Bronson: Campus B Indigenous Rights & History in Brazil

I had the pleasure of taking part in the ‘Indigenous Rights and History in Brazil’ virtual programme over the mid-semester break. Unfortunately thanks to the coronavirus we weren’t able to physically travel to Brazil, which I would have absolutely loved. Nevertheless, getting to learn about the indigenous experience and being able to contrast that with Maori rights here in New Zealand was an interesting and eye opening experience. At first there was a disconnect with the other programme participants as everything was online, but the in person cooking workshop and café visit helped me to build some rapport with my peers, whose company I genuinely enjoyed.

The workshops were interesting and given by some accomplished individuals; one of my group mates found out on the last day that one of our mentors actually sat next to Greta Thunberg when she gave her UN speech that went viral! We discussed both historical and topical issues, and it gave me a lot of perspective on the world. In addition to the workshops, we also had to develop a project that helped to further the cause of the non-profit the programme was working with (IEB). This gave me the opportunity to work with some Brazilian university students, which was a great experience culturally.

Unfortunately the programme casts a light on just how tragic the indigenous experience is for all native peoples around the world, but knowledge is power and being able to create a project that could help in fighting the good fight was extremely fulfilling. Being surrounded by people whose work is to fight for justice is both inspirational and empowering, and the programme is a great insight into the work that these people do.

Overall, the programme was a fulfilling experience both for the mind and soul. Being able to learn about history beyond the Anglosphere and a little bit about Brazilian culture was eye opening (and reignited my love for Brigadeiros!), and to be a part of something that is so much bigger than me definitely makes me feel empowered. As a law student, it reiterates for me personally why I chose to study law in the first place, and that was to fight the good fight.

Fall Virtual Internship 2021 -

Anastasia: First weeks in Melbourne

Hey everyone!

At the time of writing, I have now been in Melbourne for three weeks. However, I have to say, it feels like a lot less than that.

I came over two weeks before the semester started to have a chance to explore the city and meet the people in my dorm before I got stuck into studying-for-hours-and-not-looking-up-from-the-screen. Unfortunately, COVID stayed true to its history of derailing plans, and the whole state of Victoria went into lockdown only a few days after I arrived. By that time, I have only managed to move into my dorm, unpack and visit a few places around the CBD area where my dorm is, assuming I would have plenty of time for exploration before the semester begins.

Lockdown is seldom fun, and it is even less so in a new city, in a tiny studio apartment and no friends… Right? Well, yes. But it turned out the situation had a few positives too. The usually always busy streets of CBD emptied, and I got to enjoy undisturbed views of the city on my daily walk. In my two hours of outdoor exercise a day, I have managed to explore the allowed 5km radius from my dorm in every direction. I spent more time walking along the Yarra river than I would care to count, and visited every park in my vicinity (my favourite being Fitzroy Gardens). By the end of lockdown, I have gotten to know the city well enough to finally be able to confidently navigate the streets without Google Maps. So to my surprise, the lockdown passed quickly and semi-productively (which, unfortunately, I can’t say about my time in lockdowns last year in NZ).

And now that the city is open, I can finally visit the museums and art galleries that I have been longing to see and stop by the countless cafes and coffee shops that Melbourne is famous for. My favourite cafe so far is Flovie – a florist/cafe serving very instagrammable breakfasts and brunches (which happen to be delicious, too). The only thing is, I now have to balance my tourism with university.

Cafe Flovie: flower arrangements everywhere😍

Speaking of university, the semester started last week! I quickly realised two of my courses were a little different to what I was expecting. So, I spent most of the week communicating with the exchange office and course coordinators to get myself into the correct courses. Luckily, the exchange advisor, Borbara, is both incredibly helpful and very efficient, so by the time Friday came around, I got enrolled in all my courses and was ready to do a lot of catch up over the weekend.

To my surprise, the courses are a lot more challenging than I expected. One subject, object-oriented programming, started with us getting Java revision exercises. I thought I’d find these a breeze given that I already know Java pretty well, but to my surprise, they were difficult – a lot harder than the stuff I did last semester. I spent the majority of the week working on these, which was surprisingly fun – there’s no better feeling than when your program suddenly starts working after you’ve been debugging it for hours and hours.

Another upside of study here is that Melbourne University uses the same Canvas LMS system as UoA for course content, quizzes and assignments. This means I don’t have to spend time familiarizing myself with a different system, as the interface is familiar and I already know the logistics of taking a quiz or uploading an assignment. Given how much I have quickly needed to learn since coming here, I’m welcoming anything familiar with open arms.

