Recently School of Human Services and Social Work student Joel Dennis travelled to Indonesia with Prof Patrick O’Leary, Professor of Social Work, to take part in an international placement. The industry of human services and social work is global and our students, with the assistance in the form of grants from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), had the opportunity to undertake an overseas placement.

While Joel was in Indonesia he completed an innovative project in community development, assisting women suffering extreme disadvantage in a remote village with the aim of working together in micro-business and support groups. The project involved working with several Indonesian students from the Bandung College of Social Welfare and Joel said, “This was an amazing opportunity that I was privileged to undertake.This opportunity has given me the chance to gain new transferable skills to assist with my career in Australia or internationally. I could not have been happier with how I was supported by Griffith University, Bandung College of Social Welfare, the community, my supervisors and my fellow students.” Upon completion of the project the local village leader said that they hope to welcome more Griffith University students in the future.

In addition to this Joel took part in the International One Day Symposium on Social Work, which was hosted by the Ministry of Social Affairs at Bandung College of Social Welfare. A number of presentations, including that by Professor O’Leary, were covered by national and local media and Joel and Professor O’Leary were both interviewed by local news channels. Discussing the collaboration between Australian and Indonesia students Professor O’Leary said, “These activities are really important around Griffith’s commitment to the Asia-Pacific. They allow us to build a relationship globally around issues of social justice and student education and provide an unique chance for students to immerse themselves in different cultures. In addition Griffith and the Ministry of Social Affairs of Indonesia have had a great relationship since 2012, that’s developed some fantastic research opportunities and programs like the Colombo Plan”.

Opportunities like this strengthen global connections and industry communications and we can’t wait to see what fantastic accomplishments come next.