Karen’s Highlights


  • One highlight was hearing about the varieties of cultural norms that play out in different countries, different work environments, and situations. I am fascinated by the hierarchies that exist and unspoken rules that newcomers must learn – or risk offending the hosts when only doing what is ‘normal’ in the sending culture. It was also fascinating to see all the similarities and differences between countries in the same region.
  • The child protection game was a real highlight as well. It really visually and experientially brought the topic to life.
  • Having the opportunity to gather with other people working for social justice and interact in even the informal settings, conversations over meals, field trips, etc. This led to new thoughts on how to use students and opening up experiences for them to learn about a new culture.
  • Malaysia was a highlight. It was fascinating to see what each group came up with as important topics. Also, the warm welcome we received and the opportunity to learn more about indigenous communities was great.
  • Having the opportunity to be in a room with all the players – students, academics, partner organizations, and some beneficiaries really led to an amazing amount of dialogue and I think a deeper understanding for all involved of the lenses through which each party sees the world. This is how social justice and development should work, in my mind. So often, one person develops the plan, without involvement of those ‘being helped.’ This is a flawed approach that often causes more harm than good and Macquarie has taken a great step to keep this from happening in their programs.