Bob Stowe

A Global Experience Down Under
La Trobe University, Bendigo

Bendigo, Victoria, Australia
by Bob Stowe

The opportunity to travel abroad and study the higher education system of another culture is a remarkable experience. This cultural experience allowed me to see what our counterparts in another country were doing in the educational setting as well as to experience what encompasses higher education in another country. My travels took me to the southeastern part of Australia and La Trobe University, Bendigo (LTUB) in Bendigo, Victoria. While visiting LTUB I worked in the residential services office researching the quality of departmental services to constituents, grant writing, and formulating duties and programs for a new residential coordinator position that was recently filled.

When I was putting together my global experience and looking for a location, I wanted to find someplace new and different that had not been done in the HIED program. This involved a lot of web searches, “cold calling” potential sites, and working with students and faculty members to locate potential contacts. Throughout this process, the one thing that I could not emphasize enough is the need to get started early. I began making contacts in October with the hope of being able to travel to the potential site in mid to late May. Obstacles that I needed to overcome during the planning phase were matching academic calendars and finding a way to be an asset to the school. This became especially evident in Australia where their seasons and their academic calendar are opposite to the United States.

Australian higher education is very similar to that in the United States. There are several quirks that make each system unique in its own right. However there is a lot to be learned from taking a look at how another country runs its higher education. This experience has shown me that there is more than one way to operate higher education; although students, academics, and support services may seem similar there is a varied and distinct difference. This whole experience has opened my eyes to a number of different aspects in higher education on a global scale.