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Exploration: Bringing the learning home

Pre departure workshop
by

Jan Gothard

on 17 October 2012

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Transcript of Exploration: Bringing the learning home

exploration We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And to know the place for the first time.
T. S. Eliot, Little Gidding Encourage a sense of exploration
Acquire concrete knowledge about the country you are visiting
Heighten curiosity about your own country
Encourage reflection on your own culture goals how does it feel? anticipation As Danielle asks:
How do you fit your life into a few bags?
So much will be left behind – and not just clothes. It’s really confusing – you think, ‘Why can’t I function? Everything seems so similar, we speak the same language. I am perfectly capable of doing what I need to do here so why does it seem so difficult?’
Something is missing but you don’t know what it is.
Australian student in Canada Lisa R. i remind myself that it is going to be amazing,
i am going to meet sooo many new people, 
everything is going to be exactly the same when i get back… on getting Exploration is a state of always being lost, because one is in a new place.
Explorers carry with them ‘a sense of optimism about surviving and finding their own way’.
Getting lost is about ‘the unfamiliar appearing’ where you didn’t see it before.
When you get lost, ‘the world has become larger than your knowledge of it’.
Getting lost is an opportunity for growth.

Rebecca Solnit, A field guide to getting lost You need to start by doing some basic research... disorientation Viktor was a very inquisitive man... He made it his mission to get out all the information I had on Australia...  ranging from what were some famous Australian icons/celebrities/brands/foods; the metric system; the Australian dollar; house prices; Australians’ average annual income; the distance between capital cities; the population and demographics; the weather… and the list continues….  I am starting to suspect that Americans are not really interested in my version of Australia.
They are more interested in simplified caricatures and national symbols, that offer them a more comfortable albeit conventionalised version of Australia. Insofar as I had accumulated… expectations of Australia at all…, I had thought of it as a kind of alternative southern California, a place of constant sunshine and the cheerful vapidity of a beach lifestyle, but with a slightly British bent – a sort of Baywatch with cricket…