All in all, my first few weeks in Melbourne have been a whirlwind. There were some highs and some lows, and some surprises along the way too. However, I cannot be more excited for the rest of the semester – hopefully, classes will go back off-line, and I’ll get to meet some of my classmates in person. But until then, I am enjoying getting to know people in my dorm, visiting the most touristy cafes in Melbourne, and spending hours looking for a bug in my code.

Until next time,
Anastasia

Ahona: CIS Social Media

I was thrilled when I discovered that I had been selected to participate in the CIS Behind, Beneath and Beyond Social Media virtual program! I’m incredibly grateful to the 360 International Team for funding me and allowing me to take part in this, as I believe this program imparts crucial skills and knowledge required to understand many of the technological advancements expected to be seen in the future, along with their various implications.

As we all know, new technologies and digital transformation have impacted countless facets within our society, contributing to growing changes in our daily lives. Most of us expect the coming decades to witness great scientific breakthroughs, many of which we have read about in science fiction novels. While these technologies can be used to make our lives easier, there are valid ethical concerns being raised in regards to such inventions coming into common usage. In the age of surveillance capitalism, where powerful entities exploit our personal data for financial gain, there’s no telling how technologies of the future will be used and for what malicious purposes. It’s evident that technological developments in the coming half-century will forever change life as we know it. All of these anxieties, hopes and predictions of the future, along with what’s going on in our current technological reality were highlighted in this virtual program.

Over the span of 2 weeks, we had to attend 8 different sessions with experts from all across the world, who spoke to us about their unique experiences in their respective lines of work. As a result, each session was a deep dive into a specific aspect of social media and/or technology, allowing us to gain fascinating insights into the world of tech. A great thing about this program is the fact that there are no assignments, therefore you’re given the opportunity to simply listen and learn from a group of amazing people who have had years of experience in their fields and will impart invaluable knowledge.

Themes of the sessions ranged from topics including artificial intelligence, ethics, data, cybersecurity, neuroscience, cyborgism, biohacking, posthumanism and so much more. Following every session, we were sent a list of resources recommended by the guest speakers so as to acquire a better understanding of their presentations. We also participated in a number of engaging activities that were designed to help us really absorb all of these new and challenging ideas.

Overall, this was an amazing experience that allowed me to learn a great deal about what to expect in the future in terms of technology, along with ways I can protect myself in the age of surveillance capitalism. It’s so important to listen to various new perspectives about a future that will affect us all. No matter what your academic focus is, I highly encourage anyone who wants to participate in this virtual program to do so. Not only will it help further your academic, professional and personal development, you will also obtain knowledge that will help you prepare for the future of technology.

Behind, Beneath & Beyond Social Media | CISaustralia

Shivali: CIS Social Media

Social media is a central part of all of our lives. Collectively, we spend hours on social media without understanding the extent of information we provide and the extent of information provided to us. This virtual programme was well structured to provide students with valuable insight into social media and technology. Sessions ranged from a US militant’s personal experience to neuroscience. I am now better able to understand that social media is more than an app. I understand what happens when you post a photo online, why websites recommend specific products and the dangers behind social media. This knowledge helps me understand the risks, and allows me to make better decisions to stay safe online.

Although this programme was online, it was very interactive. We were able to ask questions, complete various activities and work in groups. Being able to work in groups allowed us to share ideas and think collaboratively. The final session was exciting because it was held on Virbela. This is an automated open campus where students create their avatars and watch the session in an online classroom. Through this different software, the programme remained interesting and innovative over the two weeks. A skill that I have developed throughout this programme is the ability to think exponentially. Things are changing rapidly in this world. We need to develop an analytical mindset to solve challenges before they grow into detrimental problems. It is no longer enough to approach problems in a linear manner.

I intend to pursue a career in the legal and business profession, and exponential thinking will help me solve complex problems. Cybercrime has increased due to the rise of technology and technological expertise. This programme taught me how people could steal our identities with very little information. With this knowledge, I will advise my clients better and protect the people around me. Also, with a better understanding of the logistics of social media, I can develop effective marketing campaigns and reach the target audience.

I highly recommend that students from all departments get involved in this experience. Not only does it grow your knowledge, but it is also an opportunity to advance your interpersonal skills. You will be able to collaborate with like-minded peers from different departments. You will also work with mentors from different areas of the world we may never otherwise have an opportunity to speak to. A virtual programme is also a convenient way to participate within the comfort of your own home. This was a fantastic opportunity, and I thank the team for this experience.

