After two years without travel, the University of Canberra’s Global Learning exchange program is finally set to open its doors.
The program, which sends University of Canberra students to partner universities worldwide, has not accepted applicants since March 2020 due to COVID-19 related travel and safety concerns.
The Global Learning program offers a variety of international learning opportunities for students, including short and long-term overseas study placements.
Global Learning senior advisor Josh Langdon said the university had been working for a long time to bring the Global Learning program back in a safe environment.
“We’ve kept a close eye on everything and think that now is the right time to try bring it back,” he said.
“Global Learning is very popular among students at the University of Canberra, so we have been cautious about bringing it back when we think it is safest.”
Chelsey Ashcroft completed a two-week mobility course that took her to Shanghai in 2019 as a part of her teaching degree.
“Exchange was always something I wanted to do, so when I found out I could drop a course and pick up this one instead, I thought to myself, ‘why not’ and I don’t regret it,” she said.
Though short, Chelsey said her time in Shanghai was an irreplaceable experience for her that she would do again if given the chance.
Chelsey’s cultural exchange saw her stay with Tianshan Primary School for a week.
During her time there she got the opportunity to observe the teachers at Tianshan and put together her own lesson for the school kids.
“Being able to travel overseas for two weeks and getting hands-on experience was great,” she said.
“I absolutely loved it, I know it sounds a bit cliche but I feel like I learnt so much more having done the course than if I had stayed back.”
Chantelle Pellegrini was one of the last people to get the opportunity to study abroad at UC. Chantelle spent from January 2020 to January 2021 in Jönköping, Sweden, studying a mix of Communications and Business at Jönköping University.
While on exchange, Chantelle fell in love with the city and took an opportunity to stay in Sweden longer while taking on a larger study load.
“I was only meant to be there for six months but I fell in love with the city and decided I wanted to stay the whole year, so I changed to doing a double degree.”
Chantelle said one of the reasons she decided to go to Jönköping University was because she had met and made friends with an exchange student from the University.
“I knew I wanted to go somewhere in Europe but I didn’t know where, and then I saw Jönköping was somewhere I could go and thought it could be fun.”
Both Chantelle and Chelsey said their overseas experiences were outstanding and highly recommended exchanges to anyone considering it.
The Global Learning centre will run its first programs since 2020 with some restrictions in place. Due to safety concerns, only certain countries and institutions will be available for the foreseeable future.
Mr Langdon said, despite restrictions, there were still a healthy variety of places to choose from.
“We have students going to Canada, the US, Italy, Germany, Finland and a lot of other countries; it’s just unfortunate that we can’t offer the same variety we could before,” he said.
“We’re hoping that within 12 to 18 months we’ll be able to offer all the locations we could before but we understand that travel is a very volatile space currently.”
Despite how COVID has affected the Global Learning Program Mr Langdon says, for now, they just want to keep moving forwards.
“The most important thing we want to put across right now is that Global Learning is just as worthwhile as it always was.”
For more details, or to apply, click here.