Seven final year dietetic students recently returned from a month in Tacloban in the Philippines, and Yogjakarta in Indonesia where they worked with the community and host organisations delivering nutrition-related programs. Describing their experience as career-defining and transformational learning, we are hoping that these opportunities become part of our curriculum.
In the Philippines, five students were hosted by the Volunteers for the Visayans, a not-for-profit social welfare service which assists underprivileged local communities. Students ran malnutrition supplementary feeding programs in four communities and developed standardized recipes, educational vlogs and nutrition education sessions, including those for children. Unique to this experience was that students lived, worked and socialised with host families in the underprivileged community where the V4V team is located, caught jeepneys as transport and worked with local resources and analog technologies (no internet, no computers). The people were warm, welcoming and generous with their time. The experience was a credit to Ester Costrim and her V4V team who hosted a most meaningful experience.
Two students were also hosted by our wonderful colleagues in Universitas Gadja Mada (UGM) in Jogya, Indonesia. A huge thank you is extended to Dian Caturini Sulistyoningrum and colleagues at UGM for the success of this experience. Students gained valuable insights into the significant public health nutrition issues challenging Indonesia. They enrolled in a topic delivered by eminent academics and researchers and participated in community-based nutrition-related initiatives addressing malnutrition in children and early intervention initiatives. Run in the villages or schools, many of these initiatives were led by our Australian Award Fellowship colleagues who were here in Adelaide in 2017!
Funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the New Colombo Plan and Postgraduate Asia Mobility Program is a signature initiative of the Australian Government which aims to lift knowledge of the Indo Pacific in Australia by supporting Australian undergraduates to undertake short-term placements and be culturally immersed.
Recently we received news that we will be able to fund these opportunities for at least two more years and the Bachelor of Human Nutrition students will be participating for the first time in 2019. If you would like to know more, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org as the Mobility Program Coordinator.