International exposure advantageous when starting future career

October 5, 2017

Global exposure: Students, like Bobbette (third from right) will use the international learning experience to start their careers off on the right foot.

Murdoch University engineering students will use an engaging overseas educational experience to advance their prospective careers.

10 students, from Murdoch's School of Engineering and Information Technology, had the unique opportunity to venture to Cambodia for two weeks with other Australian undergraduates to participate in the Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Humanitarian Design Summit.

EWB is an educational study tour designed to give students the opportunity to gain global exposure, get practical experience and develop a deeper understanding of how they can use their engineering skills to create positive change within communities.

Bobbette Herold – a part-time Murdoch University electrical engineering student who also works in the mining industry – went to Cambodia after receiving funding through the New Colombo Plan. She said the experience helped to prepare all the Murdoch participants for the future workforce.

“The trip blew me away and defined why I am at Murdoch studying electrical engineering,” Bobbette said.

“If you are a student who has not been in the workplace before, this eye-opening experience will give you the grounding and understanding that will help your career go far.

“By starting out your career collaborating with others, like we did in Cambodia, you will go into work with a completely open mind, which will ensure you start your career off on the right foot.”

Through the EWB Humanitarian Design Summit, the students immersed themselves in Cambodian culture, travelling from Phnom Penh by bus, then riverboat on the Mekong River, to a remote island homestay at a village with limited resources.

They met with representatives from developing communities to learn about appropriate technology and humanitarian engineering. The students from across Australia also combined ideas to propose solutions to assist the local villagers.

Among the knowledge-sharing and unique experiences like rice planting in the fields, the highlight for Bobbette was sleeping in a small Cambodian village house for five days, an experience she described as “heartwarming”.

“The villagers were just lovely. They did not have much, but what they had they were very proud of,” she said.

“By walking into a community with people far less better off, you instantly think ‘How can I help?’

“By observing, understanding and respecting other cultures and looking at a situation through an empathetic lens, it enables you to promote an idea that respects different cultural backgrounds.

“I am really looking forward to helping the next generations to transition from old ways to innovative new approaches so every person, industry, animal, environment, culture and race stands a chance at working together for a lot longer.”

Bobbette is also a 2016 Newmont Boddington Gold Scholar, receiving the Newmont Kalyagool Kadadjiny Scholarship.

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