'Our Water, our Future' (Issue 21, 2009)

20091124_Water_AKLa Trobe University welcomed 15 Chinese students from Peking University who arrived in Melbourne as part of ‘Our Water, Our Future’ - a collaboration between La Trobe University and Peking University.

The trip, a joint initiative between the two universities, is aimed at promoting dialogue about environmental and ecological issues and is facilitated by La Trobe’s Centre for China Studies, which is providing generous support scholarships for the 15 La Trobe students on the program.

The Chinese students were welcomed by Professor John Rosenberg, Deputy Vice-Chancellor International and Future Students who hosted a lunch for them at the La Trobe Bundoora campus.

‘These trips not only showcase the partnership between La Trobe University and Peking University, but also the important aspect of partnerships focused on gathering mutual knowledge that is beneficial to both universities, the students and most importantly the wider community,’ said Professor Rosenberg.   

The four-week reciprocal tour saw the Chinese students in Bundoora for two weeks learning Australian ideas of water conservation, ecological strategies and the impact of human activities on the environment. Fifteen
La Trobe students will then travel to Peking University to research ecological issues from a Chinese perspective.

During the tour the Chinese students participated in cultural activities and regional visits to places of ecological importance, including the Frank Thomson reserve in King Lake, an area recovering from the bushfires in the region earlier this year.

The scholarships, jointly supported by the La Trobe Centre for China Studies and La Trobe’s Division of Residential Services, cover the students’ local expenses including seminars, site visits, accommodation, local transportation and sightseeing. The La Trobe Centre for China Studies is also providing a $500 subsidy to each student to help cover the cost of airfares, the only student related expense. 

‘By providing the scholarships we are encouraging students to participate in this program and believe that it is a great opportunity for them to learn a different language, gain greater inter-cultural understanding and an international education experience, all of which would benefit their future development while further strengthening the link between La Trobe and Peking University,’ says Professor Likun Pei, Executive Director of the Centre for China Studies.

La Trobe students taking part in the exchange, together with their group leader, Bachelor of Arts student Clara New, are all excited at the opportunity to travel to China.

‘It’s a great opportunity, I can’t wait to see the Great Wall of China. Being of Chinese descent it gives me the chance to learn more about my culture which is something I’m really looking forward to,’ says Clara.