Last week, 12 Griffith University students and 8 Peking University students spent time in Brisbane participating in a range of activities for Asia Future Fellows 2019. This is a program that encourages connections between students in Australia and China, strengthening ties between the two countries on a person to person level. Students who participated in the program come from a range of backgrounds and degrees, creating a unique combination of personal interests.
Our week began with welcoming the Peking students to Australia and getting to know each other through cultural communication workshops and within essay development seminars and workshops moderated by Dr Jeanne McConachie.
Progressing through the week, we visited Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Parliament House, Chinese Consulate and Queensland’s Art Gallery. We had presentations from the Chief Executive Officer of the Australia China Business Council and from Matthew MacDonald from Morgans. Throughout all this, we were provided an abundance of information regarding the relationship between Australia and China, as well as how we can benefit in future employment opportunities by showing an interest in this area.
One requirement of this program is that we must form groups and write a research paper on a topic regarding the Australia – China relationship, which will be published later this year. This enables us to work together through an intercultural way, encouraging communication and collaboration between both Griffith University and Peking University students.
Whilst the Peking University students were here, we also showed them around Brisbane, spending quality time together. From a selfie safari through South Bank to eating ice cream on our way to dinner, we also introduced the Peking students to typical Australian snacks such as vegemite and milo. Some highlights included petting kangaroos at Lone Pine and watching the pelican feeding at Labrador. There were lots of group photos amidst the sand and sea at Surfers Paradise and various locations around Brisbane. Throughout this all, we have spent quality time together and we bonded to such an extent that we would consider each other lifelong friends.
We were sad to see our friends from Peking University depart after such a short time here, but we are all looking forward to visiting them in Beijing in the coming months.
Tiana Hogrefe is a 2019 Asia Future Fellow and second year student, studying a Bachelor of Design/Bachelor of Business at Griffith University.