Engineering student Ben Franzi has some unusual souvenirs from his trip to Vietnam. Top of the list are sustainability skills and knowledge he will use as he completes his studies at UTS and heads into the workforce.
Franzi was part of Unbound Vietnam, a two-week educational program through UTS BUILD in conjunction with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals study tour. He participated in a multi-disciplinary work project, while learning about Australia’s role in addressing the UN goals. He also experienced traditional rural life in community homestays, explored Hanoi and was introduced to innovative social enterprises.
“I have now started to make more of an effort to reduce my impact on the environment. For my capstone project I have focused on the UN’s sustainable development goals,” says Franzi, a Bachelor of Engineering and Diploma in Engineering Practice student.
He says the highlight of his 2017 trip was the hands-on experience, interviewing local community members and finding out their perspectives on issues that had meaning to them.
“Going to present our ideas at the UN in Vietnam was a surreal experience; it was great getting feedback from them that I can apply to other aspects of my study.”
In 2019, more UTS undergraduate students than ever will have the opportunity to travel to the Indo-Pacific region as part of their degree.
UTS has received more than 200 new grants, under the Australian Government's New Colombo Plan (NCP) mobility program scheme. These will support undergraduate students on exchange or a short-term program to one of 13 countries in the region.
UTS is a leader in offering students the opportunity to travel overseas as part of their degree. In 2018, 741 students have had a short-term experience as part of BUILD Abroad, travelling to 15 countries, including Bhutan, Cambodia, Fiji, Sri Lanka and Timor-Leste.
This year and next, UTS has existing and new NCP grants for students to travel to countries including Japan, New Caledonia, Indonesia, Korea, Vietnam and Nepal.
Manager, UTS BUILD and Community Connections, Veronica Wong says many of the NCP-funded short-term programs available through UTS BUILD are interdisciplinary and encourage collaboration between faculties.
“This funding gives students the opportunity to travel to a range of places they may never have considered. Students will develop new perspectives and leadership skills that will no doubt open up myriad opportunities once they’ve graduated – both here in Australia and overseas.”
Ben Franzi says that by travelling to the region through UTS BUILD, he was able to form deeper connections than if he had gone independently.
“I also learnt heaps about topics that might not have been covered in my degree, and developed skills that I can apply to my future career.”
Simon Watson, Senior Manager, International Mobility and Services, encourages every Australian undergraduate student to consider going on exchange or having a short-term experience during their degree.
“An opportunity like this doesn’t come around often. Challenge yourself by going somewhere you never thought you’d go, like India or Vietnam. Immerse yourself in a culture completely different to your own in Fiji or Thailand, or complement what you’ve learnt at uni by doing an internship in Indonesia or China.”
UTS has one of the highest rates of undergraduate student mobility to the region of any Australian university, with 55 exchange partnerships with universities in the Indo-Pacific region alone. Thanks to the NCP funding scheme, UTS can offer even more students the opportunity to participate in experiential learning programs, do internships and establish meaningful connections in the region.
“We encourage every student to take advantage of these great programs, and the NCP grants, no matter what their study area.
“You’ll make life-long connections and gain a better understanding of our region – gaining many of the skills that employers are looking for.”
Applications are open for short-term programs through BUILD Abroad in Summer 2018/2019 or get along to a UTS Global Exchange information session for travel in Spring session 2019 and beyond.