2011 academic year begins on North Stradbroke Island
There are 49 new students from 20 countries split across the full-time and part-time programs. The new cohorts are vibrant, motivated, articulate, ambitious and diverse – everything one could hope for.
The age range of the students spans four decades, and they come from a range of backgrounds including civil engineering, Islamic studies, environmental science, international relations, mechanical engineering and chemistry, among others.
We have just returned from the field trip to North Stradbroke Island which opens the course. The students learned from a range of speakers representing traditional owners, a mining company, and hydrological, ecological and community perspectives on the issues, problems and possible futures facing the island.
We also had the privilege of input along the way by Professor Bill Dennison from the University of Maryland, particularly on a guided study walk into Moreton Bay at low tide to look for dugong sea grass grazing trails among other objects of ecological interest.
The attached group photo was taken on the eastern side of the island, next to Eighteen Mile Swamp, in glorious sunshine, the Pacific Ocean pounding the beach just behind us. Two of our cohort come from Malawi, and had only encountered the ocean for the first time the day before, and the Pacific for the first time that day.
Being part of the process through which these and the other students encounter new ideas and learn from each other, their surroundings and the program staff is a privilege, and one which I look forward to partaking in as we work together to deliver a memorable and formative experience over the coming weeks, months and (for the part-timers) years.
– Brian McIntosh, Senior Lecturer (Integrated Water Management), International WaterCentre