Gloria tackles China’s climate challenges with a virtual training

Gloria Lai, a student at Swinburne, has stepped out of her comfort zone and helped advance climate action in China through Swinburne Abroad.

The Bachelor’s student in Screen Production has enriched her degree with a virtual external internship at the world’s leading sustainable energy company, Sungrow.

Filmmaking is Gloria’s first passion and main field of study, but she is also well aware of the global climate crisis, and she wanted to educate herself on the issue through an internship.

Working with a global leader

Through Swinburne Abroad, Gloria is assigned with Sungrow, a global company spanning six continents specializing in the research, development and production of renewable energy equipment such as solar panels and batteries.

This opportunity is facilitated by the Swinburne Abroad Climate Action Project, a virtual internship abroad where students work in groups to consult with organizations to develop a climate action plan and help businesses improve performance. The program is supported by partners Swinburne Virtual Internships and Pomegranate Global.

Gloria said she feels more ready to work after completing her placement earlier this year, as she had never been exposed to a professional work environment before.

“Collaborating with high-level actors is hard, but it makes you feel like your work is appreciated and heard,” she said.

“They understand that interns are students who are willing to learn, so they have provided a sense of support throughout the internship.”

Harnessing technology to overcome travel barriers

While international travel has hampered most students’ plans to study abroad in recent years, Swinburne students have taken advantage of their university’s technology-focused and globally connected opportunities to undertake virtual placements throughout the pandemic.

Stuart Collins, associate director of Swinburne Global Mobility, said virtual overseas programs will likely be part of the university’s study abroad options long after the pandemic is over.

“When students were unable to leave the country due to Covid-19, we offered students virtual programs through Swinburne Abroad,” Stewart said.

“Working globally, whether physical or virtual, is an excellent way for students to gain that experience, cross-cultural understanding, and opportunities to communicate and learn the language.

“We believe there is a place for virtual programs in the long term. It is great for sustainability and accessibility for students who cannot afford to travel, have family obligations, or have a disability.”

External virtual programs are offered in the summer and winter break, and students who participated stated that the experience was worthwhile, saying that they believed the opportunity increased their employability and cultural intelligence.

“It wasn’t just students doing an online internship with an organization in Asia, for example,” Stewart said.

“They were attending cooking classes, taking virtual classes, doing general information, and other activities to interact with people in another country as well.”

Zero-carbon travel for Swinburne staff and students

As part of Swinburne’s Net Zero 2025 route, all university-related travel in Swinburne is now completely carbon-neutral through Swinburne’s certified travel provider, REHO travel.

By purchasing carbon offsets through organizations such as Arnhem Land Fire Abatement, which removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through the Savanna Cold Burning Fire Project, an estimated 17,000 tons of travel carbon emissions will be offset each year.

“We think studying abroad is a beneficial experience, so it is important that students continue to travel,” Stewart said.

“But we can be more sustainable in the way we do it.

“We go through a pre-briefing session with the students that includes their impact on the environment.

“For example, if a student goes to study in Germany for a semester, we’ll talk to him about thinking about where he can take a bus or train instead of a taxi or some budget airline.”

outside the classroom

Gloria urges all Swinburne students to consider undertaking an internship during their studies.

Whether to enrich learning in the primary study area or pursue interests outside of school, she said, it will help students seek new perspectives.

“It doesn’t matter what your background is,” she said.

“I study media and cinema, but I am learning about a global issue completely different from my regular studies.

“It’s great to tap into other interests and passions because it provides a really good balance.”

Contact Swinburne Abroad for more information about study abroad options.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: