Regarded as one of the most ethnically diverse societies in the world, Australia provides an ideal setting to discover and interact with the variety of ethnic groups who make this country their home. Its people identify with more than 270 ancestries and speak more than 200 languages; twenty percent of people speak a language other than English. This diversity is a central feature of modern Australia, presenting challenges and opportunities for health and human services providers, community organizations, and many aspects of Australian society. Students will engage in service learning activities working with varied ethnic groups that have immigrated to Australia as well as with indigenous people. The program also includes lectures and field trips to organizations providing multicultural services, visits to ethnically diverse neighborhoods, talking with people from many cultures, eating food prepared by locals, and gaining firsthand knowledge about a wide variety of cultures, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and more recent immigrant population groups to Australia (e.g., Vietnamese, Chinese, African, Middle East).
The program will culminate with a six-day stay in Fiji, where the highlight will be a two-night home stay in rural Komcave Village. Here students will experience day-to-day life in the village and participate in service learning, a kava ceremony, and a traditional lovo dinner and Meke performance with members of the community. While in the South Pacific, students will experience snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef, a traditional aboriginal welcome, hiking Running River Gorge to a secluded swimming spot, spotting platypus, touring the famous Sydney Opera House and Botanical Gardens, throwing boomerangs, enjoying some beach time, and a relaxing catamaran cruise floating by beautiful Fijian islands.
This program is open to students of all majors. While there is a general focus on health, the knowledge and skills students learn will help them to provide culturally appropriate services across many fields and disciplines. Students will increase their awareness of diverse cultures and develop critical cultural competency skills. You can learn more at www.byuglobalhealth.org.