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Carolina Oliveira De Freitas

Speech and Language Therapy
Carolina Oliveira De Freitas Common Purpose Student

"I am naturally a shy, reclusive person, and don’t often engage in university events/trips etc, and I wanted to get out of my comfort zone!"

What was your most significant learning experience of the trip and why?

My most significant learning experience on the GLP was preparing an innovative idea to a group of industry professionals that would benefit Hanoi in becoming a ‘smart’ city. I learned that different members in a team are mutually beneficial, although there may be conflicting opinions and beliefs between the team, especially in a group of culturally diverse individuals. I learned to appreciate and incorporate everyone’s input in our final team presentation, and developed my cultural awareness in the respect I had for each one of my team mates. I learned that leadership wasn’t about ‘leaders’ dictating a team, but about a functioning team that support and boost each other.

Why did you decide to participate in this experience?

I decided to participate in this experience because I am naturally a shy, reclusive person, and don’t often engage in university events/trips etc, and I wanted to get out of my comfort zone. I am in my final year of university, and wanted to develop my inter-personal skills, leadership traits, confidence, personal and professional interactions before graduating and looking for work. I knew that the course also came with qualifications given on completion, which would make me stand out on the job market. It was a bonus that the trip was in Hanoi, Vietnam, and that I got to enrich my cultural knowledge through travelling to Asia, which is the furthest I had travelled solo!

What surprised you about the experience, or something unexpected that you learned?

Something that surprised me about the experience is how many connections and networks I built during the learning days on the trip! The tasks and workshops forced all the students, both City students and RMIT international students, to engage with each other in mixed groups, which created long lasting friendships. I created brilliant memories outside the course with groups of students from Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Cambodia to name a few! I have stayed in touch with many of these students, who not only come from different cultures, but educational backgrounds, experiences, interests, which I believe has ignited a passion in me to learn more about the world.

What would you recommend to others looking to take part in a Common Purpose Study Abroad programme?

My advice to anyone looking to participate in a Common Purpose Study Abroad programme is to say yes to the opportunity! I applied, thinking that I wouldn’t get accepted because I haven’t been engaged with the university outside of my course, but it ended up being one of the best decisions of my life. I would make sure you are 100% open and willing to learn and improve on yourself, both personally and professionally. Saying yes isn’t just limited to saying yes to apply – say yes to opportunities that arise on the trip too! Opportunities to hang out and explore the city you’re in are the things you will remember in the long run!