Amanda discovered her passion for International Community Development while helping kids explore the wonders of fiction in India.
She completed a Bachelor of Social Work and a Bachelor of Arts (Indigenous Cultures and Australian Society) in 2013 at the University of South Australia. And after a few years working in Forensic Mental Health, took a break from her career to relocate to India to work in the beautiful district of Malappuram.
She worked in a school with children aged 4 to 14. Initially her role was to teach the kids to speak English, but it quickly became apparent that without an established curriculum or resources to accommodate their varying needs, that she was going to have to get creative. Having a love of literature, she established a library and a graded reading program to support the students to learn English.
Within a few months, she had established a library with a few hundred English, Malayalam, Hindi and Arabic books with support from the school, teachers, parents and the wider community. This experience highlighted to Amanda the importance of every child having access to a library and being able to explore the world of books.
“Watching the shy grade 4 girls’ laugh hysterically as they read Captain Underpants and having students request one-on-one time to read poems authored by their fathers, sparked my passion for International Community Development,” Amanda said.
Amanda realised that to break into the International Community Development industry she would need a postgraduate degree. After reviewing all 43 Australian Universities and their respective online degrees, she decided upon the Master of Social Change and Development at the University of Newcastle as the flexible 100% online delivery meant she could study whilst continuing to work full-time. She was also drawn to the flexibility of the program’s content which enabled her to focus on her areas of passion.
A highlight of the course for Amanda was a research project she undertook on hygiene practices in India, where she drew on her experience of living and working in India. She was also impressed by how professional, experienced and passionate her lecturers were and by the level of support provided to her by her supervisor.
Outside of her studies she enjoyed being a part of the University community through tutoring Indigenous female social work students. This was a great way to share in the success of other students whilst staying up to date with social work best-practice.
Within months of finishing her degree, she secured a position as a Program Strategic Support Officer at an International Community Development company, and this year she also enrolled in a Graduate Certificate of Disaster Risk Reduction to further enhance her knowledge and skills in the field.
“Understanding how private and government organisations prepare and respond to disasters is becoming increasingly important across the globe,” Amanda notes.
Once she finishes her Graduate Certificate, Amanda is considering her future options to do a PhD or to work abroad in places of interest such as India, the Pacific Islands, the Middle East and South America.
Amanda realised that to break into the International Community Development industry she would need a postgraduate degree. After reviewing all 43 Australian Universities and their respective online degrees, she decided upon the Master of Social Change and Development at the University of Newcastle.
The Masters program has enabled me to pursue my career goals of working abroad in the areas of health and education.
The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.