The most rewarding part of Zac Bastick’s Exercise Science placement in Vanuatu was the difference made to lives of people in the local community.
“One of the rewarding parts of the experience was seeing the reactions from the people in Vanuatu,” says the Flinders Bachelor of Exercise Science student.
“Seeing how excited and keen the people of Vanuatu were was highly rewarding, I’ve never seen people so engaged in what I was telling them, constantly asking questions and wanting to know more.
“They loved seeing the small amount of technology we brought over and they loved asking questions about it.”
Zac was one of a small cohort of Exercise Science students who engaged in an overseas placement at Wan Smolbag Theatre in Port Vila, Vanuatu.
The educational institution was primarily a theatre group but has since expanded to create awareness of issues about general health and wellbeing, reproductive health, social issues and education.
Wan Smolbag (meaning one small bag in Vanuatu language, Bislama) delivers acting and dance classes, traditional maths and literacy classes, and has sporting facilities, a nutrition centre and sexual health clinic.
Zac says the placement came with some unique challenges, including language barriers and a lack of exercise equipment and facilities compared to at home.
But it was worth the learning curve.
“This placement heavily prepared me for a range of difficulties I may face in my future career,” he says.
“I learnt how to address communication issues with clientele and I also learnt how to adjust to unfamiliar and difficult environments where I don’t have access to everything I need. It’s made me a much more adaptable practitioner who will think a little more outside the box.”
Zac intends to take the next step in Exercise Physiology by heading into the Master of Clinical Physiology program, developing skills that specialise in the delivery of exercise to not only prevent but also manage chronic disease and injury.
He says the highlights of Flinders Exercise Science program is the exposure to high-level sports testing, biomechanical analysis and clinical equipment, as well as the mix between practical and theoretical learning.
How will this prepare Exercise Science and Clinical Exercise Physiology graduates for the workforce?
“By giving us the theoretical knowledge base as well as challenging our practical skills by placing us in tough, one-on-one practical exams in areas that really matter when practising professionally,” Zac adds.