Making a difference in the South Pacific

Eight students recently returned from a one-month placement in Vanuatu where they worked with local school students and taught them sporting activities, while establishing engaging programs for the schools to continue.

The students included five sport, health and physical activity students and three tourism students. They were joined by Vanuatu hockey coach Todd Kitto and senior women’s hockey player Hellen Kaweil.

Deb Agnew, Flinders University Senior Lecturer in Sport, Health and Physical Activity and Placement Coordinator, says programs like this “have huge benefits for the students involved and the communities they are working with.”

Timothy Hennekam, one of the Sport, Health and Physical Activity students to participate in the project, says he loved the experience and “having lots of fun while learning with the locals.”

Kimberley Pycroft, who is studying tourism, says she learnt a lot about communication and leadership through the program – “it’s really pushing us outside our comfort zone.”

While another tourism student, Anna Kerley, enjoyed “experiencing a different culture, making friends and learning how to communicate without sharing the same language.

“It’s amazing seeing the difference you can make in individual lives and the whole community,” she says.

The project was supported by the New Colombo Plan, an Australian Government initiative that provides opportunities for Australian students to undertake study, community engagement and participate in internships/mentorships in the Indo-Pacific region.

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