A Time at CERES
About My Study
My name is Ariel Tuong Nguyen. I am a Master of Environment student at the University of Melbourne. My passion for the environment has been cultivated during the time I stayed in Japan for my bachelor degree in social science. Majoring in sustainable development studies, I am totally aware of the importance of environmental protection for human sustainability. I decided to deepen my knowledge and research in the field of environmental policy by doing a Master of Environment course at the University of Melbourne. During my first semester as a Master student, I took Environmental Education and realized the significance of building community awareness and initiating behavioral changes as long-term solutions for global environmental issues.
Being from a developing country, Vietnam, I have been fascinated by the idea of community environment parks since my visit to CERES. I decided to work as a volunteer internship for CERES as I deeply understand that the work of CERES will contribute significantly to promoting sustainable lifestyles among the community and working for CERES will also enhance my capacity to make a positive contribution to my own society.
During the internship, I worked most closely with the CERES Sustainability Education Outreach Group (SEOG). The Group provides Incursions, Sustainable Schools programs and support for community through workshops, professional development, joint planning, consultancy and mentoring. I am really impressed and inspired by their work for the ResourceSmart Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative (ResourceSmart AuSSI Vic) program and the Schools Environmental Tracking Systems (SETs). By engaging in these programs, I could see how environmental education is integrated into school curriculum and how the link between students, staff, schools, parents and the wider local community has been created and fostered for a more sustainable community.
Working with CERES also gave me the chance to explore myself and my “hidden capabilities”. I helped the SEOG to design promotional and informational flyers for next year events, which was a great experience as I had never done this job by myself before. I also enjoy visiting the CERES Education and Training Office and attending some of their educational workshops for the children. I learnt a lot from observing the interaction between teachers and children during the workshops and I really appreciate the way CERES staff help children understand and respect other cultures with the Multicultural village.
I also treasure the time at CERES as it gave me the opportunity to communicate more with local people and experience Australian work culture. I taught the SEOG some of my favorite Vietnamese food and felt extremely happy seeing them enjoy what I cooked.
What I Want to Bring Back to Vietnam
I have always nurtured an ambition of creating an environmental education program for schools in Vietnam. After I finish my Master degree, I am going to work for the government in my city, Danang and start the plan to realize that ambition. The internship in CERES is one of the most meaningful and memorable thing I have done during the first year in Australia. During the time here, I met people with a great love for nature and a strong passion for community services, and gained a lot of practical experiences about environmental education. I will always keep that spirit in mind and bring it back to Vietnam, together with the network and the experiences I have with CERES, for my contribution to the sustainability of Vietnam.
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