Behind, Beneath & Beyond Social Media | CISaustralia

Lauren: UBC Copyediting and Proofreading

This 6 week remote learning course provided a huge range of information, tips and techniques for how to become a better editor. The class was taught live over Zoom, and this was a great experience because we could discuss issues in real time, and connect with other students and working professionals from Canada and New Zealand. 

We first explored the role of the structural editor – someone who looks at the big picture, how the piece flows as a whole – then the copyeditor – someone who fact checks, looks at syntax, and other small scale issues – and then finally the proofreader – someone who checks the minute details such as spelling and proper punctuation. The course was very clearly structured and every class built on the previous. We had a variety of exercises – many of which seemed simple enough at the beginning but we slowly revealed the huge number of ways editing can trip you up. Some exercises we completed in small groups or twos, and some we took home and finished for the next class. 

Frances, our instructor, has an astonishing amount of insight, experience and knowledge into the editing process. She is an author herself, and has done a wide variety of editing from industry manuals, to young adult mystery novels. Because of this she had insight into the various ways you must approach a project – from the clarity of a set of instructions, to the need to keep the voice of an author in an opinion piece. Frances had an answer to every single question we had! Even though often the answer was, ‘it depends…’. In fact, this turned out to be the biggest challenge of the course. I went into it expecting to learn a strict set of rules that I could apply to my, and other peoples, writing. When in fact I learned that so much of these rules are contextual, or dependent on the style or rules of the work that you are editing. I learned how important it is to always refer back to the style guide, or to have open communication with the author. 

Overall, I learned so much and thoroughly enjoyed having such an experienced mentor to discuss questions and interpretations with. We were encouraged to ask many questions, and much of the class was dedicated to discussion. My only advice to future students is to be open minded to many different answers and interpretations to editing questions! 

University of British Columbia (UBC) - Directory - Art & Education

Cameron: CIS Social Media

This course consisted of eight online lectures of 2 – 3 hours each in duration, covering topics such as AI, social media algorithms, security, VR, and futurism. Personally, I used to be into futurism and new technologies, but over time I lost hope for the future as disasters like climate change become worse. But it’s important to remember that technology is still developing and that we are on the cusp of some revolutionary shifts.

One of the ideas stressed by many of the speakers was the idea of exponential growth – to model both technological innovation and spread of ideas in an online space. One of the things I appreciated was how these technologies were shown to be important to everyday life; previously when I heard about stuff like AI or transhumanism, they sounded very far-flung and not worthy of discussion outside of hypothetical situations. Listening to speakers who specialise in these areas, as well as the question and answer segments, showed me that these are quickly growing areas that will soon pervade our society.

Ethics was also a prevalent topic for discussion – including ownership of data, disinformation, political propaganda, and personhood. Understanding how social media operates and how it can manipulate you is very important for today’s society – where targeted advertising can bit by bit change people’s opinions and have real world effects. I try to avoid algorithmic social medias, and learning more about this only made me more determined to protect myself from them. I signed up for this course because I am a content creator on social media and wanted to understand how to manage my use of it more efficiently.

My one big takeaway was how much of a problem disinformation is – and how vulnerable I might be to it when it is framed as aligning with my political opinions or coming from a content creator or community I enjoy. I am definitely taking this on board going forward. Something I found very interesting was the exploration of how more futuristic sounding technologies would change humanity’s very identity, with topics such as postgenderism, posthumanism and cyborgism being explored. The rules and regulations, as well as its overall accountability to the public, surrounding the technologies of today will surely influence how we grow and develop in the future. Understanding how humanity may change long-term can help us figure out which direction we want to go in, and how we can get there starting today.

Behind, Beneath & Beyond Social Media | CISaustralia

Tayla-Lee: ISEP Service Learning in Barcelona

I was lucky enough to volunteer at the Ibo Foundation with Anahita. The Ibo Foundation is a beautiful non-profit organization that works to help those who live on the island of Ibo. The main values that the foundation focuses on are female empowerment, relief work, children education and nutrition.

