Vicki Jacobs is enrolled in the Master of Social Work program at QUT. Her team members were able to deliver a very effective activity for students in Class 3 at SK Temai. Vicki played an important role in delivering this outcome. Here are Vicki’s reflections:
I was so fortunate to be involved with this project as part of my social work practicum at QUT International Student Services. It has provided me with a real experience of culture that would be difficult to obtain on a holiday or a quick visit. I have gained insights and experiences that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
I was part of a team of eight students, three from QUT and five from UPM. We used Australian animals to re-create a short story found in the Malaysian English curriculum textbook for Year 3. Our classroom activities were highly interactive and the children had a lot of fun whilst being able to practice their English and learn about Australia. The combination of UPM and QUT students worked well, giving us the ability to explain our lesson preparation and receive feedback based upon local knowledge and incorporate ideas and games from UPM students into the classroom. In the classroom, some of the children found speaking in English very daunting which challenged us to think about other ways of interacting, however the UPM students were fantastic at encouraging the children to speak and this gave them the confidence to have a go!
Being able to stay with a local family for one night gave a unique insight into daily life in rural Malaysia, the customs, the traditions and the food. It was a privilege to be hosted by families who were connected with the school and form friendships with them and the UPM students we stayed with.
Not only did we experience life in a small rural village in Pahang, we also had the opportunity to visit an elephant sanctuary on our journey from KL to Pekan where we helped bathe the elephants and heard about their plight to remain in their local environment due to deforestation. Later on in the week we visited Kuantan, the nearest beach town, complete with cheeky monkeys on the rooves of the fast food restaurants and on our return journey to KL, we stopped at Putra Jaya the country’s new government administration hub and experienced Malaysian street food at the night markets.
In summary, the trip was a very rich and rewarding experience and I will remember the people and places we visited with very fond memories!