Whilst walking to my car after finishing my classes for the day at Deakin’s Burwood campus, an email popped up on my phone advertising the New Colombo Plan scholarship program. I’d been looking into undertaking a semester abroad, and it felt as though the stars were aligning as I read more about the opportunity.
The New Colombo Plan scholarship program is important and powerful for Australia and its future. Deepening Australia’s relationship with the Indo-Pacific region has profound benefits for all involved.
I have always loved learning about different cultures and exploring the world. Since I was little, I have dreamt of living overseas, and I am beyond excited to be able to immerse myself in Cambodia and then Hong Kong whilst pursuing my passion for psychology. It will be fascinating to gain a more international perspective on psychology; learning what is happening in my field not only in Australia but in Cambodia and Hong Kong as well.
I visited Cambodia in January 2018 and was instantly captivated by the country, and have wanted to return ever since. Its rich cultural heritage, extremely inspirational individuals and complicated history sparked my desire to better understand and to contribute to positive change within their communities. With the World Health Organisation reporting nearly a quarter of the Cambodian population to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, the importance of mental health work is undeniable.
My program will start with two months of intensive, full-time Khmer language training. This in itself is an amazing opportunity, not only better equipping me for the practicalities of living there but offering further insight into their culture. I will then be studying for a trimester at the Paññāsāstra University of Cambodia. I hope to undertake two internships in clinical psychology organisations, one in Cambodia and the other in Hong Kong.
My experience of studying Psychology at Deakin has been amazing. The core units have given me a foundation in understanding psychological processes and human behaviour, including influences such as personality, social factors and motivation. The electives have allowed me to explore deeper into my interest areas. A few of my other favourite electives thus far have been Coaching and Counselling for Behaviour Change, Offering Insight into Techniques Used in Practice, and Applied Health Psychology. The highlight for me has been learning about the bidirectional relationship between the body and mind.
I have had the incredible opportunity to gain practical work experience while completing my degree by working as an applied behavioural analysis (ABA) therapist. Deakin’s flexible timetabling and the option to watch lectures and seminars online has profoundly helped to make this possible. Following my current degree, I hope to complete a master’s in clinical psychology and become a registered psychologist.
I’ve always wanted to pursue a career that allows me to make a meaningful difference in peoples’ lives. I can’t imagine a better job than getting to genuinely connect with others and empower them to live life to its fullest. We see the world through lenses that reflect our internal environment. Healing this internal environment not only affects how we feel, but also how we behave, therefore shaping our lives and ultimately the world around us.
For further information about studying at Deakin and to view the many degrees on offer, visit our international student page.