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

Christina: UNSW Inside the Criminal Mind

I think we can all agree the events of 2020 were, to use one of the Prime Minister’s favourite words, extremely unprecedented. I started the year excited for my upcoming semester exchange to the United States, which I had been looking forward to for a long time. Then, of course, it quickly became evident international travel was not on the cards, and probably would not be for a while to come. This was incredibly disappointing, as I had been amped to go overseas and broaden both my academic and cultural knowledge, make new friends and mark a new chapter of independence.

However, I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to experience some of these moments over the summer when I enrolled at the University of New South Wales (for a week) to study a psychology and crime course. As a psychology and criminology student, I was thrilled to take a course that seamlessly blended neuropsychology, criminology and sociology together, and had enlisted the knowledge and expertise of highly regarded academics as well as professionals working in the criminal justice system. What could have easily been a dry course was engaging and eye-opening.

Of course, it was difficult to stay engaged through a computer screen – I’m a very hands-on learner – but with over half of the cohort Zooming in from all over the world, we made the best of the situation. What struck me as most remarkable was the dedication of many of my fellow students. Despite the course not offering credits for those on a virtual exchange, the enthusiasm and level of participation was indicative of just how passionate about and interested in the subject matter we all were. In fact, a couple of German girls in my group for the assignment would jump on a video call at around 2am local time just to contribute their ideas and stay involved with the work. Truly inspiring.

2020 was a tough year all around. With the pandemic going on, I feel incredibly lucky that I was able to have some semblance of meeting people from around the world (without a lengthy quarantine process of course!). From the lecturers to my fellow students, I definitely learned a lot – and it was particularly rewarding to listen to people from diverse cultural backgrounds share their experiences and ideas while speaking on topics that benefit from this exact diversity of opinion. It was certainly an extremely rewarding opportunity, and would only have been possible with 360 International and the extensive ties the university has internationally.

Marina: AFS NZ Global Competence Certificate

The AFS: Global Competence Certificate was delivered in virtual modules that would prepare us for the online sessions, where we would discuss specific topics. Regarding the modules, we would watch videos or read texts, and then we would post our experiences/thoughts on forums, where we could interact with each other over the weeks, and the more effort you put into them, the more you get out of the discussions. I enjoyed the format of the discussions, which were often in breakout rooms on Zoom and every time with different people from the group, so that over time you got to know everyone. The discussions were exciting and engaging, and session by session, everyone would feel more comfortable expressing themselves. Also, I found that most of the topics resonated with me.

What I loved about the GCC was the possibility of getting in contact with people from other Universities across New Zealand who are undertaking different programmes. At university, we sometimes only interact with people from our programme and/or campus, and I found that this diversity enriched the discussions. There were also international students in the GCC, which brings different perspectives to the topics we discussed. A challenge that I faced was that as a non-native English speaker, I am usually self-conscious and shy about online discussions. After the GCC and primarily because of the virtual meetings where I had to participate, I feel more confident in situations where I need to interact virtually.

Being self-assured in online discussions is an important skill to develop since many things are performed online nowadays, and GCC was a good start for me to overcome this obstacle. A skill that I believe is essential and that the GCC programme helped me with is cultural competence. This skill is also one of the principles in the Code of Ethical Conduct for my profession. As a future health care provider, especially in a multicultural country such as New Zealand, it is essential that I learn how to improve this skill. Differently from what I thought initially, we can learn how to be culturally competent.

The GCC enhanced previous experiences I have had to reflect on them and improve my cultural competency. Another skill that I consider essential and that we touched on that a few times is active listening. The modules provided us with examples of what kind of listeners we might be, and although I always considered myself a good listener, I was surprised to realize that was not the case. From that moment on, I have been trying to apply what I learned in the modules and discussions to be a better listener. To any student who might be interested in virtual programmes, I would definitely encourage them. It is an excellent opportunity to get to know interesting people and to broaden your horizons and perspectives.

Global Competence Certificate (GCC) | AFS Intercultural Programs

Catherine: ISEP Service Learning in Barcelona

When I started the ISEP Virtual Volunteering Program, I wasn’t sure what it would entail. I’ve volunteered before – at charities, with university groups, and even through another internship – but before the pandemic hit, I’d never contemplated the idea of making a difference through an overseas organization, from the comfort of my own bedroom.

However, having now done so, I can wholeheartedly endorse the concept as a rewarding and enriching experience for organizations and volunteers alike, and believe it is an amazing and unique way to gain valuable cross-cultural and professional knowledge. I was lucky enough to volunteer with Oxfam International, working on the new Oxfam Climate Initiative. I am extremely passionate about our environment and sustainability therefore I was elated to receive this position, working for a world-renowned NGO.

At the outset, it was outlined that I would be working on developing the Oxfam Climate Initiative’s Internal Communication Strategies. This involved helping to design and implement a new internal webpage for the initiative, an area I haven’t worked in before, as well as creating a new promotional PowerPoint for external donors. It was awesome learning how to use and edit an NGO’s internal database, while also being able to read about Oxfam’s various endeavors regarding climate change. Once I was experienced with the database, I especially enjoyed being able to give insight to my supervisors on what I thought worked best, and when these ideas were implemented, it felt especially rewarding.

