Testimonials

Tom Kramer

Tom Kramer

Senior Media Analyst, Isentia

I cannot speak highly enough of RESEED and its field trip programs. I went to South Africa on the Field Studies in Regional Sustainability trip in 2013 and the experience was both personally and professionally invaluable. I don't currently work in development, sustainability or geography but the application of learned skills and RESEED's core principals - particularly mutual learning and reflective practice - are directly applicable to my role in communications measurement. Both the field trip and my work speak to the collaborative aspect of projects that seek to implement change, as well as the process of evaluating their success. This rich field experience gave insight into the practicalities of the inquiry process I follow each day at work. Seeing RESEED emerge as a social enterprise driven by alumni, and that even more students will be able to experience what I did, and that Mpumalanga communities will benefit from this, makes me extremely proud.

Raymun Ghumman

Raymun Ghumman

Doctor, Masters of Public Health

The trip highlighted the importance of deconstructing the multiplicity of factors that contribute to a certain state of being. By meeting so many different stakeholders - the communities, small business, health and social services, local companies - we heard their concerns, agendas and priorities.

This allowed me to appreciate the multifaceted nature of projects that real life international/community development programs are trying to implement and how easily and outsider can miss the subtleties.

Additionally, the trip enabled me to grasp the complexity of the broader determinants of health. That is the social, economic, cultural, historical, environmental factors that influence individual and community's physical and mental well-being.

In turn, the trip influenced the area of medicine I am now pursuing: global health and the paramount importance of delivering good primary care.

Sarah Brennan

Sarah Brennan

Urban Development Planner, worked on the Cities Alliance "Urban Resilience Project" in Pretoria last year

The fieldtrip really got me interested in understanding cities, their dynamics and regional interactions and relations. Being able to critically engage with concepts such as sustainable development and what that actually means on the ground, in a given context, has proven to be a really useful skill in my professional life.

Also, the fieldtrip definitely planted a seed to engage further with planning in South Africa. After the trip I did a student exchange at Monash South Africa in 2007 and later I got involved in Global Studio, a participatory design program based in Johannesburg, and also on transport projects.

I've gone back to South Africa every couple of years since the field trip. I believe the ongoing relationships that have been built through the lecturers' efforts and fieldtrips over the last 13 years is testament to the longevity and meaningful engagement of the fieldtrip.

Elise Teperman

Elise Teperman

Consultant at HIP V. HYPE

Each day was incredibly engaging and challenging. One of the components that is unique about this trip is the guest speakers from various fields, spanning across education, human/social geography, agriculture, history, etc.

Each had a different perspective and what I found valuable was that their backgrounds were equally diverse with practices in academia, the public sector, and the not-for-profit sector. This provided us with a rich framework to explore the complex issues from both a theoretical point of view and of course, practical.

It was also really great to be around other people eager to learn and share the journey with. It's hard to find people who share that passion and encourage you to ask yourself those challenging questions.

Overall the trip enriched my knowledge and invigorated by passion, which at times can wane in the industry I work in.

Chris Madden

Chris Madden

Mining Advocacy Lead at Oxfam Australia

For me, the highlight was visiting all of the different organisations, from women’s crisis centre to local government, allowing us to see firsthand the strength of civil society in South Africa. We were given an excellent overview of the key issues affecting the region, and gained insight into how different organisations did their work. I think the key skill that I gained from the trip was the ability to take a bird's eye view of a place and pull that analysis into a coherent whole.

I have since travelled to South Africa many times for work, and have spent a lot of time in KwaZulu-Natal. For me, the country is one of many contradictions – a huge economy with massive inequalities, freedom and democracy but with often limited choices politically and economically.

But it is also one of optimism and strength – something that I have seen through working with amazing people and organisations focused on addressing various challenges in the country.

Lucille Gusah

Lucille Gusah

Went on the trip in 2015, studied a bachelor of environments at the University of Melbourne

The trip was a series of penny dropping moments! Everyday you’re bombarded with information from different sources. Some talks introduce you to new ideas and perspectives, while others challenge your core beliefs and ideas. Even during the evening and at weekends when you're relaxing and talking to the other students on the trip, you're getting to know their ideas and opinions. You're always learning from someone.

Additionally, the field helped me gain an appreciation of how the not-for-profit, public and private sectors tie together to form a functioning society. Each sector has its role; the problems we're tackling are bigger than any one person or organization.

I realized this during the final day workshop; there are some massive problems in the world and they can be overwhelming. But if each person and organization splits these problems up and focuses on one digestible bit, then the actions sum to real progress.

I may not know which sector I’ll end up in, or what problem I'll spend my career focusing on, but there are always opportunities to make an impact.

Corinne Bowman

Corinne Bowman

Chief Operations Officer at Pigeonhole and previously the education manager at the Jane Goodall Institute, Australia

As students, we had our own preconceived ideas of what to expect in post apartheid South Africa and I think it was for this reason that the greatest skill I gained while on the trip was understanding perspectives.

Situations are not always as you think and solutions are also not always so evident. By talking with and seeing how locals approach conservation, health and education issues on the ground I was able to really understand how communication and open mindedness are key to working in any field.

I certainly came back from this trip with a changed attitude of my role in this world. I felt, and still feel, a profound sense of duty to be an active citizen in both my local and global community.

Remy Kinna

Remy Kinna

Mekong Legal Director, Earth Rights International

The field trip had such an impact on me that it spurred a deep personal and professional connection with the country that persists to this day. I decided to undertake an honours year in 05-06 under the joing supervision of trip leaders Priya and Christian, returning to the same region for my primary research into community participation in the expansion of Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve. This in turn led me to complete my LLM in environmental and marine law at the University of Cape Town. The South Africa program shaped me as a young man and informed my perspectives of the true complexities faced in addressing social and environmental injustices, it led to lifelong friendships and my deep ties to South Africa.

Byron Pakula

Byron Pakula

Aid Effectiveness team Leader and Principal Consultant, Clear Horizons

Since completing my Masters of International Development and Environmental Analysis at Monash University in 2005, I have spent a lot of my time working for NGOs in development and humanitarian situations, including most recently the Syrian crisis. The skills and networks I developed with the South African field study program helped me immensely - it gave me an awareness of how complex development can be, and how many different people and organisations need to collaborate to achieve sustainable change. This technical and applied learning experience in my Masters continues to help me every day for clients, programs and organisations I support.