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Symon: UNSW Inside The Criminal Mind course

The early origins of colonial Australia arose from the labour of convicts shipped over from Great Britain. It seems only fitting then that experts on the criminal mind would come together at UNSW to host a virtual course to discuss the origins, statistics, and treatments for Australia’s offender groups. Undertaking SOMS 1501 – Inside the Criminal Mind was a unique opportunity to gather insight into the criminal world based on scientific research and expert experience. From young offenders to wrinkly wrongdoers, the clinical expertise imparted through daily livestreams is a must do for the aspiring criminologist or true crime fanatic. Of general interest were lectures on serial killers and the fabled psychopath. The deep fascination that everyone held with this topic was apparent, as a barrage of questions were posed in an effort to clear up myths and better understand the predatory nature of some of society’s worst offenders.

On the other hand students also enjoyed the opportunity to better understand the perspective of people dedicating their lives to fighting crime. Students were able to engage in discussion with detectives who are making efforts to outsmart the Vietnamese crime syndicate growing cannabis in Australia’s sunny suburbia. Finally perhaps the most privileged segment of the course was the opportunity to live stream into Sydney’s most progressive prison. After a presentation from the Governor on the leaps and strides they are making towards more effective rehabilitation, there was ample opportunity to discuss with a group of inmates about their experiences within the new system. It was truly inspiring to see such progress and hear in an incredibly articulate fashion the perspectives of these men.

Primarily I am a student who loves to fill my schedule and often this can turn life into an intense juggling act. The biggest concern I had undertaking this course was in how I would be able to maintain a work-study balance. The short duration week-long of the course helped in this regard, but the prospect of 12 hour work-study days still daunted me. In reality the virtual nature of the course proved to be an advantage as any content I failed to grasp or misremember could be immediately reviewed in the recordings. The daily running time of the course was approximately 6 – 7 hours and the technical issues were few and far between. The biggest recommendation I could offer with this course is to ask as many questions as you can. You have at your disposal some of the greatest Australian minds on criminology. Dig deep and make use of their knowledge and experience with the criminal mind.  

Emily: HEX Discovery

The 4 day HEX sprint was an awesome experience. Going into the programme I wasn’t too sure about how everything was going to work as everything was being held online. However, I definitely wasn’t disappointed and the programme exceeded my expectations of how a well virtual programme could be organised. The programme was based around teaching us the key skills of entrepreneurship, beginning with idea generation, market research, prototyping all the way till the last day when we had to pitch a startup idea to venture capitalists. The programme was only 4 days, so this was a lot of information to take in in such a short amount of time. Each day was very jam packed, usually consisting of a mixture of talks on various topics by experts, panels with industry professionals, workshops to learn different skills, working with your team on your startup idea, and networking/social events with alumni and fellow HEXies.

Each day ran from around 9am to 9pm New Zealand time. I definitely felt lucky being in this time zone because the American attendees had to stay up very late into the night to attend the workshops! My main takeaway from this programme is a better understanding of the importance of marketing yourself and your product. The programme outlined the importance of leveraging platforms such as Linkedin to search for opportunities and connect with professionals. These were concepts that I was not really exposed to before this experience and I am sure that they will be very valuable as I start my career after university. The programme is also a really good way to meet and work with people from different countries and backgrounds. I definitely met people that I would not usually have been able to work with outside of this programme. The programme itself was very well organised.

General communication was done using slack, workshops and panels were held on Zoom, and networking events were held on a platform called Remo, which was quite cool for networking because it allows you to move to different tables to talk with different people. Even though everything was virtual, it was very easy to get in touch with different people and ask mentors for help when you need it. It would have been nice to meet everyone in person, but I didn’t feel like I missed out on much just because the programme was held virtually. If you are thinking about taking the 4 day HEX sprint programme, I would recommend it. It is really intensive and quite stressful when you are in the middle of it and there were definitely days where it was quite overwhelming, but looking back it really opened my eyes to a lot of opportunities.