My main tasks were to assist in monetary funds by seeking out donors, creating a social media plan and designing a new project proposal. I sought out donors by researching potential foundations that donate money to smaller NGO’s, then checking their values aligned with Ibo’s. I then made a document collected with all this information to make applying easier for Anahita. I created a social media plan showcasing the importance of building your brand through consistent images, promotion of logos and using unique designs through software called Canva. My final project is designing a new project to propose to the donors that I found. The project I chose was to create self-care packages for the women of Ibo. The idea behind this is to promote self-confidence and the opportunity for sustainable business ideas to have ongoing packages available. These packages look to include period-proof underwear, shampoo and conditioner bars, and essential oil perfumes. Each of these taught me something new about how non-profit organizations operate and allowed me to explore new opportunities to enhance my skills in those fields. I was also able to continue learning Spanish through my conversations with Anahita.

The key takeaways I had from this experience is an acknowledgement of how effective these foundations are and how much work goes into helping these areas. I also took away a newfound knowledge of Spanish culture especially the culture in Barcelona which I will always hold with me. I learnt a lot about issues they have to face in Ibo with terrorism and struggling with communication. Ibo is such a small island and suffers greatly so for me being able to learn and adapt to the situation there has been tough but also eye-opening. I learnt how important intercultural communication is in facilitating healthy and comfortable relationships between one another. I learnt personally how vital it is that I am learning a language and how this is going to benefit me widely in my chosen area of politics. I also learnt the importance of skills such as confidence and the value of a good work ethic. I found myself enjoying the work I was doing for the Ibo Foundation, and putting a lot of passion into it. The best part of this experience was meeting Anahita and getting to know her as well as the foundation she works for.

Doing any experience online is always going to be challenging and I wish I could have been in Barcelona however, in these times I am so grateful to have learnt the new online learning skills that I have. I would advise future students to do research about their foundation before starting and get in contact with the previous intern and this helped me so much. Researching about the Ibo Foundation helped with all of the tasks I had and allowed me to execute them to the standards of the Foundation.

University of Auckland – ISEP Study Abroad

Jessica: AFS NZ Global Competence Certificate

Like many fellow students, I’ve missed out on studying abroad due to the pandemic. That being said, understanding how to be a global citizen is still vital, and participating in AFS Global Competency will help develop the knowledge and skills for when the world starts moving again. Before applying, I read many excellent recommendations from AFS Intercultural Programs, and I’m so thrilled the 360 International Team facilitated this opportunity. Thank you to everyone!

The AFS Global Competence Certificate is an 18 module video-based learning program that develops intercultural competencies and helps students deal with cultural adjustments, such as self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and bridging across differences, to name a few. All key educational goals are essential to navigate today’s diverse world, whether you are preparing for a semester abroad, a global internship, or want to stand out in the job market where diversity and cultural intelligence are essential. An online discussion board complimented these videos with both past and current students from the program, as well as live discussions facilitated by Rosie, a fantastic lecturer from Massey who made sure us students from all over the world were included in sharing our thoughts and opinions with the group.

One of the more compelling modules (in my opinion!) was learning about stereotypes versus generalisations – while stereotypes are harmful and often damaging simplified descriptions of people from different cultures, generalisations help us prepare for an appropriate first encounter. For example, individuals from individualistic cultures and collectivistic cultures often value different things. They have very distinct social frameworks, similar to how conflict in hierarchical cultures differs from egalitarian cultures. It was also interesting to learn about different common communication styles between cultures. High context communicators read between the lines, are non-verbal and direct, and may need to build trust to communicate directly. Low context communicators express straightforwardly, explicitly conveying a message and pay attention to words rather than environment or context. Everyone has that friend who is very blunt but has a large heart, just as everyone has that friend who dislikes conflict and prefers to speak in metaphors to keep the harmony. Whether you are a fan of tough love or reading in between the lines, this module will shed some light on why we communicate the way we do. There is a connection between individualism and low context styles, and collectivism and high context styles – while this isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, I think it’s a fantastic thing to keep in mind when travelling or working with people from different cultures to inform your behaviour. The module concluded with practical tips for low context communicators to adapt to high context communications styles and vice versa, which effectively brings theoretical concepts into the real world for tangible situations. 

The bottom line: don’t let travel bans stop your career! This program will help strengthen your soft skills like team collaboration, tolerance and creativity, and independence because it’s up to you to manage your time before the following discussion group. Taking part in this virtual program will also help strengthen adaptability and cultural awareness, all of which are pursued by employers but can best be learned beyond the traditional classroom setting. 

