Educating worldly wise graduates
by Kelly Stone
Having an international perspective is increasingly significant in societies that are much more intimately connected than at any other time in history and UniSA is making it core business to prepare its students for work and life in our global community.
Last month, about 150 UniSA students attended the Student Exchange Fair designed to encourage Australian students to spend some of their study years off shore and at the same time the Learning and Teaching Unit is working to ensure that in a key area of global interface, students of the Bachelor of Tourism Management are internationally focussed.
Teaching and Learning Dean, Associate Professor Betty Leask, initiated a review of international and intercultural perspectives (graduate quality seven) across the tourism and event management program. The project, conducted by Academic Developer Dr Amanda Daly in conjunction with course coordinators, was funded through an Australian Learning and Teaching Council grant.
“The teaching team recognises the importance for tourism graduates to be prepared to work and live in the global community,” says Prof Leask.
“The review revealed that across the program, individual courses are developing students’ knowledge, attitude and skills, emphasising the ability to analyse and apply cultural differences. Various courses readily offer opportunity for development of international perspectives, while students are also encouraged to enrol in the Global Experience professional development course.
“The program team is now revising content in all courses to extend students’ abilities to reflect and self-evaluate their interactions in varying cultural contexts and their ability to value and employ complex skill sets in cross-cultural interactions.
“Both teaching and learning practice and assessment will be modified to ensure that upon completion of the program, students will demonstrate international perspectives as a professional and a citizen.”
Final year Tourism Management student Renee Bleakley, 23, believes her degree has equipped her well for her future career.
“I’d ultimately like to work in a cultural tourism or ecotourism role,” Renee says.
“No job is isolated anymore; I think you definitely need an international perspective with anything you do. It’s important with any job to understand and appreciate different cultures and ways of life. I’m currently doing the Global Experience professional development course which has exposed me to many new people and ideas and I’ve learnt a lot.”
Meanwhile, UniSA student Jed Harley – who went on exchange to the University of Calgary – was on-hand to talk to students at the Student Exchange Fair held at City West Campus on April 28.
Jed, 27, who is studying a Bachelor of Applied Finance, says his semester-long exchange to Calgary has definitely helped his studies.
“It really broadened my view of the global economic environment,” he says.
He was assisted by Canadian Tamara Fawcett, who is currently on exchange at UniSA. She is studying Health Science here this semester, before heading home to complete her degree at the University of Calgary.
The University of Calgary was one of four partner institutions and other organisations represented at the Fair, facilitated by UniSA International.
Student Mobility Coordinator Karen English says being part of the Australian Exchange Fair circuit demonstrates UniSA’s commitment to student mobility and to building and fostering partner relationships.
“Student mobility is seen as an important indicator of a university’s commitment to internationalisation, including curriculum, partnership building and providing our students with an international outlook,” she says.
“More recently UniSA has broadened the range of mobility opportunities to provide greater and more targeted support for research mobility, increasing the level and scope of funding for outbound students and providing greater diversity of mobility options for students.
“Students are able to experience new customs and cultures, build international networks and friends, improve language and intercultural communication skills, and set themselves apart from other graduates.”