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Florrie: UNSW Inside the Criminal Mind course

The UNSW virtual program was such an exciting and eye-opening experience. We thoroughly explored the criminal mind from many different aspects. We learned about the motivations of behind criminals. Everyone was hooked during these lectures; they were so interesting! We learned about famous killers like Jeffrey Dahmer from the perspective of professionals who have treated people like that before. We also learned about the criminal justice system with talks from detectives, criminal justice lawyers and pathologists. Hearing lawyers talk about how they defend criminals and listening to a detective discuss one of his famous cases was awesome. We could also ask them heaps of questions anonymously, which was great because it encouraged people to ask way more exciting questions.

We were given the opportunity to call a group of inmates in a correctional facility and learn about their prison system experiences. They educated us about what is the most important and helpful in rehabilitating prisoners. Learning about their experiences in different prisons was fascinating and highlighted how negative the current system is. For me, meeting the men allowed me to grow and gain much more empathy for them. The media paints all prisoners as intimidating, aggressive and unremorseful. However, talking with them showed me that they are just normal men with families who have made mistakes and wish to get back on the right track in life. This was the best takeaway from the course because I have gained a new insight into offenders. This experience will enable me to work from a more empathetic and rehabilitation focused position for the rest of my career. The call to the correctional centre allowed us to understand how to move forward best to aid offenders in the future as we move into careers in psychology, criminology, and law.

The course followed Youtube Live lectures with another lecturer on the chat ready to answer all questions without interrupting the lecture’s flow. It allowed online students to stay connected to the course and made it interactive and engaging. This allowed us to build a super friendly community with everyone. By the end of the week, it felt like we were in a class with friends rather than individuals watching a lecture. The lecturers were understanding of time-zone difficulties and were super onto it with technical problems.

I would absolutely recommend the UNSW course to others. It was so impressive; I think it is the only course that I wish had gone on longer. I even enjoyed the assignments, which says a lot. The course is set up so well, they really thought of every detail, even for online students. It is a fantastic opportunity to learn from a wide range of jobs and ask these professionals any questions you might have. If you want a career in criminal justice but are not sure what aspect you enjoy more, this course will give you an insight into every detail. Alternatively, suppose you already know what career you want. In that case, it will allow you to appreciate the people working around you in the system. I honestly wish I could retake this course each year.

James: My Experience

After two days of travel via Sydney, Guangzhou and Amsterdam, I finally arrived at Copenhagen Kastrup Airport in the early hours of a Tuesday in January. After making my way to the main arrivals hall, myself and other students from my flight were greeted by a group of mentors in bright blue shirts from the University. Surprisingly, the mentor and first person I spoke to on arrival was actually from New Zealand! We were assisted in purchasing our train tickets before journeying across the strait between Denmark and Sweden via the incredible Öresund Bridge.

Arriving in Lund, more mentors greeted us, and we were taxied to a university building for new international students. We were provided with all sorts of information and tips before grabbing our keys and heading to the accommodation. It was an exciting time stepping through the door of the sizeable and well-furnished two-bedroom apartment. The bedrooms were filled with a desk, bed, bookcase, laundry basket, bedside table, two lamps, and a wardrobe, along with enough floorspace left over for a game of twister.

The city itself was very different to one you would find in New Zealand. It was very compact and well organised, centred on an historic cathedral built 700 years before the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi! The city comprised of an array of different building styles, from quaint and colourful houses to modern technological centres and various university building throughout, all connected with cobbled streets and plenty of cycle paths. Although it was very cold and dark in January when I arrived, there was still a charm to the city. But the real magic came as it got warmer, as the city became filled with the greenery of parks and trees, which perfectly complemented the buildings.

Life on campus offered plenty to do every week, with the several student-run “nations” hosting their own pubs, clubs, yoga sessions, brunches, etc., any of which all students were welcome to attend. I even volunteered as a bartender and cooked brunch a few times, which was actually easier than it sounds, and a great way to meet new people. Besides the nations, the university itself offered plenty of orientation events for international students, including games and movie nights, races around the city searching for clues, and general mingling events such as pub nights. This was topped off with a performances by a Swedish choir and the University’s brass band during a welcome night in the historic Main University Building.

