Want to experience Asia during your undergraduate degree, but don’t know what to expect?

About this series

Griffith University students and alumni provide useful information on how to gain an Asia-Pacific experience while studying! Engaging with the Asia-Pacific is key to unlocking cross-cultural understanding, employability and widening your global experience. Hosted by Griffith New Colombo Plan Scholars, this series will cover scholarship and grant opportunities, in country experiences, volunteering and career opportunities in the Asia- Pacific.

About this session

Many of us seek to make a difference in our world. But how can you? There are many opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region to volunteer and engage in development work. However, practices such as ‘orphanage tourism’ are marketed to mislead willing people to engage in work that is actually harmful to the local community.

How do we know where to start, and what advice can we learn from those who have volunteered and worked in the area of development for years? Griffith student, Anna Stirling, Ruth Larwill, CEO of Bloom Asia and Monique White share their experience to ensure you get the best out of your volunteering experience while making a difference to the community. This session will is facilitated by Gabi Cooper and Julia Hill.


Anna Stirling is a New Colombo Plan Scholar for 2020 and studies a Bachelor of Laws/Government and International Relations at Griffith University. She has spent time volunteering in Cambodia, East Asia and the Philippines. When she was 15, she spent time in Cambodia with the NGO Life With Dignity to learn about how to employ sustainable aid practices in running a developmental organisation, and was shocked to hear about the prevalence of orphanage tourism in Asia. She wants to see fellow young people aware of how to have the most positive impact possible whilst being involved with aid/volunteering.

Ruth Larwill is the CEO and founder of Bloom Asia and has established three vocational training and employment centres in South East Asia. Bloom Asia is a not-for-profit organisation that exists to restore and empower young women who have experienced significant trauma. Bloom Asia aims to address this through a program of Education, Vocational training (Cake decorating, Barista skills, Hospitality training), Mentoring (ACT therapy) and employment. At Bloom Asia, these young women are restored and equipped with the skills they need to create a better future for themselves and their families.

Monique White and her husband Roger have been involved with the NGO Symbiosis International for a combined 23 years. Symbiosis works to transform the lives of South Asia’s poorest people through education, health and economic development. Monique travels to Asia every year taking teams of predominately young people to encourage and monitor the work on the ground in Symbiosis. 

Watch the webinar

Listen to the podcast

For information on interning at Bloom, contact Ruth Larwill: [email protected]

For information on volunteering with Symbiosis, contact Monique White: [email protected]