Saturday, January 28, 2012

Johor-Victoria Student Leadership Programme: A Photo Essay

 15 Johor Student Leaders  flew to Melbourne, Australia for the Johor-Victoria Student Leadership Programme starting from 12 to 25th December 2011. It is a collaborative effort with the Victoria Education Department, in order to expose the JSLs to global leadership and cultural diversity. They were accompanied by Mr. Md. Noor B. A. Ghani, Director of Johor Education Department (JED), his wife, Pn. Asiah Mori, Mr. Kamarudzaman Mubin, Assistant Director at JED, Ms. Azura Abdullah, the JSLC Physical Trainer and yours truly, as the Coach for JSLC. We were warmly welcomed by Mark Reeves, the Principal of Alpine School of Students' Leadership along with the other teaching personnels. Each of the JSL was given an Aussie room mate so they would be able to learn more about each other's culture and lifestyle. The Victorian schools involved were Wallan Secondary College, Maffra Secondary College, Rosebud Secondary College and Bandalla Secondary College.
The teachers at Snowy River Campus, Australia. They are perpetually buzzing with enthusiasm, optimism and very friendly too. I've learned and shared so many things with them and it helped to open my mind on various learning paradigms that I can venture to make my lessons engaging and meaningful. From them, I learn to give myself a break and not to sweat on the small stuff. As a teacher, it is important to establish good rapport with students yet stay grounded with our roles as a facilitator and an educator. Thank you Mark, Robyn, Tim, Francis, Tiwana, Emma, Danni, Bryan, Sarah and Sam for your friendship!
The leadership module was based on the integration of survival skills, team building and connection with Mother Nature. The students hiked into the forest every afternoon to reach the majestic sand dunes for a session they called Spirit Spot. The view was simply breathtaking. They went kayakking, mountain biking, beach exploration for 5 km and I am proud of myself that I did all of the aforementioned activities too :)

Debbie Gray, an awesome motivation coach gave a heart warming talk on her experience overcoming the impossibles. She lost her arms due to an illness and she had never see her disabilities as a setback from achieving her goals. She skydived, raced in a rally, conducted charity projects and raised her daughter single-handedly! Whoah, hats off Deb! Lots of the things she said left vivid impressions on my mind. Don't be afraid of new possibilities, she said. You don't do things to impress others as venturing new ideas and trying new things will open up various possibilities to be a better individual. Life is not all about winning but it's about seizing the opportunities to make your life more meaningful. Don't let negative thoughts, bad vibes, toxic people and setbacks stop you from moving forth. She definitely inspired me to be a better person. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Surf's up! I would never imagine that I would go surfing in Australia one day, I am so glad I braved myself and did it! We were given training by a surfing instructor.  I think this is one of the highlights of our programme and all of the participants enjoyed the experience thoroughly.

Cultural Night. The JSL mingled around with their Aussie counterparts and everyone was having a ball. I had the chance to meet Mr. Lynn who is the City Council member of Marlo. He gushed how much he loves Malaysia and he had even climbed Mount Kinabalu last year! The students performed some songs. The JSLs performed a choral performance, Lean On Me and Kenangan Terindah. As it was the last night we'd be spending at Snowy River, we could see the sadness on some of the students' faces yet they tried to make use of the time by having heart-to-heart talk to their friends. I also had the chance to meet Daphnee, the officer from the Victoria Education Department who corresponded with me on the previous international conference. She is a Singaporean who has been living for 10 years in Melbourne. It was certainly wonderful to finally meet you, Daphnee! I Definitely it would be a beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Due to some technical glitch, our flight was delayed and we were put up at Tullamarine Mantra Hotel for the day. Honestly, the JSLs saw this as a golden opportunity to check out Melbourne better as we didn't have much time to go sightseeing due to our tight schedules. Hence, we counted our blessings for the opportunity to be here and decided to be adventurous and explored the city on our own! We explored the National Gallery of Victoria which is so fascinating. Then, we walked to the Square and visited Crowne Shopping Mall which is just  opposite the Melbourne Aquarium. It was blazing hot and the city was jam-packed with so many people as it was Christmas Eve. I did some shopping and managed to get some souvenirs for my family, friends and colleagues back home.
Our big family :) We keep in touch constantly by setting up a Facebook group. It helps the JSLs to maintain the camaraderie and at the same time, update one another on leadership activities from both countries. As the JSLC would be organising the International Student Leaders Conference in June this year, we hope to see more student leaders participating and hopefully, some of the Aussie students would take part in the conference as well.

We were featured on Utusan Malaysia, 16th January 2012 :)