There’s no better way to learn about the world we live in than to immerse yourself in it, as QUT property economics students discovered when they came face-to-face with Hong Kong’s housing crisis.
Fourteen property economics students were part of a two-week short-term mobility program where they learnt about the country’s heritage and the details surrounding its housing affordability problem.
“Going to Hong Kong was a life-changing experience for me,” QUT student Joshua Barrett said.
“I was exposed to a range of exciting and rewarding challenges which has improved my self-awareness and communication skills, especially with non-English speaking people.
“This is something I would never have learnt if I didn’t give it a go.”
Senior Lecturer in QUT’s School of Civil Engineering and Built Environment Dr Connie Susilawati is one of the academics who carefully crafts overseas experiences for students to help them get the most of out of their degree.
Thanks to QUT’s connections, Dr Susilawati and her students were able to network with large industry members, such as the Hong Kong Housing Society, who offer the unique opportunity to learn about housing issues in a real-world context.
“My goal is to expose students to things they would never have experienced if they had travelled on their own,” Dr Susilawati said.
“Hong Kong is ranked last for housing affordability and yet only 25% of the land is being used for development.
“I want students to come away from this program understanding why this is the case and knowing how to prevent Australia from falling into a similar problem.”
In her classes, Dr Susilawati urges students to consider the career opportunities that can come out of international exchange.
“Students should take the opportunity to experience real-world learning whenever they can,” she said.
“When a company looks at a resume, they want to know what that individual learnt at university and what they were you exposed to.
“The benefits of international exchange for students and their future is immeasurable.”
Every year hundreds of QUT students travel overseas creating valuable life experiences and immersing themselves in diverse cultures as part of their studies.
Chelsie Kumar (below) was one of those students.
“Travelling the world is something I always dreamed of,” Ms Kumar said.
“I travelled to many countries while continuing my degree on a 12-month exchange, built networks with people from different cultures and engaged in different learning methods.”
QUT supports many students who want to undertake overseas trips, with bursaries and scholarships, including through the New Colombo Plan (NCP).
The NCP is an initiative of the Australian Government to support undergraduate students participating in student mobility programs in the Indo-Pacific region.
Benjamin Cox, Senior International Student Mobility Officer for QUT International, encourages students to think about joining an international exchange program.
“Students have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience new cultures and develop a certain skillset through programs like the NCP,” Mr Cox said.
“They can work with the Engineers without Borders program to assist rural communities or develop a professional-level skillset through internships in well-known companies overseas.