Law and Business students visit the Philippines as part of the New Colombo Plan
Five Thomas More Law School and eight Peter Faber Business students were selected to participate in the first international study tour of the year under the New Colombo Plan. The trip included lead lecturers Sr. Thuy-Linh Nguyen (Business - Melbourne) and Dominic Cudmore (Law – North Sydney).
Law students at the Philippine Court of Appeals together with Justices de Leon and Fernandez
On 5 February 2018, the 12-day study tour kicked off for law students with an action-packed itinerary. During the tour, the law students were honoured to meet representatives of various Philippine superior courts. The law students were given a tour of Supreme Court of the Philippines and later met with a number of the Justices of that Court. They also enjoyed morning tea and one-on-one discussions with seven Justices from the Philippine Court of Appeals, attended a court hearing and a long and lively lunch with seven Justices of the Sandiganbayan (Philippines anti-graft court) and met with lecturers and law students from three universities, namely:
Ateneo de Manila University Law School
University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Civil Law
University of the Philippines College of Law.
The law students also met with senior officials of the Philippine Legal Education Board, the Philippine Commission on Human Rights and Austrade (Philippines).
Near the end of the tour, the law students spent time with young children in a centre run by the Unang Hakbang Foundation. This centre, in a disadvantaged area of Metro Manila, was established to ensure that the children of local families receive quality schooling in basic skills such as mathematics, writing, English and an awareness of the rights established by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Law students at the Unang Hakbang Foundation Inc, Mandaluyong City
I would highly recommend the study tour to anyone interested. I learnt so much about the Filipino culture, history and legal system. The tour was a very enriching experience and has opened my eyes to the human rights and legal issues of another country and given me a greater appreciation for Australia and its role from a global context. - Lloyd Malouf (Law Student , North Sydney)
Meanwhile, the business students enjoyed a social entrepreneurship field experience, joined fellow students from University of Santo Tomas in strategic management followed by a visit to Ateneo de Manila University’s centre for social entrepreneurship and School of Management and Australian New Zealand Chamber of Commerce (ANZCHAM).
The study tour to the Philippines was an amazing, eye-opening experience. The trip consisted of busy, full days which involved constantly interacting with local people, businesses, students and government officials (…). From this experience we have learned so much about the Philippines with regards to culture, history, education and business from a foreign and local perspective.
This tour was very well structured, ensuring that we made the most of our time in the Philippines and had the excellent guidance of our lecturers. This 12 day tour gave a full immersion experience that we are all grateful for and hope other students get to achieve a similar experience. – Madison Amarasinghe (Business Student, Melbourne)
The business students also had some wonderful immersion experience at the Thousand Oaks Packaging Corporation (TOPC) – a small company in a poor area, and two Gawad Kalinga (GK) communities – GK being a well-known social enterprise that helps highly disadvantaged Filipinos. These visits have actually become highlights of the trip. Everyone was extremely impressed and inspired by the TOPC’s practice of corporate social responsibilities – how they take care of their employees and provide them with many benefits and opportunities. The visits to the GK communities were deeply touching and confronting – as we witnessed the lives of people living off dumpsters, but also satisfying – as we were able to help cook and prepare lunch for over 700 kids.
Business students at helping preparing lunch for over 700 kids at GK Kusina Ng Kalinga, Quezon City
On the final evening of the tour, both business and law students were invited to a dinner reception at the residence of the Australian Ambassador to the Philippines, Ms Amanda Gorely. The ambassador personally welcomed students from various Australian universities who were in the Philippines on a New Colombo Plan-sponsored experience. A delightful evening was had by all.
Business and Law staff and students with the Australian Ambassador at her residence, Makati City
Dominic Cudmore, Lecturer in Law, commented:
This was a superb experience for all of the law students. The hospitality extended towards them was, to say the least, overwhelming. In addition, they received an extensive introduction to the law of the Philippines and to the important human rights challenges faced by citizens of that country.
I believe that all the students also gained a deep appreciation for the people and culture of the Philippines. It is my hope that these experiences and connections can be further developed as time progresses to the benefit of the Thomas More Law School and its students.
The above is also strongly echoed by the business staff and students:
This was a wonderful experience for the students. They gained enormous knowledge of the Philippines, received a strong boost in confidence, motivation and networking, and became transformed by the immersion experience. Some have shared how the experience has inspired them to embark on social enterprise projects and engage in international business with the country. – Sr. Thuy-Linh Nguyen (Business Lecturer, Melbourne)
The tour was definitely an unforgettable experience for me. I was bombarded with all sorts of emotions and confronted by the reality of the developing country in a different angle. I have travelled many times in the Philippines before but the insight gain from the tour gave me a different perspective about business in general, locally and internationally. I have understood more deeply the concept of common good that ACU teaches. I am truly excited to take that knowledge further and hope that I can somehow create something beneficial in the future. – Rugelie Walsh (Business Student, Brisbane)