COVID – 19 (Coronavirus) Update

COVID – 19 (Coronavirus) Update

Given the growing concerns around COVID-19 and the updated pandemic status by the World Health Organisation, Roam Learning have made the difficult decision to cancel the overseas study tours planned for July 2020.

Roam Learning is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation, and our response is being shaped by the latest advice from Australian health and foreign affairs authorities. At this stage, we are working to reschedule the affected study tours to take place in Nov/Dec 2020. This will be subject to risks and safety considerations dependant on the current COVID-19 situation being successfully controlled by this time.

The affected July 2020 study tours are:

  • Human Rights Law  – Cambodia
  • Water Security – Cambodia and Vietnam
  • Climate Change – Vanuatu

Due to the ever-changing status of COVID-19, we will attempt to update our tour information regularly. Please ensure that you are accessing the most current information on COVID-19 provided by the World Health Organisation.

 

Sunsets and good times

Insider's view on climate change in Vanuatu

January 2, 2020

In December 2019 Roam took a group of students on a 2 week study tour to explore the impacts of Climate Change in Vanuatu. Throughout their stay the students had the opportunity to explore, discuss and learn from the people of Vanuatu, how climate change is effecting their environment, country and way of life. The group undertook activities and visited places such as; language lessons, city tour, National Museum, tree planting, coral re-planting, snorkeling, turtle breeding program, home stay on Nguna Island, local food market, giant clam breeding project and the Australian High Commission. The group also had discussions and presentation from; Cultural experts in the National Women’s Council, Department of Climate Change, Department of Forestry Nursery, Ministry of Tourism, Island Conservation Network and Oxfam Vanuatu.

It was a busy, informative, active and memorable experience for everyone involved with the following direct quote from a participating student.

“The Vanuatu study tour was an exceptional experience that I will never forget. Not only am I walking away with an incredible appreciation for both the country and it’s people but have formed friendships that will be cherished for a lifetime. The tour was based around engagement with the local Ni-Vanuatu people and subsequently enabled me to gain valuable insights into the culture, tradition and climatic perspective prevalent throughout the nation. The two week itinerary was incredibly hands on and involved a wide range of learning activities such as coral replanting, mud baths, conservation parks, home stays, tree planting and lots of snorkeling!

Throughout these activities I was able to observe how climatic alterations are leading to issues such as coastal erosion, coral bleaching, sea level rises, forest degradation, food insecurity and an increased risk to natural disasters. We also had various meetings with government officials to gain valuable insights into how the nation plans to overcome hurdles and prepare for a future in the face of climate change. These discussions were pivotal to my learning and helped me understand the complex nature of climate change mitigation. Overall, the Vanuatu study tour was an incredible experience that has forever changed the way I view the world. I am returning home with a special place in my heart for Vanuatu and would highly recommend this adventure to anyone.”

Lauren Hodgson

BA. Health Sciences.

Coral Replanting
Coral Replanting

Food Market in Vanuatu
Food Market in Vanuatu

Forestry Nursery - replanting
Forestry Nursery – replanting

6 Things I Wish I Knew Before Going on a Study Tour

August 2, 2019

  1. Bring a backpack.

Yes, it sounds simple. But a handbag or pockets just doesn’t cut it. Unfortunately I had to learn that the hard way…

 

  1. Try and organise some fun (and safe) activities in the evening with your new friends.

Study tours can get intense with work, so it’s super important to schedule in some fun in the evenings. Everyone is in the same boat and you’re all doing the same work, so get to know each other properly in a relaxed environment. You’re going to be spending a lot of time together – might as well make the most of it. Go out to some markets and explore, to a local restaurant to eat dinner together, or maybe to some sneaky nighttime shopping. Whichever way, doing some fun and safe activities can really boost your tired spirits. But make sure you’re not out too late, sleep is vital for getting through study tours!

 

  1. Make sure you decide what is happening with your phone plan prior to leaving.

Luckily there are a couple options and while I was prepared, some of my friends weren’t. This is a great learning opportunity. Being without a functional sim card can be really frustrating and sometimes unsafe, so making sure you have a phone that can call locally and internationally is key. The first option is buying a pre-paid sim in the country you’re studying in. This is budget friendly and can get you a lot of cellular data and calls for a small amount of money. But it means your phone number will change, so make sure you warn family and friends back home that they can reach you on your temporary number. Alternatively (and what I did), is get an international plan that has a daily fee, but has unlimited domestic and international calls for your time overseas. While it is a bit more pricey, it does mean you can keep your original number and saves you having to get a sim while you’re over there.

Data and calls without an international sim or plan can get very expensive – make sure you decide what is best for you prior to leaving so you don’t come home to crazy phone bills.

 

  1. Keep in contact with loved ones.

Family and friends will miss you, and you will miss them. Give them a call when you can.

 

  1. Do not, and I repeat, do not exchange currency while you are at an airport or when you arrive.

Why, you ask? Airport rates work notoriously against your favour, simply because of location. There are no competing currency exchange places at an airport, so the one that’s there doesn’t need to have competitive rates, meaning they will squeeze as much money as they can out of you.

While you are overseas, the last thing you want to do is look for an exchange place that has good exchange rates – you’ll be way too busy. Do some rough budgeting, plan ahead, allow for spare spending money, and exchange cash before leaving.

 

  1. Try and eat some healthier meals when you can.

I know, I know: you’re overseas, you want to immerse yourself in the culture and food. But remember that these foods will be a bit different from your usual everyday meal and sometimes our bodies can only handle so much – especially unhealthy food. Don’t get me wrong, enjoy the local food, but also keep in mind that you’re there to study. In order for the best brain function, nutrients every now and then will help you get through the long days. Some people on my tour got a little unwell from not incorporating healthier meals. Eating fruit and vegetables once in a while will do you a world of good.

