Kaitlin's Testimonial

Why did you choose to take part in the Leadership Program?

I haven’t been involved in many of the programs and activities that are offered at UNSW and uni life for me has mainly been about my studies.  I used to step up into leadership roles and activities in high school but realised I haven’t so much since being at university. I decided it would be good to make the most of what is here, and build back a bit of that confidence through challenging myself and getting out there!

Has the program helped with this?

Yes the program was a really valuable experience for me. In the workshops I learnt about leadership theories and styles and it was reinforced that leadership isn’t about being the most outgoing and confident person in the pack, and that we all have what it takes, me included. They also reinforced for me that it’s the people skills and emotional intelligence that really matters in leadership. As a social work student these are areas that really interest me and I realised they are my strengths as well which is encouraging.

I got to explore and rediscover my core leadership values and skills and get confident in them again, not just through the workshops but also through implementing it all in my Community Engagement, where I pushed myself to step up and take on some new responsibilities. The practical application is really important.

What else did you take away from the workshops specifically?

I really enjoyed the MBTI workshop as it helped me learn about myself and appreciate the difference in others and the importance of working within those differences. The Conflict Resolution workshop built on this and we looked more at how to flex your style to get on better with others. It was really eye opening and useful for me and is an important aspect of leadership. Generally the workshops are really good at helping you reflect in yourself and your values, skills and approach to life. I know we all groan when it comes to self-reflection, but something I have learnt in my social work study is how crucial it is to your own development and being able to respond well to others. I think this program is really invaluable for people doing courses that don’t get to do a lot of self-reflection and learn about themselves that way as part of their studies.

How did you stay motivated through the program?

I found the ‘catch up week’ really helpful and did nearly all of my workshops during those weeks. It meant that I didn’t feel I was compromising my academic program by trying to fit them in during semester, and I could really get the most out of the learning in the holidays without studies on my mind. That’s just what worked for me.

Could you describe the Community Engagement component of the program?

I volunteered over a whole weekend as part of a 60km walking event aimed at raising money for the Chris Obrien Lighthouse.  It was really fun; we were part of a team running a pit stop and check point with food and drinks for the walkers. I was given the Captain Crew role which meant taking care of other volunteers, calling into event control and reporting back on the numbers of walkers and stock levels to keep them maintained.

I was really happy that the organisation gave me a more senior volunteer role throughout the event. I talked about the Leadership Program with my supervisor right from the beginning and my wish to take on more leadership responsibilities if possible. They were really helpful and accommodating, and I think me framing it in this way demonstrated my initiative, maturity and confidence to them.

Do you have any tips or advice for students currently doing the program?

Thinking back I perhaps could have made more of the community engagement component and sought out an ongoing community project or group where I could get really involved and make more of a difference. So my advice would be to really think about that aspect of the program and hunt around to find something that is going to really stretch you. Also talk with your supervisor about the program and the fact that you are looking to step up into a leadership role. This might make all the difference to your experience!

Sam's Testimonial

Can you describe what you did as a volunteer for the Vivid festival?

My volunteer role was ‘installations assistant’ which involved the management of a specific light installation set up as part of Vivid. Mine was the ‘Dance Floor Installation’ (shown in the pic). My key responsibilities involved controlling the crowd entering the dance floor, stopping the kids from misusing the installations, and ensuring that all the lights and sound system were working perfectly. I also had to report any shortcomings or technical issues to the team leader.

Was it worthwhile experience? What did you get out of it?

Definitely! It gave me a wide exposure to various aspects such as interaction with people of different backgrounds and mindsets helping me improve my communication and people management skills. It gave me an insight into the enormous effort involved in putting on a huge scale event. It was very exciting to be part of this major effort, contributing to its success!

It was also lots of fun and very social. I got to work with a great team of other volunteers and I met a new bunch of people every day taking part.

Tell us about the photo above..?

The photo clearly reflects on the amount of fun we had through this experience. And this photo bagged one of the prizes of the photo competition, 2014.

Any advice to other students of the program, or at the uni, wanting to volunteer?

I would definitely recommend them to take it up due to the vast amount of experience that they can gather in a short duration of time.

Do you have plans for any more volunteering?

Currently, I am volunteering with SDI (Student Development International) as Cultural Mentor, helping new international students settle into uni life. I’m also planning on being a part of the Sydney festival that's happening during January, and also hope to volunteer for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. You can see I love volunteering!

Last question Sam, did you have a favourite workshop(s) you would recommend to others?

MBTI! It helps reflect on your personality and helps you to get a better understanding of yourself.


Nahid's Testimonial

What’s been your general impression of the program?

The UNSW leadership program is a perfect platform to get involved as an extracurricular activity next to the regular study or research.  It helped me to improve the quality of team work, time management skill and encourage the living for people and natural environment idea, which I have gained by attending very interactive workshops, managing my time to finish the program and most importantly involving in the community engagement hours. I really think the development of me through this program can able to bring out an eminent leader to the workplace and to the society we are living in.

Can you describe what you did as a volunteer for..?

I was involve as a Bush Regeneration Team Member of the Conservation Volunteers Australia organisation and worked 5 days (40 hours) at the Stockton Sandpit of Newcastle. The work was mainly to protect the threaten shorebird’s nesting and resting site by removing invasive and dangerous weeds from that location, so that they can have a more living friendly and sustainable habitat.

Was it worthwhile experience volunteering for..? What did you get out of it?

It was a highly worthwhile experience volunteering for Conservation Volunteer Australia. From the experience, I have learned that while developing as a leader for the society we also have the responsibility to offer to the environment along with its every single living body. I not only have the opportunity to do the volunteering work as well as stayed with international and local volunteers, from whom I got to learn about their life and travel experiences as well as shared my experience of life and interest. This community engagement activity impacted me in a great range of ways for becoming an environmental conservation leader.

Did you have a favourite workshop(s) you would recommend to others? What did you like about it?

“MBTI Personality Profile” was the best and my favourite workshop, I highly recommend this workshop to the upcoming leaders. This particular workshop makes me realise about my own personality in a very creative way and learn how to bring out the strength and weakness of each person’s leadership quality.

Apart from that participating in the “Introduction to the UNSW Leadership Program” workshop was one of the best ways to start understanding about leadership and the quality certainly developed through time by attending the rest of the core and elective workshops that have been designed by the program. Such as “Guide to Project Management” and “Time Management” are very useful workshops for becoming a leader, while working not only for a projects or study but also for daily life. “Building Intercultural Competence” and “Leadership in Practise” helps me to develop the leadership quality in more realistic way to grow in a multicultural environment.