A stately looking room from above with curved wooden seating, with young people in seats
First year Law and Justice students on a recent trip to Parliament of Victoria

Everyone learns differently, but there is nothing quite like an immersive experience to help the mind absorb new information. Now that a number of pandemic restrictions have eased, first year law and justice students took part in an opportunity only afforded to select groups at Victoria University (VU): access to Parliament of Victoria.

Kathleen Raponi, senior lecturer in VU’s First Year College, has been taking part in the unique parliament field trip since the inaugural visit in March 2018. Due to the pandemic, the last two years required the program to be delivered online via Zoom. This week, however, a group of students returned to the onsite experience to see first hand the differences between day-to-day parliamentary processes and what they learn in the classroom.

“The parliament program really brings the unit content to life. Students get to soak up the atmosphere, engage with parliamentary staff, ask questions and get a real sense what sort of career options might be available. VU supports field trips like these to give students a more immersive learning experience. You can see the excitement on the students’ faces,” said Kathleen Raponi.

Law and justice students complete the program during the first or second week of unit delivery, allowing them enough time to integrate the experience in the context of the unit and to complete the aligned assessment.

For Polly Waldron, first year Bachelor of Laws student, the experience made a big impression. “I absolutely loved it. The decisions that are made in parliament influence our everyday lives, so to see that take place was a great opportunity. Kathleen does an excellent job in the classroom, but having the chance to see how parliament works up close was amazing.”

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