I have been working with the Macquarie students since 2009 and have oriented them about living in India, culture, safety etc… I have never been to Australia and all that I understood about Australia was what I heard from the students and little things I had read about Australia. The moment I arrived at the airport, I faced the first shock when I was asked to go through the special queue to check if I was carrying any food items/ animal products, which are prohibited in Australia. They even asked me if I had sand or dust. I was intrigued by these questions. I have been to many countries and never been asked questions on sand.
I didn’t understand the rationale behind it until I stepped out of the airport. The flora and fauna were completely different. The second day of our arrival we were taken to the park. We were orientated thoroughly on the culture and about the country. How the native Australians (Aboriginal peoples) lived. I found the answers for these questions. It also made me aware of the Australian culture and relate to the students better.
The second day’s workshop on co-creating the curriculum was learning in itself. It opened a window of opportunity for us to share our experiences, the do’s and don’ts in our culture. I particularly remember the session on child rights policy, where we had to think from the view point of a child, what he/she would consider as their right. Sometimes as adults we might think that certain things are needed for children but from a child’s perspective it will be entirely different. The session was further enriched by each participant adding their country’s perspective.