Bill Bryson, Down Under How well do you know Australia? Indigenous issues?
Pre-European history?
Migration & refugee policies?
Racism?
Compulsory voting? misperceptions Photo ‘Australia for Dummies’ by Luke B. The stereotypes about Australia are so apparent when people start asking you questions like do you have kangaroos in your backyard and other silly stuff like that.
Americans are very gullible and believe anything you tell them which can be funny at times. Photo by Semuthutan, 2007.
Creative Commons license.
Original at http://www.flickr.com/photos/azriadnan/2120116682/ I’ve noticed many weird things about Americans and their slightly skewed perception of Australia.
The first thing is the fact that the kangaroo is the first thing that comes up in conversation. Photo, ‘Australia Day - Thai Style,’ by gxdoyle, 2010.
Creative Commons licence. Original at http://www.flickr.com/photos/25792994@N04/5299579966/ I don’t exactly represent the quintessential Australian, but I offer some diversity that could potentially educate Americans about Australia, and relieve some of the simplistic views they might have of us.
I think that a country is more than just the image it projects, but sometimes the image is all people care to consider.. Photo, ‘kangaroo meat’ by Robert Schrader, 2012. Creative Commons licence. Original at http://www.flickr.com/photos/robertschrader/6889104777/ Photo, ‘and your point is?’ by monkeyc.net, 2006.
Creative Commons licence. Original at http://www.flickr.com/photos/monkeyc/11117741/ relations exercise What are the particular relationships or trade issues between Australia and the country you will be visiting?
Do we have many nationals from that country living in Australia?
Any particular ongoing cultural/historical/political/economic relations?
Is there any particular point about Australia which might interest people in your host country?
Any points of conflict or potential issues? Relations with Australia? perceptions arrival Towards the end of orientation I left and went to my room and crashed, having not slept in nearly 48 hours.
When I lay down on the bed I was SHOCKED! The mattress was literally made out of some sort of plastic and was sooo uncomfortable. At this point i was sleep deprived, angry lonely and really missed home as this was the first time I would be away from my family for so long.
I lay there freezing and trying to sleep thinking how am I going to make it through the next three months. It was not a good feeling, I had never felt like this before, I just wanted to go home.
Sahil, USA getting ready for arrival Look at your host university's website
Revisit what previous exchange students have had to say about your host country
See ozstudentsabroad.com
Email host university's International Office - at least you will know whether they are helpful or not!
Plan on taking up at least familiar activities and find out ahead of time how to do so! I guess prior to departing I thought I’d get a great big
warm welcome from the university, but sadly that did not happen! It’s really quite a lot more difficult than I imagined, there’s a lot more independence involved and if you need help you have to force yourself to ask for it.
I mean, really this is a great experience but it’s not easy at all. I can safely say that not everyone is cut out for exchange!
Emily G. USA It was an amazing and surreal experience to be driving a dog sledge and racing through the arctic wilderness in temperatures averaging negative 25 degrees celcius. This image represents the sense of freedom and adventure that … gave me the confidence to embark on adventures such as dog sledging, snowmobiling, toboganning on the Salzburg winter olympic track, horse riding in Iceland and snorkelling in the crack between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates to name just a few!
Megan, 2011 exploration BULA FROM FIJI!!! I realise that there are three things that are important to Fijians; Kava, Rugby and Church.
What surprised me at the beginning was that Islanders can be very shy especially around international students. Many presume (and sometimes they are right) that the international students are more than happy to stay together and they are shocked when you actually show interest that you want to do more than just be acquaintances.
Some of the highlights of the exchange experience is the moment where you transfer from being that Australian exchange student to being part of the group. And every time that it has happened, it has been while doing one of the three things mentioned above.
Katie, Fiji  Write down five to ten things you would put on your ‘must do’/bucket list for your exchange destination getting lost. exercise developing a taste for discovery Review your own bucket list in light of the one prepared for incoming visitors. exercise developing a taste for discovery Group: Write a bucket list for visitors to Australia. Provide them with a realistic & balanced overview of Australian society, culture & way of life. Write down five to ten things you would put on your ‘must do’/bucket list for your exchange destination getting lost. Sometimes I feel guilty that I am spending too much time with the other international students and therefore I am missing out on other cultural experiences.
Then I realise that spending time with the other international students, who are mostly from the USA can be at times more of a cultural experience than hanging out with friends who live in Suva.
I’ve learnt so much about Americans while I am here. Some of them I love and others are so different from me in their attitudes and goals for their time in Fiji.  
Katie B, Fiji cautions Photo by Leonard J. Matthews, 2010.
Creative Commons license.
Original at http://www.flickr.com/photos/mythoto/4306328650/ I’ve actually begun a list of crazy things other international students have said.
At the top of my list, and my current favourites, are “is Wales in New Zealand?” and “Katie, why don’t you have an Australian accent?” (still don’t understand what accent they think I have).
Katie B, Fiji ... to arrive where we started
and to know the place for the first time

on ‘finding the foreigner’ in oneself
Robert Lane Green coming home How do you think that foreigner will fit in when you return? Thank you...
and good luck! The Bringing the Learning Home Team:
Jan Gothard (Murdoch), Greg Downey (Macquarie),
& Tonia Gray (Wollongong).
The BLTH Students at all three institutions.

For more information:

http://www.tlc.murdoch.edu.au/project/btlh/ pre-departure workshop Unless otherwise noted, all material presented in this document is provided under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/au/).
The details of the relevant licence conditions are available on the Creative Commons website (accessible using the links provided) as is the full legal code for the CC BY 3.0 AU licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/au/legalcode).
Requests and inquiries concerning these rights should be addressed to:
Office for Learning and Teaching
Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education
GPO Box 9880, Location code N255EL10
Sydney NSW 2001
learningandteaching@deewr.gov.au Pre-departure workshop lost australians love their kangaroo! a fish out of water? My first week here was the worst. I didn’t have an official orientation so I had to walk around campus and discover everything on my own (UCLA is a massive campus). I had arrived on one of the coldest days, and my room did not have heating. I lay awake in bed for most of the night thinking about home. exploring
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