Students apply studies on an international scale

Solomon Islands 

Students enrolled in Western Sydney University's Bachelor of Sustainable Agriculture & Food Security course have been applying their studies to great success on a global scale.

Megan Hounslow, Sarah Corner and Ashley Harkin, are three such students, having just recently returned from a volunteer project in the Solomon Islands as a part of their undergraduate degree.

Working in a region with limited resources, the trio applied their course learning into developing an innovative new system for recycling waste coconut material into usable feed for local pig production, greatly assisting in the livelihoods of the local people.

The opportunity to travel overseas and apply their studies to global issues was a result of the trio's passion for the industry and their ongoing efforts in networking throughout their course.

Megan Hounslow, who started her studies in 2014, says students are regularly supported and encouraged by the university to attend industry events and networking opportunities.

The trio met Dr Dan Etherington, founder of Kokonut Pacific Solomon Islands (KPSI), at one such event. The university's agriculture team frequently organise for students to attend events such as The 2014 Crawford Fund Conference in Canberra, which fellow traveller Sarrah Corner says, led to the life changing trip taking place.

"Our communications with Dr Dan led us to the South Pacific. His passion and energy inspired us and opened our minds to opportunities in the Solomon Islands" says Sarrah Corner, one of three students to travel to the Solomon Islands as a part of their program.

"The course introduced me to global issues including: food security, climate change, poverty, gender equality, population growth and resource sustainability. I felt motivated to help others and determined to make a difference in the world," Corner continues.

The university is seeing an increased number of students participating in overseas programs every year. With programs taking place in countries like India, Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Christopher Vella, Science Education & Engagement Coordinator at the university believes in the importance of the university's supportive approach student led goals, interests and opportunities throughout their education.

"In an industry as broad as agriculture, we feel that it is highly important to offer a diversity of international experiences for our students. Our students have a range of interests and career objectives, so we work with them to pursue the opportunities that they feel will further their goals, and back them to make these experiences happen."

The university has supported students who choose to participate in overseas programs financially, professionally, academically and culturally. Studying in one of the nation's most culturally diverse regions, Western Sydney, means students are better prepared to interact on a global scale.


2 February 2016

Mark Smith - Media Officer

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