The overall experience was one that shaped me for the better. And despite the pandemic, I still had a fantastic time meeting lots of new people from around the world.

Renchao: Fudan University Winter School

If you’d like to take upon a challenge and experience Chinese style of education, Fudan is your top choice. Fudan University is one of the most prestigious and selective universities in China. Fudan University’s School of Economics has been one of the best-known economic education institutions and research in mainland China. I am very honoured to represent The University of Auckland in their Online Winter School by the School of Economics. This year, more than 400 students from 20 universities and 11 countries participated in this virtual exchange. For this program, I was enrolled in Corporate Finance and Econometrics. For my Econometrics, I was taught by Professor Shi Qiu, a highly experienced instructor in this field.

I was impressed with the experience that Fudan University Professor speaks such fantastic English. Professor Shi Qiu had a passion for teaching and was very considerate and caring to the students. He’d slow down regularly during the session to ensure students are understanding everything. However, for their virtual classes, I was really surprised that there was a regulation that students need to turn on their camera during class. If the cameras were not turned on, it would lead to an absent attendance. Fudan University has a strict attendance policy that meant three absences would result as a direct fail.

My Corporate Finance was taught by Professor Hong Wu, a highly experienced and qualified instructor. With the nature of the winter school, corporate finance has been intense every day. During every session, the professor would talk through 70-90 pages of reading. I was able to concentrate for most of the time, but near the end of the session, I found it hard to absorb all the knowledge. My advice for future students would be that skimming through the course material before class would certainly provide advantages. Fudan has also been impressive in the way that their virtual courses are prepared with the teacher assistances. During each lesson, there would be two to three teacher assistances joining the virtual lecture to answer any questions student may encounter during the course. In the normal student group chat, the teacher’s assistance would also be the first to the response. This has been significantly different from The University of Auckland. As a summary, it has been an incredible experience able to participate in this program. This virtual exchange has provided me with opportunities to connect with new people worldwide and gain the education of finance from the Chinese market perspective. Lastly, all these time and effort would be credited back to The University of Auckland.
FULL] Fudan University SOE: Online Winter School (2020/21) - Learning -  Programmes - HKU - China Vision

Joanna: UNSW Inside the Criminal Mind course

I was very excited and honored by the fact that I was offered the opportunity to participate in a 5-day summer school course, at the University of Sydney (UNSW), known as ‘Inside the Criminal Mind’. I was grateful for the funding as it was the only way I would have been able to participate in the course.

The course consisted of various industry experts from many aspects of the field, who were all highly engaging and interesting to hear lecture on their respective fields. The course also consisted of a number of fun and enjoyable group projects which embodied the genre of crime studies. These assignments included collaborating on a short debate on topics included in the course. The assignment I was most excited for was the group assignment which involves an investigation and writing a report of a known criminal. Group members had to pick roles to take in the investigation such as detective, forensic psychiatrist and so on.

The course itself was very well organised, with all resources and content readily posted by the time I had been given access to my UNSW account. This included some additional videos and readings that would provide further clarification and information on the different sections of the course. With the use of the YouTube live stream and zoom, interacting with the in-person group was made efficient and easy, with an in-person moderator replying and relaying questions.

The content of the course itself was a nice change for me. As a recent graduate from a bachelor’s degree in Criminology the information I learnt through this course will aid me further in my further career and interest in the field. The course introduced me to many industry-based debates which I was not aware of. As someone who in the future wants to work in a position at the Ministry of Justice these forms of debates and the research presented are highly relevant to the future position, I hope to be working in. The allocated group work furthered my skills in team collaboration on academic content.

For students who are considering taking on a virtual programme such as this one. I would highly recommend it. The knowledge I have gained from this course were invaluable and will definitely be something that I carry with me into my future in this field. While the credits gained from this course will not be transferable into my University, the expertise and engagement from the content was well worth a week of my Summer break.

