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August 20, 2021

Reflection from Melbourne University student Charlene Phua

Melbourne University student Charlene reflects on completing the Community Volunteering Global subject in partnership with AVI from 28th June to 23rd July 2021.

“Where do I even begin when describing this experience… I remember having initial reservations about this programme. I was afraid that since it was being held online, it might seem less meaningful. But I was proven so wrong!

During my time in the programme, I had the opportunity to be a student intern for PUSPADI Bali, an organisation in Indonesia that aims for equality for people with physical disabilities. It was an eye-opening experience being able to understand more about what they do in terms of advocacy and the various types of prosthetics they have for clients. It also allowed me to get a clearer understanding of how my work came into play.

My job scope included designing an official thank you note to be distributed to all of PUSPADI’s official donors, as well as a contribution scheme that states the price range of various products for PUSPADI. Such tasks were really beneficial for me as a Media and Communications student and I got to apply what I have learnt in class in a professional setting, while overcoming the challenges that came with it such as software constraints and managing one’s expectations. I also had the opportunity to speak to various donors that have benefitted from PUSPADI, and hear their stories of what it’s like living with disabilities.

While the placement experience was enjoyable, what I valued most were the connections that I made with the people I worked with. I was especially touched by the friendliness and warmth of my supervisors Juhi and Budayu, and the simple gestures they showed such as asking me how my day went. Through the cultural immersion sessions such as the cooking class (and the fashion show, where I got to wear a kebaya for the first time!) it allowed me to let loose a little and understand each other better than just people that I worked with over a screen.

This has been such an eye-opening experience, and I got to understand not just more about myself, but about the world around me. I only wish the programme were longer!”

Charlene Phua
Melbourne University 
Remote student placement



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