. Participants were recognized for engaging in a combination of globally-focused experiences, including overseas or language study, volunteering in another country, internationally-focused units/internship, and a variety of other activities designed to support international engagement.
Director of Deakin’s Global Student Mobility division Mr Ben Stubbs addressed the audience: ‘The Global Citizenship Program is each year growing bigger and bigger, as well as becoming much more diverse. This, I believe is a credit to you all sitting before me, as students, as parents and as facility and staff of Deakin.
‘In terms of your awards today,’ Mr Stubbs continued, ‘I hope you are able to value this award as a useful stepping stone towards your next career. We hope you will go on from this and from Deakin to be such diverse and internationally-experienced superstars. In fact, that is what I know you all will be.’
GCP award recipient Benjamin Jones shared what he values from his global experiences, which included a trimester studying abroad in the USA and an international internship program in Indonesia.
‘The things we have seen through our international experiences, whilst vastly different, have shaped many of our thoughts and opinions on a variety of different topics. From poverty and wealth, business, the environment, government and so on, our ability to have come from an external environment and develop our knowledge on so many different topics is not something to be taken lightly and not an opportunity many people in the world get.
‘Each of us, regardless of our experiences, has gained insight and perspective into the lives, cultures and societies of others,’ Mr Jones added. ‘It is this shared perspective that has brought many of us together today, and it is this perspective that will enable us to make a positive change to our own lives, and for some, the world.’
International student and GCP award recipient Ashita Kamlesh Gandhi is an active member of the Deakin community as a peer support leader. She assists others with integrating into university life but also found time to complete an internship at Victorian Parliament and an intensive study program in Italy.
‘In August 2017 I received an email about GCP. This email changed the way I decided to complete my journey in Australia and at Deakin. It’s how I became a volunteer and gained courage to apply for overseas programs,’ Ms Gandhi said. ‘If there comes an opportunity to go and travel then do it. Studying abroad was an experience that changed my perception about life and I did not know that the student who arrived at Deakin in 2017 would not be the same student leaving at the end of my degree.’