Khairul Alam arrived in Australia in 2014, originally studying for his PhD in Newcastle before accepting an engineering job in Melbourne, but his real passion in life has always been dentistry. For numerous reasons his career path led him down a different road, but with the advent of COVID-19 he began to reassess his life and career priorities.
Dentistry has always been Khairul’s lifelong dream, he even married a dentist, but until now he hasn’t had the opportunity to pursue his goal. It was while he and his young family were in lockdown that he began to explore his options and he heard about Study Gold Coast’s Student Accommodation Grant, which provides up to 10 weeks’ accommodation for students who want to relocate to the Gold Coast to study.
When local Gold Coast radio personality, Christo was challenged by country music star Casey Barnes to produce a country song in just three minutes he turned to TAFE Queensland for help. The 102.9 Hot Tomato breakfast show host collaborated with music and sound production students from TAFE Queensland’s Coomera campus to record the vocals, play instruments and input creative direction to produce a high quality track in one of the campus recording studios.
Within weeks of it being officially released, the song titled ‘I Don’t Care (I Want My Dog Back)’ hit #3 on the Australian iTunes Country Music Chart behind global superstars Keith Urban and Dolly Parton.
This week St Stephen’s College transitioned a study tour with Showa High School in Japan into an online experience as the result of Australia’s current international border closure. Traditionally the Japanese students would visit the Gold Coast for a week to gain what Sam Holmes, the school’s Executive Director of International Education, calls ‘a taste of St Stephen’s’.
The partnership between the two schools began four years ago and has expanded over that time to now include similar relationships between Showa and several other South East Queensland schools. All up 100 students were due to visit Queensland this year through the arrangement, with double that number scheduled by 2023.
As the number of students participating in the study tours has grown exponentially, so too have the long-term enrolments from Japanese students - and then COVID-19 changed everything. Working with Australian International Student Tours CEO Tanya Ferguson, the team at St Stephen’s College devised an online version of the program by condensing the experience into two days.
TAFE Queensland Event Management students have used their newfound skills to help local children doing it tough over the holiday season by raising more than two thousand dollars for a local Gold Coast charity, Paradise Kids.
While COVID-19 put a stop to most face-to-face events throughout the year, the students were undeterred and pressed forward with their plans to organise and execute a successful fundraising event for the charity as part of their final assessment.
Twenty-four-year-old student, Chantelle Burkin spent six months working virtually with her team mates on their ‘Neverland’ concept and said it was all worthwhile when they were able to finally host the event.
In August 2020 a group of Japanese students from Hashimoto High School in the Kanagawa Prefecture were due to visit Australia for an international study exchange with Trinity Lutheran College through Study Gold Coast. As the year unfolded and it became increasingly clear that international travel wouldn’t be possible the program was totally rebuilt as a virtual experience.
By October the first virtual class was underway with an introduction to the program and an English language lesson for the Japanese students. Later sessions included virtual experiences with the Gold Coast Student Hub and the Home of the Arts (HOTA), as well as a tour through a homestay family’s home and a visit to the Gold Coast City Council Chambers with a presentation from the Mayor’s Office.
Bond University is launching the world’s first climate law degree for undergraduate students who want to fix the system from the inside.
The university’s Faculty of Law took its cue to develop the new Bachelor of Laws (LLB) in Climate Law from the hundreds of thousands of students who protested to demand action on climate change during 2018 and 2019.
Executive Dean of the Faculty, Professor Nick James, said COVID-19 had temporarily taken the focus off climate change but “there are still many young people out there who are passionate about doing something to help heal the planet.”
“My sense is that concern among high school students and young people hasn't gone away and that they are energised and keen to learn more about the issue and how to do something about it,” Professor James said.
In 2017 Xuanle Hao left Guilin, a small city in southern China to undertake a Bachelor of Business Degree in Sydney. Xuanle now wishes that she’d just come straight to the Gold Coast instead.
“During those three years I was in Sydney I spent virtually all my time either at university or living in my apartment. I was living and studying in the western suburbs and it would take me hours to get to the city or the beach. Sydney was too big and impersonal for me as a city, I never really felt connected with the student community or anyone else there”, she says.
“The Gold Coast appealed to me for a number of reasons. Studying at a regional destination meant I would qualify for the three-year post study work visa, but more than that I felt that there would definitely be more work opportunities in my field given the city’s strong construction industry. I majored in Property with my Business Degree, so the course at Bond was a good fit for me.”
Students from the Queensland Academy of Health Sciences (QAHS) on the Gold Coast have developed a series of scientific concepts focussed on marine biodiversity, pitching their ideas to an esteemed panel including Dr Alan Finkel, Australia’s Chief Scientist, along with scientists from Griffith University and Nigeria’s Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.
One of the project teams looked at more efficient processes of desalination, a pertinent issue locally with the Gold Coast's desalination plant. Sarah Rao, one of the students working on that project says: “If we could create a more efficient means of purification and implement it here successfully we could then export the concept to other parts of the world.”
Merrimac State High School is nurturing the digital minds of tomorrow through its STEAM (Science, Technology, Enterprise, Arts and Maths) Academy in robotics and artificial intelligence by preparing their students for a technological world through a comprehensive technology program.
The Academy, led by former software engineer Daniel Ricardo and supported by Merrimac State High School’s leadership team, was launched 5 years ago after identifying limiting opportunities for students to engage in the fields of Robotics and Artificial Intelligence. In establishing the program Daniel Ricardo eplains Merrimac’s thinking: “We looked around at what other schools were doing and made a commitment to give our students the opportunity to explore technological concepts through practical applications and develop their digital skills to better prepare them for the world beyond school.”