Marina: AFS NZ Global Competence Certificate – The 360 International Blog

Lauren: Diversity Abroad Global Inclusive Leadership Certificate

For the past 9 weeks I have had the privilege of partaking in the ‘Diversity Abroad Global Inclusive Leadership’ virtual program. Across these 9 weeks we have been introduced to a number of concepts that are critical for becoming a strong leader. These included cultural humility, critical race theory, intercultural competencies, and inclusive leadership. We explored a number of different theories of identity, from stages of psychosocial development, to intersectionality, and multiculturalism. We were encouraged to think about our own construction of identity – what groups do we identify with, and why, as well as drawing out the features of our personality.

We learned about the dangers of an ethnocentric approach, to be an inclusive leader we must recognize our cultural biases and keep them in perspective. We were introduced to ‘radical empathy’ – an exercise where we put ourselves in someone else’s shoes – but critically, someone who we would not ordinarily identify with. We also looked internally at our own ‘critical incidents’, that is, a moment in our lives where we faced a challenge, and we explored our reactions from the physical to the emotional. The course used a number of different media and learning tools, which kept it interesting and diverse. We read academic articles, grey literature, watched TedTalks, filled in surveys and online tests, as well as modules that were customized by the Diversity Abroad team especially for this certificate.

We also met as a group three times, which allowed us to discuss in real time what we had studied so far. Ruby moderated our live meetings, and she did a wonderful job of guiding our conversations and creating a warm and open environment. This course gave us a leader’s toolkit. We reflected on what was important to us as leaders, and how to strike a balance of maintaining our principles and our unique point of view, without subjugating anyone else at the expense of doing so. Time management can sometimes be a challenge with taking on extracurricular activities, but I managed this by setting aside a block of hours every week and took it in chunks.

We could manage the content on our own time, so I was able to keep it evenly distributed across the course. I appreciated the emphasis on inter-cultural issues, because these things can often be hard to articulate, but the course put into words a broad range of concepts and broke them down week by week so we left with a really great perspective. I highly recommend this course – it was well organized and run, it has very interesting and engaging materials, and I feel I came out of it confident with my leadership identity.

Thanks 360 for this opportunity! And thanks to Ruby and the team at Diversity Abroad!

Fiza: Diversity Abroad Global Inclusive Leadership Certificate – The 360  International Blog

Jan: Oregon Global Leadership Challenge

The Global Leadership Challenge is a three-week intensive program hosted by the University of Oregon where like-minded individuals gather from all around the world to solve the problems of our world. This program provides the experiences for community-based learning, cross-cultural collaboration and the development of leadership skills.

There are two parts to the program, the first part focuses on workshops, lectures and building skills with facilitators of the program. These workshops and lectures take place in the first two weeks of the program, where we meet twice a week on zoom to prepare us with the skills required to carry out the second part of the program, which is solving the case challenge. These workshops are focused on developing one’s cultural and social awareness. Guest speakers from different areas of expertise were invited to talk about their experiences with cross-cultural communication, social issues, and leadership challenges that they face.

I was assigned to work with a non-profit group called BRING. BRING’s goal is to educate both consumers and producers about the importance of a circular economy and leverage organisational resources to change consumer and producer behaviour. Our challenge was to empower consumers of Eugene, Oregon to participate and promote a circular economy. I found this experience extremely valuable, as I was able to learn about the culture and history of Eugene through interacting with program attendees from the University of Oregon. With that in mind, we were able to take these factors into account and incorporate them into our solution to mitigate any imbalances in different social groups.

Besides providing a solution to our case, an important takeaway from this program is learning how to overcome social and cultural barriers. Although there are many challenges such as conflicting timezones and thought processes, I believe that it was an invaluable experience that will compel people to view societal problems from different perspectives. Working with real community stakeholders has given me the opportunity to connect and make meaningful connections with people who care about making a difference, it was fascinating to hear about the different approaches that were implemented. It was also empowering to see everyone gathered in the same place with the same purpose of improving the world that we live in. If you are a student who is interested in virtual programmes, I greatly recommend the Global Leadership Challenge.

If you are concerned about not being able to get the same experience as an in-person program, this is a highly interactive program and you will unknowingly find yourself immersed in the programme. As a small group of 30, the facilitators are extremely helpful and approachable, you will get all the help that you need and opportunities to connect with experienced professionals. This is a great time to take advantage of these opportunities since they will not be always available. As our world becomes increasingly globalised with technology, global collaboration will only become more normalised and accessible in the future. And I believe that this would be a great skill for anyone to advance in their future career and become more connected with the world.

2020 Remote Global Leadership Challenge | Global Engagement