Inspiring students to go global

By Emeline Gillingham, Go Global Project Officer, Asia Education Foundation

Year 8 Geography students at Heathmont College are comparing features of Melbourne and Jakarta. To bring the topic of 'Changing Nations' alive, the school invited Go Global Ambassador, Max Richter, to work with the class.

Max has lived and worked in Jakarta and has studied the city extensively. He brought along his own photos to illustrate a city quite foreign to most of the students. Prema Devathas, the lead teacher involved in the session at Heathmont, described the impact that his 'raw' and 'confronting' images had in illustrating the issues facing those living in Jakarta. However, the photos and talk also revealed many positive aspects of life in Indonesia. A student at Heathmont said that he felt that 'Indonesians value a community bond and work at strengthening it, compared to us.'

Max visited Heathmont as part of the AEF's Go Global Ambassadors program to provide students with access to Australians living and working globally to discuss the sorts of capabilities students will require for the future. These are the sort of initiatives that deliver on our national education goals to equip young Australians to be 'responsible global and local citizens… [who] are able to relate to and communicate across cultures… especially the cultures and countries of Asia.' 

Understanding Australia's place in the world underpins the capacity of all Australian students to be active and informed citizens working together to build harmonious local, regional and global communities. Young Australians who are curious about the world and who are globally competent will be best equipped to build a creative, prosperous and socially cohesive Australia. Enabling kids to put their knowledge and skills into practice is an essential step in building global competencies.

Illawarra Sports High School is a great example of this. The school was one of the first to join the Bottle for Botol Program, which links schools in Australia and Bali to combat plastic waste, one drink bottle at a time. Bottle for Botol co-founder and Go Global Ambassador Chris Kemp introduced the program to students as part of a school visit.

Illawarra Sports High in Bali bottle project

Under the program, students from both countries designed a logo for a metal water bottle. Students at Illawarra Sports High market and sell the bottles. For every bottle sold, one bottle is donated to students at SMA 3 Denpasar high school, which now has filtered water dispensers to provide a cheaper and more sustainable source of clean drinking water. Future -focused schools, like Heathmont and Illawarra, are recognising the need to deliver globally focused student learning experiences to prepare students to navigate a diverse and changing world.

In response to the increasing focus on 'student voice' initiatives such as these, the Asia Education Foundation has developed two new student programs being offered nationally. The Australia-ASEAN Youth Forum and the UN Global Goals Youth Forum are designed to deepen student understanding of regional and global issues and Australia's place in the world through role-play, debate and teamwork.

Throughout the forums, students are challenged to discuss complex regional issues from the perspectives of other countries, pitch their big ideas to address key challenges facing Australia and the world, and use their negotiation skills to reach mutually agreeable and sustainable solutions. The Youth Forums will be delivered alongside Ambassador school and workplace visits, as part of AEF's Go Global programs focused on engaging students to be global citizens.

Empowering our learners to apply their knowledge and skills to solve problems in real world situations shows them how they can take responsibility for their actions and affect positive change beyond the classroom. 

Please visit AEF Go Global programs to register your interest or for more information on how your school can get involved.

More Information

Renuka Rajadurai

+61 3 9035 9605