Providing experiences for students travelling abroad

25 Jun 2024

Experiences outside the classroom are enriching and leave lasting impacts on students’ careers. Students at The Australian National University (ANU) College of Asia and the Pacific continue to be given these empowering opportunities, thanks to The Sun Foundation establishing the Kirby Student Experience Grant.

Last year, 22 students received the grant, which supports students annually in global and domestic travel, conference attendance, study tours, or internship opportunities. Recipients in 2023 travelled to locations including Mongolia, Indonesia and Vanuatu to attend study tours, field colleges and short programs on archaeology.

Ansul Nagesh had been working multiple jobs while studying full-time to cover the expenses of a study tour to Mongolia, as part of his course, Modern Mongolia – Challenges to the Environment, Economy and Empire. The grant helped alleviate financial pressures associated with the tour.

“I would like to convey my sincere appreciation and thanks to The Sun Foundation for their generosity through the Kirby Student Experience Grant, which provided me with the funding to travel and truly immerse myself in Mongolia,” says Ansul.

With the indispensable support of donors, DBRG will continue developing innovative techniques in conservation and safeguard Australia’s most ‘difficult’ endangered bird species.

Mahealani Delaney did not realise how many doors her experience abroad would open for her. In November 2022, the Kirby Student Experience Grant allowed her to travel to Egypt for the 27th Conference of Parties at the United Nations Climate Change Conferences (COP27), which is the main decision-making body of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. She did so as a participant in the ANU Climate Alumni Leadership program.

Throughout her three weeks at COP27, Mahealani experienced what she calls a “really intense and awesome learning experience.” She was able to attend closed Alliance of Small Island States discussions and large international negotiations. She featured on a panel at the Pacific Pavilion as a Papua New Guinea youth delegate, while also representing ANU. She was able to develop strong connections with and learn from fellow Pasifika scholars, experts, and mentors during this time.

“The opportunity to observe international climate negotiations first-hand has been unparalleled to anything else in my professional and education experience. I was able to understand the processes and politics that underpin climate negotiations, and how these play out in a practical sense,” says Mahealani.

The Sun Foundation’s continued support will allow the grant to expand to the ANU College of Business and Economics in 2024 and offer its students the opportunity to participate in business immersion courses, both nationally and internationally. This generosity continues to play a vital part in enabling ANU students to develop their cultural competencies and discover learning opportunities and connections beyond the University.

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