Isabella: Yonsei Winter School

I took part in the Yonsei Winter School programme which ran from late December to mid-January. I took part in a course which focused on the COVID-19 pandemic. Each lecture was brought by an expert in a particular field, from learning about AI and COVID-19 to the English literature which had featured themes of pandemics in the past. I thoroughly enjoyed considering COVID-19 from so many different lenses. The inter-disciplinary nature of this course kept me intrigued, as they say variety is certainly the spice of life! I learnt so much about the different challenges COVID-19 presents and the different methods by which the global community can recover.

As a law and commerce student, learning about the medical nature of the COVID-19 virus opened my eyes as to what the medical profession are grappling with, and made me had a new-found respect for the front-line workers saving lives. Additionally, I really enjoyed learning more about Korea’s response to COVID-19, especially how their policy differed to New Zealand’s. In New Zealand, we had stricter lockdown measures but less strict social distancing and personal hygiene measures (e.g. mask wearing). Whereas Korea had minimal lockdowns but more strict social distancing and personal hygiene measures. Korea and New Zealand are two of the best countries in terms of COVID-19 response, so it was interesting to consider the different policies which could be implemented to stop the spread. Given COVID-19 will have a profound impact in shaping the world, I feel this course has given be a head-start in having a deep understanding of COVID-19 and the role it will play in our futures. Whilst this course was conducted online, with the majority of lectures pre-recorded, I still really got to get a feel for the Yonsei University’s culture.

It certainly was the closest think I could get to an international experience in the current COVID environment. Although it may not be quite as immersive as an in-person exchange, it was an excellent taste as to what overseas university experiences can over, not only academically but also in terms of broadening my awareness of the world and off-shore opportunities. I would recommend to anyone wanting to expand their knowledge of the world to take part in a virtual exchange opportunity. I really enjoyed that I got to learn about an intrinsically global problem (COVID) alongside a cohort of students from all around the world. Learning from differing perspectives on issues was an invaluable experience. Also, watching lectures on the beach was an extra-bonus that only a virtual programme can provide! Thank you to the 360-international team for allowing me to take part in such a great opportunity.

Joyce: Korea University Winter School

The 2020 Korea University Virtual Winter programme was a very valuable experience for me. I enrolled myself into 1 course: Social Psychology, which was not only relevant to my major and transferable but was life-changing in terms of the theories and concepts taught. The course was conducted online for the whole 3-week programme via zoom, where I had to attend live lectures from 1-4 pm daily with more than 30 students. During the live zoom session, we were given opportunities to discuss and share viewpoints and ideas regarding the course material for the day. The course itself was assessed on Lecture participation, two examinations (Mid-term and Final Exam) and daily chapter reading reflections.

Personally, the daily chapter reading reflections were of the greatest value to me throughout this programme. Not only did it nurture me, but it has challenged me to think beyond my perception. The most memorable concept was about Casual attribution. This being the construal process people use to explain both their own and others’ behaviour, I was able to understand the people around me and myself whilst reading about it, which resulted in direct influence to my own life. Although we could not physically learn together, every student had a positive and initiative attitude which allowed us to still connect despite the distance between us. With daily group activities and the guidance of an interactive professor, I could connect with other global citizens around the world; the theories and concepts covered during the course Social Psychology created a special experience for us to be engaged in a deeper level by sharing our encounters and experiences growing up.

Each student was able to share their unique opinions and perspectives which helped me to practice and learn cultural intelligence. At the end of the programme, I was confident that I gained strong cultural intelligence skills that I can use in my daily life, and future social settings. My time with Korea University and the fellow students around the world indeed gifted me with life-changing insights that I still reflect on to this day. I sincerely hope that we will be able to visit South Korea, and Korea University once every country overcomes these uncertain and unprecedented time of the pandemic. Amidst the tough situation with COVID-19, being able to interact with people from different ethnic, education and cultural background through this programme truly was a breather for me.

Manawa: Campus B Indigenous Rights & History in Brazil (Virtual)

I attended the Campus B Indigenous Rights and History in Brazil virtual programme from the 12 January 2021 to the 22 January 2021. This programme was primarily online with one culinary workshop onsite at the University of Auckland. The programme was attended by students from New Zealand, Brazil and Canada. Students were put into three groups initially and tasked with a project on indigenous rights to discuss and present to the other students on the final day of the programme.

