The Asia Future Fellows program is an annual program designed to offer students from Griffith University and Peking University an opportunity to enrich their studies and professional skills whilst at the same time promoting and building strong collaboration between students from Australia and China.

This year, events were again held in Brisbane and Beijing and consisted of two intensive one-week programs, giving participants a holistic picture of their counterparts’ country and stimulating a comprehensive understanding of respective cultures.

Meeting with Lord Mayor of Brisbane Graham Quirk

The Brisbane program kicked off with presentations by the Griffith Asia Institute’s Professor Ian Hall and Dr Yi Wang on Australia – China relations. Students then embarked on various activities and cultural tours around Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Highlights included meeting the Lord Mayor of Brisbane, visiting the Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China in Brisbane, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Gallery of Modern Art.

During the last two days of the Brisbane program, Dr Jeanne McConachie, Manager, Griffith Honours College moderated four academic workshops on critical thinking and essay development. From this students from both universities formed small groups based on common interests and began to map out their research papers that they would work on over the semester. This exercise further enabled students to express their opinions and exchange ideas.

The Beijing program was an amazing adventure. In addition to presenting our essays and visiting some of China’s famous cultural sites, we also had the opportunity to meet with Australian professionals working in China and to hear about their personal journey of moving from Australia to one of the biggest cities in Asia. Their stories provided many insights and showed us how important it is to be aware of different cultures in today’s globally connected world.

My most memorable activity was visiting Bethel, an orphanage for visually impaired children. We had been fundraising for the orphanage as community work is also a component of the program and it was such an emotional experience to finally visit, volunteer and interact with the children.

The Asia Future Fellows program is one of the most wonderful international experiences that I have had. Through this program I have made some amazing connections, significantly extended my international network and understanding of China along with my professional, critical thinking and networking skills. I encourage all Griffith students, who are interested in enriching their studies, to apply and take part in this program in 2018.

Photos from the Beijing program can be found online.

Written by Grace Nguyen, Bachelor of Pharmacy (3rd year), Griffith University Gold Coast Campus, Griffith Asia Future Fellows 2017 participant

If you are interested in being a Griffith Asia Future Fellow in 2018, contact Natasha Vary at email [email protected]