 

 

Mariah Lattas is a former participant of the University of Adelaide’s International Study Tour: Politics, in Singapore with Dr Benito Cao. 

IMG_3473

Top 10 benefits of undertaking a study tour for students

February 2, 2019

 

Australian universities pump out more than 130,000 graduates every year and we are the most educated generation in Australian history – yet we’re the most likely to struggle throughout our careers. How does one stand out from the stack of resumes?

New graduates need flexibility and adaptability. Study tours are a powerful way to empower students with these essential skills to survive in the workplace.

But what are study tours? These are short, intense courses (normally 2-6 weeks) delivered abroad which combine academic content with experiential learning. A physiotherapy student might explore the public health system in Cambodia while learning about the local history, or a development studies major can be found at a seminar in Vietnam listening to representatives from non-profit organisations talk about the work they do.

These are totally enriching, life-changing experiences that students keep with them throughout their professional careers.

As you can tell, I’m a pretty big fan of them – having helped manage and design tours for universities around the country. Here are the top 10 benefits, I have found, of undertaking a study tour.

1. Not just travel, but live in a new place

Log on to Instagram and scroll through your feed. Guaranteed within the first 10 posts someone you follow will have an incredible travel picture. While many drop a semester of uni to hang out on beaches and hop between hostels overseas, students can have the experience of living in a foreign country while staying on track to finish their degree on time. They’re living more authentically within that culture.

2. Academic relevance

There is no better way to learn than experiential learning. On a study tour, a student might be learning about how a government selects projects for funding, the project is rolled out into the community, and the outcome changes the community. The content and activities planned on these study tours are specifically designed to suit the academic theme. This isn’t just a trip to the city’s landmark and a quick visit to the local university. The itineraries are rich with opportunities to learn about a field in the context of a different country.

3. Professional insight

They’ll engage with organisations and industry professionals that they would never have otherwise met on a personal holiday. Think diplomats, industry game-changers, policy makers, and NGO reps. Not often do students get to hear experts on why they do what they do, what led them to that line of work and the impact they have on shaping their society and the world. It’s really powerful to listen to people that are passionate and inspired by their work.

4. Make friends with similar interests

I don’t know about you, but when I went to uni, I turned up to a tute five minutes before it began and was out the door the second it was over. Sure, I made a few friends that I now speak to once a year, but nothing can compare to the experience of travelling with like-minded people. By spending 24/7 with the group for a few weeks, you will almost certainly be sick of some of them – BUT you would also have made life-long friends. These people will go on to be your colleagues, your mentors and your confidants – essentially your network. And sometimes it’s not what you know, but who you know.

5. Authentic experience


Nothing beats real life experience. You can read all you want about how to be a pilot, but if you have never flown a plane before you’re not going to get very far. By undertaking a study tour, students get the opportunity to experience potential career paths. Study tours are designed to expose students to as many elements of the course as possible. By engaging with industry professionals, participating in group activities, and reflecting on academic content in the “real world” you start to think and talk in a professional manner.

6. Bragging rights

According to Adzuna, a UK-based graduate search engine, on average as many as 46 university graduates are applying for each graduate position in the 16 countries they operate (including Australia). For more competitive positions, such as the graduate program with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, this number is more than 2,000. All things considered, how does a student stand out from the crowd with a stock-standard undergraduate degree? By drawing on experiences and competencies. Study tours are a fantastic way to help develop valuable skills and link those required competencies in a unique setting. Employers like to see that their potential employees are flexible and willing to take on new challenges.

7. Resilience and other soft skills

Let’s be honest, studying is hard. Travelling is hard. Put them together and you are bound to learn a lot about yourself. When on a study tour in a new country where the language is new and there are academic demands, there may be some I-can’t-do-this moments. Which will be followed by an overwhelming sense of achievement because 9 times out of 10, you actually can! Students learn how to handle tough situations, ask difficult questions, communicate without words, work in a team, manage stress, time manage, and most importantly: adapt. All of which are extremely important in a sustainable career.

8. Get global


We live in a world that’s more interconnected than ever, which means we need to be prepared to work in a global community. I’m not saying you’ll be flying first class to a new country each week. But, there may be colleagues from different countries or projects that involve communicating with companies overseas. Cultural sensitivity and exposure are useful tools to have in the belt. By travelling through higher learning, students enjoy a head start in understanding how the global community can impact a specific field.

9. Finish quickly


Who wants to spend 10 weeks doing something, when you can finish it in 2? Yes, it is intense. And yes, you still will have the same level of assessment requirements. However, the sooner you get the credits, the sooner you can get into the world and start building a career.

10. Financial support

You might be reading this and be thinking… ‘Yeah, it sounds great, but there is no way I could afford a study tour – I’m a uni student…’. Well, that’s where you’re wrong. Australian universities are really keen to get their students out into the global community. Today, there are loads of funding options available to those willing to travel with their studies. For eligible Australian students, you can access OS-HELP funding of up to $8,149 depending on your destination. Other tours have scholarship funding, such as the New Colombo Plan, which even have an internship component. And some universities offer in-house travel grants and scholarships to help their students partake in study tours.

11. They’re fun!

You are going to create life-long memories, friendships and skills. Remember: People don’t regret the “stuff” they didn’t buy, they regret the things they didn’t do!

I’m chuffed to be working for Roam: Experiential Learning, an organisation that values enabling people to positively change their world. Each year, I see students come back from these trips with a feeling of that was the best decision I ever made at university.

Three cheers to adventure and getting academic credit while you’re at it!