From business in Australia, to travelling Asia: Elise’s study exchange

From business in Australia, to travelling Asia: Elise’s study exchange

What did you do after your business degree?

“Griffith encouraged students to become global citizens and participate in international exchange programs. In my final year of study, I undertook an internship program in Hong Kong. This was through the Prime Minister Australia-Asia Award. From this experience, I knew I wanted to stay connected to the region. However, I needed to develop my skills and further my work experience in Australia first. So I worked for five years for the Queensland Government in a number of policy roles. Then I decided to work in Vietnam and build the capacity and capabilities of local staff working within Government.

“The decision was due to the fact that I felt I had much more to give. I knew I could make a greater impact in a developing country than in my Australian-based position. Luckily, I was able to combine my policy skillset with my interest in helping others and the global community. My new role was with the Australian Government’s Australian Volunteer Program. I worked for the Government of Vietnam in a team responsible for addressing the threat of infectious disease. A position where I could help others reach their full potential, and contribute to the development and implementation of vital policies in Vietnam.

What did you like about Vietnam?

“It is interesting how you can feel so at home in a place that’s so different culturally and geographically to Australia. I think that is very much based on the friendships that I developed in Vietnam and how hospitable the people are. I feel so deeply connected to Vietnam and any challenges and discomfort really just disappeared. My heart feels content in Vietnam, and I will bring my Australian Mum back to Vietnam at Lunar New Year this year to visit my Vietnamese family in Hanoi. I laugh with my Vietnamese friends who suggest to me that maybe in a previous life I was Vietnamese – it certainly feels that way!”

“I love the dynamism of Vietnam. Every day is different and it is transforming at a phenomenal pace. The large population of young people presents unprecedented opportunities for the region, and their energy and drive is contagious. I want to work with young individuals who are passionate about social and environmental concerns rather than solely on profits. I find my personality fits well with that culture of dynamism, innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Can you tell us a bit about AVYLD?

“Of course. I was proud to be involved in AVYLD (the Australia-Vietnam Youth Leadership Dialogue). It’s phenomenal. I was involved in leading the programming as the Policy Manager. So I connected with so many people – the delegates, the advisory board members and expert speakers in both Vietnam and Australia. I think, though, the best part of working in an environment with talented and remarkable young leaders is that you grow and you rise to the challenge too.”

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