Stephanie von Kanel is in her final year of a Bachelor of Humanitarian and Community Studies (BHCS) student. She has just completed a student placement with the National Society of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in Timor-Leste, known locally as Cruz Vermelha de Timor-Leste (CVTL). As she prepares to finish her degree, Stephanie reflects on the placement – and dissects why it was such a formative personal, professional, and academic experience.
As the humanitarian aid and disaster management sector evolves, keeping up with best practice and new ways of responding to crises has never been more important. That’s exactly why Emma Kettle chose to return to uni to take on a postgraduate degree. Having worked in the humanitarian aid sector for more than 15 years, Emma enrolled in a Master of Disaster and Emergency Management at CDU to shore up her skills. She’s now the Director of Capability at RedR Australia, a not-for-profit organisation that provides humanitarian response training and assistance to alleviate suffering in post-disaster and emergency situations. Studying online gave me the freedom to continue working Why Emma chose to invest in her professional development After spending many years working in the education and development sectors in the Asia Pacific and Middle East, Emma moved into the humanitarian sector. Her job at RedR Australia involves providing training for first responders to disasters and emergencies in Australia and overseas. She teaches aid workers about the technical and soft skills they’ll need in the field, along with how the humanitarian system works globally. In 2014, Emma decided it was time to invest in her own professional development and enrolled in her Master’s degree. At CDU, I could tailor my Master’s degree to suit my professional needs and interests “Although I had worked in the sector for about 15 years, I didn’t have a formal qualification in my field,” she explains. “My undergraduate degree was totally unrelated to humanitarian work. I was looking for a postgraduate degree that would consolidate my skills and add depth to my practice.” “At CDU, I could tailor my Master’s degree to suit my professional needs and interests. I chose to specialise in cultural competency, which is a huge part of my job at RedR. I completed some fantastic units that taught me so much about how people understand, communicate and interact in culturally-diverse contexts.” How Emma balanced studying online with work and travel As she’s based in Melbourne and travels extensively for work, Emma completed her Master’s mostly online, with a few short trips to Darwin to complete intensive units in disease and health control. “My experience at CDU was really positive. I enjoyed getting back to study after such a long time away from uni, although there were some surprises along the way,” she says. “Students are a lot more independent now than they were 15 years ago. Most of us were studying remotely and logging onto lectures virtually.” “Studying online gave me the freedom to continue working. I logged on to the online learning platform a few times a week, carving out time when it suited me. And one of the best things was regular and easy access to the course coordinator. She was really responsive and any time I had a question it was just a case of shooting off an email.” On travelling up to Darwin, Emma says: “It was only ever two weeks away from home and a good dose of face-to-face time. The opportunity to work alongside my peers gave me that great sense of collegiality.” I enjoyed getting back to study after such a long time away from uni Why Emma chose CDU “There are so many courses on offer now. I chose CDU because I travel so much in my job, so it was a huge advantage to be able to do a lot of the study remotely,” Emma said. “In some ways, the mode of study – whether it’s online or in a classroom – is just as important as the course content. The course content at CDU was exactly what I needed and I found it really valuable to be able to learn the way that I wanted to.”
Cecilia wants a career helping people, so she’s studying a Bachelor of Humanitarian and Community Studies at CDU. After travelling for a while and spending some time working with children, she’s upped the ante and is completing her degree so she’s prepared to work with refugees and special migrants. Read on to find out how she’s finding the course, getting job-ready and managing her studies.
Meet Esther Canmue. A refugee herself, she’s passionate about providing support for new refugees arriving in Australia. She’s investing in her career by studying a Bachelor of Humanitarian and Community Studies at CDU – while working full time as a refugee and asylum seeker support worker and raising a family. Read on to see how she’s balancing study, life and work to reach her goals.
Is being vulnerable to the forces of nature entirely due to our social, economic and political decisions? This is a question Dr Jonatan Lassa, a senior lecturer in Humanitarian, Emergency and Disaster Management at CDU, explores in his research and teaching. Read on to see what he's discovered about saving lives, having examined 40 years of critical disasters.
In the wake of a major earthquake on the island of Lombok in Indonesia, Dr Jonatan Lassa, a senior lecturer in Humanitarian, Emergency and Disaster Management at CDU, asks the question: is it time for Indonesia to embrace radical change? See why he's calling on authorities to prepare for tourists, look beyond technological solutions, and act now with building standards reform. This article has been adapted from an article originally published on The Conversation.
Stephanie hopes to use the knowledge and experiences gained while studying a Bachelor of Humanitarian and Community Studies with CDU to initiate social change.