Charlton Brown College in Brisbane has been running a short-term mobility project in Vietnam since 2009, providing students with an international study experience and building personal and institutional linkages between Australia and Vietnam.
The most recent group of students to participate in the Community Services- Global Linkages Program completed 3-week practical placements at the Thanh Tam School for children with special needs and the Mai Am Tinh Thuong (Elders House) in October 2012.
The 2012 cohort became the fourth group from Charlton Brown College to gain credit for their Australian vocational training courses in Child Care, Aged Care and Disability Care through a placement in Da Nang. Since the program began in 2009, close links have developed between the staff and students of the Vietnamese school and the Australian college.
One participant, Kate Sciffer, described the experience of living and working in a Vietnamese community as “life-changing”. For some of the Australian students it was their first time out of Australia - for one, her first time in a plane.
The Australian students found their lack of Vietnamese language was no barrier to them engaging with teachers, children and the elderly. Instead, music, dance, games and craft became the common language.
These experiences help prepare students for their work with culturally diverse communities in Australia, assist their development as global citizens and open their eyes to the possibility of working in Asia during their careers.
The accompanying Australian teachers shared ideas with their Vietnamese counterparts, such as making teaching resources from inexpensive materials from Da Nang market, and ways to encourage imaginative play and personal expression for children with limited mobility.
Staff at Charlton Brown College have assisted the professional development of staff at Thanh Tam school, regularly sharing new developments in teaching methodology, curriculum development and education management.
Charlton Brown College’s Community Services- Global Linkages Program has been supported by the Australian Government’s VET Outbound Mobility Program
. The VET Outbound Mobility program provides funding to eligible Australian VET providers to support the development of student mobility programs and to subsidise the costs of student participation.
The Australian Government plans, through the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper, to encourage more young Australians to broaden their outlook through international education and exchange in Asia. Through the AsiaBound initiative
more than 10,000 Australian students and researchers will have opportunities to study in an Asian country.
Coverage of the Australian students’ visit also appeared in the Vietnamese media
(Vietnamese language only).
A student from Charlton Brown working with young pupils of Thanh Tam Special School during a play activity.