The program also allowed me to gain fantastic cross-cultural communication skills. We had three cross-cultural seminars over the course of the internship, and I was able to implement the knowledge I gained from each of these – such as ideas about the theory behind different cultural values and communication styles – into the context of my internship. Applying this knowledge into real life circumstances was invaluable and has allowed me to take away an essential skill from the experience which I know I will use in life going forward.

For future students participating in this program, I would advise you to take the opportunity with both hands and utilize it as much as possible. It is not often that you will be given the chance to work in a different culture’s workplace from your own home, so make sure to put in as much effort as you can in the knowledge that the hours of work will be greatly appreciated by your organization, as well as being an enriching and valuable experience for you.

University of Auckland – ISEP Study Abroad

Ashley: AFS NZ Global Competence Certificate

AFS Global Competence Certificate was an extremely valuable and constructive course that has given me knowledge in a wide range of areas that will be imperative for success within my future endeavors.

The course ran for three weeks, with two live zoom sessions per week. Although it was challenging fitting in two lectures a week, it was the correct amount of time, as there was a lot of content to go through, and I wouldn’t have wanted to cut any of it out. One of the brilliant aspects of AFS was that it gives you a chance to learn as you go and doesn’t require an exam at the end. You complete a variety of modules along the way without the pressure of knowing you have an exam at the end.

The live zoom sessions were very engaging as the professor facilitating the zoom would talk and teach and encourage fellow course members to participate. There was never any point within the live zoom where I was not captivated. The hour and a half went very quickly, often with things left to say. The zoom breakout rooms were used effectively to ensure you had smaller groups to discuss things further, and by the end of the course, you had engaged with all members. The programme was challenging in terms of time commitments with University and work; however, with tight time management, it all works out in the end. Through my overseas exchange, I learned a lot about being globally competent; however, AFS went one step further to make you more self-aware and equipped in handling different scenarios. You acquire skills in identifying stereotypes, gain vital information in terms of empathy and listening, and look into culture, communication, and conflict.

One of the main areas that I took away from the course was spiritual diversity, power, and privilege. The spiritual diversity module allowed me to understand how to deal with different situations where the spirituality in a workplace or other was different from your own and how to combat different scenarios that may arise. The power and privilege section ensured you were more conscious and informed about how your upbringing, status, education and opportunities allowed you to be where you are. Everyone’s start to life is hugely varied and can put you ahead before you even know it.

AFS provided many different strategies to combat life and ensure you are always aware of people’s feelings and situations. I would highly encourage students to enter into this virtual programme or another. It has allowed me to now feel resourceful in entering different workplaces and situations, knowing I have the capabilities to deal with whatever arises. Virtual programmes will enable you to gain knowledge and skill in contrasting areas from your study to enhance different thinking and reasoning ways.

Global Competence Certificate (GCC) | AFS Intercultural Programs

Janice: Global Leadership Challenge at the University of Oregon

I loved this Challenge, because I learned a lot.

I made many international friends and got to know many awesome, cool, programme facilitators, guest speakers, and mentors!

The part that helped me to grow the most is my team working skills, within an online environment. I learned how to communicate with each team member, despite we were in different time zones. I learned that we each had different strengths and weaknesses. I was the task person, and I normally get things done. So I had a very high expectation for my team member. But because this was a leadership programme, after taking the first workshop, I immediately realised that my expectations for my team members were too high because they might not want to be ‘perfect’ in this project, and they had realistic reasons, as all three of my team members had university work going on at the same time as this programme.

I also realised that even though I was good at getting things done, I wasn’t really good with building relationships. I just wanted things to be done, which sometimes, I ignored the necessary human interactions involved in getting a task done. However, there was another team member, a student at the University of Oregon, who was amazingly good at talking to people, building relationships between team members, and resolving conflicts! He made our communication much easier and our team ended up very cohesive at the end of the programme.

Our team was a diverse one as well! Some of us were interested in sustainability while some of us were interested in leadership! Two were from the US, one was from Poland, and one was from New Zealand! We also study completely different things: I am an Arts student and one other team member is a “3MP” student, which stands for ‘Planning, Public Policy and Management’. It’s a jargon at the University of Oregon. After knowing that, I feel like I’m an insider J

In terms of the programme content, the workshops were done by different guest speakers. They had different expertise and they were from all walks of life! We even had the former US ambassador speaking to us!

I did have a favourite workshop though, it was called ‘Design Thinking’. It was a very engaging workshop and the guest speaker made it very interactive (despite it was online!). He also gave us very practical tips on how to think from the users, and the community partners’ perspectives when designing a solution for the environmental problem of the city Eugene.

Lastly, to finish off my little blog piece/report, if you consider doing a virtual exchange programme with 360 – do it! You won’t regret meeting awesome people, with different cultures, backgrounds, expertise, students, community partners, programme facilitators, faculty directors, and potentially – the mayor of Eugene and US ambassadors! 

2020 Remote Global Leadership Challenge | Global Engagement

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.

Hacker Exchange | LinkedIn

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.