The first time I ever set foot in Australia was when I decided to enrol for my Masters at UNSW Business School. Everything was so different from what I was used to. The city of Sydney, which is considered to be among the great cities in the world, is not just vibrant and thriving but warm, friendly and welcoming. The UNSW campus was sprawling and unlike many other international universities that are tucked away outside the city precincts, this campus took great pride in being where people lived and worked. It was part of UNSW’s USP to embrace the external environment and in fact, to draw it into the campus itself. I found this not just refreshing but it made me realize that education can and should never be divorced from the real world.
The time I spent at UNSW will remain among my most cherished. Having spent all my life in the wonderful city of Kolkata with its openness and alive culture, UNSW reinforced my values about multiculturalism and diversity. I realized how important it was to know and learn about other cultures, especially those that appeared so completely different from my own, whether in terms of cuisine or their way of seeing and doing things. This is what life and global living is all about and UNSW gave me that incredible insight. Here was a campus of 56,000 students of whom 21,000 were international students and came from 130 different countries! I simply could not have asked for more!! I made some wonderful friends and that alone would have made my university experience worth it.
But there was more to it. The approach to education was so fundamentally different from what I was used to in India. Here, the focus was on learning. The teacher facilitated. Books and articles were recommended for reading and it was our responsibility to ensure that we did so. We were treated as grown-ups and as adults. There was no spoon-feeding. Nothing to memorize. All we were repeatedly told was to learn to work as a team and to solve problems. The cases we were asked to examine were real life studies. This learning culture was something I found challenging because I was used to a different way of being taught. Yet, it is something I welcomed open-heartedly because it put me in the driver’s seat. After all, problem-solving and team-work is what life is essentially all about.
Gradually, the pedagogy shifted and we were taught to anticipate problems and resolve them even before they occurred. Creating a futuristic mindset is one of the key drivers of the UNSW pedagogy. If we cannot anticipate a problem, we would always be fire-fighting. This is a waste of productive resources and human capital. Efficiency lies in being able to cut through the fog and look beyond the routine.
I had the great opportunity of not only interning with a Singapore-based company but also attending workshops on campus. This experience provided me the opportunity of understanding of what I was studying and applying theory to practice.
In retrospect, I could not have asked for a better university experience. Not only were the academics excellent and internships exciting, but the whole experience of studying in Sydney and at UNSW taught me so much about life and the world that lies ahead. I feel I am better prepared to make a difference.
Studying at the internationally-ranked UNSW is worth it. What’s exciting is that the university is holding a series of absolutely out-of-the-box India Open Day’s that would simply wow you! They commence from 18th November and would be held in Delhi, Chennai, Pune and Mumbai. I promise you that you would get an insight into what education really should be!
Author: Ms. Aayushi Pandey, Post graduate from UNSW Business School.