Monash Bachelor of Global Studies focuses on change in practice with high-profile guest lecturers

Monash Bachelor of Global Studies capstone unit, Leadership for Social Change 3, will be renamed Social Change in Practice, in the 2022 course curriculum.

Preparing students for future careers in propelling social change, the Bachelor of Global Studies equips individuals with the skills and knowledge necessary to address global challenges.

“[The course] attracts a certain type of person that wants to implement change, and have an impact on their wider community, or the world,” says second year Bachelor of Global Studies and Bachelor of Science double degree student, Edward Lichtig.

Giving students the unique opportunity to learn from pioneers of change in their areas of specialisation, the course’s renamed unit, Social Change in Practice, will continue to feature high-profile professionals as guest lecturers, as it has in previous years.

“[The guest lecturers] are sterling professionals who have a profound positive impact in our communities, and in the lives of people who have gone through very difficult circumstances,” says Bachelor of Global Studies Course Director, Dr Gabriel Garcia Ochoa.

One such guest lecturer, CEO and founder of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC), Kon Karapanagiotidis, advocates for the human rights of refugees. Providing support to over 12,000 asylum seekers, ASRC facilitates a range of services, extending from English language learning classes, to mental health support, GP health services, human rights law programs, and food banks.

Recent Bachelor of Global Studies graduate, Isabelle Zhu-Maguire, says that “hearing Kon’s story, coming from humble beginnings, to what he does now, is one of those things that makes you feel like you can do and create anything.”

Similarly, guest lecturer Sonia Vignevic, Victorian State Director at Settlement Services International (SSI), is also internationally recognised for her work surrounding the current refugee crisis. Engaging with international stakeholders, Sonia works to address critical issues faced by those seeking asylum.

“[Having these lecturers] is a great way for students to hear directly from practitioners in this area, who have faced a global challenge as complicated as the refugee crisis [in their career],”  Dr Garcia Ochoa explains.

Allowing students to develop relevant, discipline-related skills, the Bachelor of Global Studies offers four separate areas of specialisation, including international relations, international studies, cultural competence and human rights.

Formed by reputable industry professionals with experience in each of the four specialisations offered, the course’s Industry Advisory Board plays an important role in informing the curriculum, mentoring students, and facilitating extracurricular activities.

The board consists of members such as Oliver Percovich, founder of award-winning international organisation, Skateistan, that runs skateboarding schools in developing countries to provide safe spaces for children.

As Course Director, Dr Garcia Ochoa, and other members of the teaching team meet with the board biannually, to assess educational and learning outcomes and opportunities included in the curriculum.

The Life After BGS Seminar, presented by the Industry Advisory Board, is now an integral part of the course, promoting discussion between students and industry experts.

“Going to events like [the Life After BGS Seminar], and [hearing] that your degree is leading somewhere, is really powerful,” Isabelle says. “Seeing past arts students go on to create a difference in our world was just fantastic.”

The Bachelor of Global Studies course also facilitates a range of study abroad options, giving students the opportunity to experience the world through a global lens, and gain real-life international experience.

“[Studying abroad allows students] to see a different world from the one they've been brought up in,” Dr Garcia Ochoa explains. “[It helps them to] understand that different doesn't mean good or bad - it just means different, and we come across differences all the time when we're working in a global arena.”

Isabelle credits her experience studying abroad at Monash partner university, National University of Singapore, for opening her eyes to the universally shared human experience, regardless of birthplace and cultural differences.

“[Studying abroad] shaped my career,” says Isabelle. “I want to work overseas, and shape my career around helping, and learning about other people and different cultures.”

Through her study abroad, Isabelle also developed the necessary skills to excel in her current role as AusNZPac Network Coordinator at UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

“It's a really international role,” she says. “[Having been] overseas, and having a focus on intercultural competence has helped me in my role, and has given me confidence.”

Isabelle is now also convenor and co-founder of Sustainable Universities Network (SUN), which she created in partnership with a sustainability student that she met while studying abroad as part of the Bachelor of Global Studies. SUN is a network of students, clubs and societies, who meet weekly to discuss sustainability focused initiatives and campaigns.

Visit the Bachelor of Global Studies course page to learn more, including how to apply.