An eye-opening overseas placement in Malaysia ignited Robert Impey’s passion for Community Development.
We flew into Kuala Lumpur and spent one week learning about community and social services in place for the urban poor. Then we flew to Sabah, Borneo, and spent the next five weeks with PACOS Trust - a non-profit community-based organisation.
We worked in the field and contributed to various programs. One of them was the Tagal Fishing Program, which involves rehabilitation of the river system using Indigenous practices. Palm oil production is destroying ecosystems and this program is in place to help Indigenous people fight back and restore their environment.
The placement was an incredible experience! I gained many contacts within PACOS Trust and discovered my passion for community development – which is what I’m currently studying. When I finish my degree I’ll be looking at opportunities outside Melbourne – I want to work with communities that will benefit from my course knowledge.
To students thinking of studying at VU I would say: go over to the TAFE division and cut your teeth there. Use the certificates to build up to what you want to do, and then start a degree in something you’re truly passionate about.