Michelle Baker is one of 15 nursing and paramedicine students will spend two weeks in a small Cambodian city providing health and education to Battambang.
Two jobs, three children and a full-time study load will not prevent Michelle Baker from embarking on the experience of a lifetime in Cambodia.
In July, Michelle and 15 of her fellow ACU nursing and paramedicine students will spend two weeks in Battambang, a small city of 200,000 people about 330km from the capital Phnom Penh.
“We will work in a health clinic for a week and then the second week we are doing school health education,” Michelle said.
“It is very out there and very exciting. I love the idea of working in a rural setting and it is an experience that you wouldn’t get just by paying for a holiday.”
Providing sustainable primary health care within Cambodia is a key focus of this valuable learning experience that will benefit not only the ACU students but also the community of Battambang.
“When we are delivering education to school children we need to take all our own supplies, so before we fly out we need to decide how we are going to do it and all the resources we require,” Michelle said.
“Even down to how many print outs we will need because you cannot photocopy over there. So we have to take all that with us. We really have to think and plan and aim to raise around $6,000 as a group – before we go. It is very exciting.
“It will be nice to be able to help people and give them some valuable skills, whether it is hand hygiene or oral health or similar. It is going to be very rewarding.”
Executive Dean of Health Sciences Professor Michelle Campbell said this international study tour will give ACU students the unique opportunity to gain valuable work experience while also providing much-needed medical care to underprivileged communities.
“This is nursing in a very different environment. Its challenges and opportunities are sure to improve the skills and perspective of those who participate,” Professor Campbell said. “It will also allow students to further their career, network with like-minded students and broaden their horizons in a new country.”
International study experiences are fast becoming a staple of a student’s ACU journey, with almost 700 students having undertaken approved international study programs in 2015, making up 17 per cent of the undergraduate population.