Combining study and travel are highlights of the Paris Core.
Kylie Chenery never dared to dream that she might study overseas as part of her degree. Juggling three children, her nursing studies, part-time work at a Cooma nursing home and commuting to the Canberra Campus, there weren't many chances to head further afield. But the opportunity of two weeks in Paris in June/July to study the Core was too good to pass and her husband encouraged her to apply for the scholarship.
To qualify she had to write a compelling 500-word essay, maintain a grade point average higher than 4.5, demonstrate a commitment to community engagement and an ability to think critically and ethically, and show an interest in other cultures. Clearing these hurdles, she made the cut and packed her bags for a three-week stint at the Institute Catholique de Paris where she and 15 other ACU students are taking several hours of classes a day including French language lessons. As part of their trip they are visiting Fabriquons la Solidarite, a program promoting social inclusion and job opportunities through making wooden games from recycled timber, and MEP, the Paris Foreign Missions Society where they will hear about the volunteer program of MEP for the Young in Asia. Side trips will also include sightseeing excursions to Palace of Versailles, Eiffel Tower and a Seine River cruise. "I'm excited to see tourist attractions but most excited about going to the ground level," said Kylie. "Rather than just seeing the glamorous side it will be great to get down with the everyday people to see the social justice side of things."
Kylie wanted to take a gift of thanks with her. She had seen the work of local indigenous artist Mat Rumble at the Cooma show and immediately knew what would make the perfect gift. "I'd seen the artwork at the Cooma show – it brought me to tears. I just thought ‘wow, that is so beautiful'." Canberra Campus Dean Associate Professor Patrick McArdle provided some funds to assist in commissioning Mat to paint something to take with her.
"It really was a win win. I said to Mat ‘you're going to have your art work hanging on a wall in a Paris university'. It's so exciting, it just snowballed."
The trip is a fitting finale for Kylie, who has now finished her Bachelor of Nursing and has secured a place in the mid-year intake for the Transition to Professional Practice Program at Cooma Hospital which she will take up in August.