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Matariki Exchange valuable to all

3 April, 2019

Published on The University of Otago Uni News

The first student to visit Otago under the Matariki Global Citizenship Exchange programme through the McCusker Centre for Citizenship at UWA says she is impressed by the University’s Student Volunteer Centre.

Linh Nguyen, who is completing a Master’s in Marketing at the University of Western Australia, has been based at Otago’s Student Volunteer Centre since mid-January – working with Manager Sze-En Watts and her team on a range of projects including a marketing and communications strategy for UniCrew.

She says she signed up to the exchange to explore ways in which young people can interact with global citizenship, be active citizens and get involved in community engagement.

“I was originally enticed by New Zealand because, as the smaller country across the ditch, it seemed much more progressive, particularly in their relationship with Indigenous peoples. I wanted to explore more of that and find out about the make-up of community engagement and relationship and explore other perspectives of active citizenship.”

She says she is learning about ways her university might be able to engage with the community.

“Specifically, through the area that I’m studying, how might we communicate and use effective language to engage with parts of the student body to get involved in volunteering and make a social impact.”

In addition to the marketing and communications work she has completed, Linh has also been working on a social impact tracking framework using the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goal as a guiding outline to measure volunteer hours against.

“We are now able to measure the total amount of volunteer hours the centre and the student body at Otago contributes to the community,” she say.

Outside of the Volunteer Centre, she has also enjoyed volunteering with Conservation Volunteers Coastal Otago and filming for Science Academy – a science programme for Year 13 students from rural or low decile schools – to support them with their promotion of the programme.

Linh will head back to Australia at the end of this week – but Mrs Watts says her contributions won’t be forgotten.

“We have learned some valuable lessons in marketing from Linh about how we can communicate our causes more effectively to students,” she says. “In particular, we have been exploring how to use our communication platforms effectively to link local initiatives to global issues with the UN’s sustainable development goals.”

Listen to Linh talk her experience.

Find out more about the Global Citizenship Exchange programme.