The programme consisted of various presentations from academic staff, technical experts and indigenous peoples from Brazil. The topics that were discussed throughout the presentations included the history of indigenous rights in Brazil, the impacts of colonisation, the evolution of indigenous rights, the social and political context in Brazil and some of the legal and contemporary challenges for indigenous peoples including the impacts of Covid19. The presentations were engaging and very informative. Students were given the opportunity to ask the presenters various questions. I took this opportunity and asked many questions. I found this helpful to gain a deeper understanding of the issues being discussed.

I also observed similarities between the situation for indigenous peoples in Brazil and some of the challenges for indigenous peoples in New Zealand. The skill that I developed and enhanced throughout the programme was a greater awareness of the particular needs of not only Māori but indigenous peoples more generally. For example, I took the opportunity to ask the presenters who were indigenous to discuss some of the main challenges they face and to describe some of the goals and aspirations they have for their specific communities and indigenous peoples as a whole in Brazil. This skill is not only relevant to my studies and specialisation in indigenous rights and international law, but this skill is also highly relevant to my career in law and policy. Having a greater understanding and awareness of indigenous peoples needs will allow me to make informed decisions and take opportunities to advocate for these needs when possible. Having a strong understanding of the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and its constitutional relevance in New Zealand I learnt how the history of indigenous peoples rights in Brazil has evolved very differently having no treaties forming the basis of colonisation.

I take away from the programme a greater awareness of the challenges that indigenous peoples face in Brazil and the importance of having a workable relationship between the State and it’s indigenous inhabitants. I am very grateful for the opportunity to learn about the history of indigenous rights in Brazil particularly having no previous understanding about Brazil or its indigenous inhabitants. I am also grateful that the programme was available online given the travel restrictions. Although it is more challenging to get to know peers in a virtual learning space the programme was still highly successful in learning outcomes and opportunities. I would highly recommend the programme to future and prospective students who have a passion for indigenous rights. I would recommend for prospective students who attend the programme to prepare questions to ask the presenters, the presenters many who are indigenous are primary sources of information.

Shirin: Korea University Winter School

Most students look forward to the end of the academic year to visit their families and friends and spend another adventurous and fun summer vacation. But of course, for the summer of 2021, everything was different, and the question of what you can do during your break was more relevant. For those who like to benefit and learn something new, virtual courses are a great solution. I didn’t want to spend my holidays in front of the TV, watching movies and TV shows, so I applied for funding to participate in a virtual program. I am studying environmental science, and I am interested in learning sustainability, so I chose to enroll in Sustainability Strategies course by Korea University International Winter Campus.

The great thing about most of the courses is that you can participate in them regardless of your current degree. For example, we had students from different backgrounds, including business, creative arts and law. Having representatives of various faculties is helpful, especially for a group project as you have more perspectives and points to consider and learn. A group project was the primary assignment that we had to present during the final week. The final grade included group project, exam and attendance and participation. The zoom classes were held Monday to Friday from 1 pm to 4 pm New Zealand time, and there were all recorded. All of the sessions were interesting and engaging as most of them were accompanied by incredible Sir David Attenborough movies. Besides, the professor shared lots of exciting stories from his experience of sustainability in different contexts. I believe that virtual program was beneficial to develop teamwork and time management skills.

As we didn’t have much time to prepare for the presentation, we had to spend extra time out of class. It was not easy to select a convenient time due to the different time zones. Sometimes our meeting would continue until 2 am, so I had to learn how to manage everything and be always prepared. Besides, a virtual meeting is more challenging than in person because I feel more comfortable discussing with a real person, particularly when we can’t agree about something. And with people refusing to turn on their cameras, it was even more challenging. In terms of a program itself, I think that it helped me to develop critical thinking skills. I learned that one must be careful when making conclusions about sustainability because there are no globally accepted norms of how it should be assessed. This skill is valuable, especially in my program of study. Overall, I enjoyed the program as I expanded my knowledge about sustainability and learned a bit about Korean culture. I believe virtual programs are a great addition that can contribute to studies and help develop or improve various skills.