International Legal Internship: Hui Ye in Shanghai

July 2019 – one of the most riveting months of my entire life so far… was spent doing a legal internship in Shanghai! I certainly didn’t expect to feel this way when I first started my program.

On the night of Thursday 27 June 2019, I arrived in Shanghai after a 10.5 hour flight from Sydney. As I lugged my huge suitcase into my single-bed hostel room, it really dawned on me that I would be spending an entire month in a foreign city with no one by my side. One reason that I chose a hostel to stay in was so that I could meet other travelers like me – so I could feel a sense of familiarity in what was a month of anything but familiar.

Although I had a decent grasp of Mandarin thanks to my parents, I saw it more a curse rather than a blessing. I wasn’t able to express complex thoughts or string together long sentences. Although I was able to ask for directions or order food at restaurants without issue, ‘Add me on WeChat’ and ‘I want to open a bank account with a debit card’ were slightly outside my vocabulary bank. I also felt distinctly like a ‘foreigner’ – I couldn’t even order KFC at one particular restaurant because I didn’t have WeChat Pay, which unfortunately required a Chinese bank account. Paying for things in cash just wasn’t a thing in Shanghai!

As I started with the internship the following week, I slowly but surely began to find my feet. By that point I had secured a Chinese bank account and was living and paying like a local! At Hui Ye Law Firm, I was introduced to the craze that is ordering milk tea (or bubble tea) using delivery services straight to the office. Can you imagine using UberEats or Deliveroo to send a coffee up to your office! I discovered that napping at work was entirely appropriate given Chinese business culture and the expectation to work long hours.

Progressing with the internship, I began to appreciate Chinese cultural values such as ‘guanxi‘ (the relationship) and ‘mianzi‘ (the concept of ‘face’). This meant not approaching shy colleagues for a conversation until they were ready on their own terms to have a meet-and-greet. It similarly meant not bothering my supervisors for more work until they were ready to provide it. Overcoming these initial barriers in understanding a foreign culture was one of the major successes of this internship.

Substantively, I was tasked with drafting various research papers, presenting on ‘Investing in Australian Real Property‘ to my Chinese colleagues and visiting both the Shanghai People’s Basic Court and the Shanghai Commercial Mediation Centre. In the final week, there was a brief change of scenery with a visit to the Nanjing office! None of it felt like I was doing things for the sake of an internship – it truly felt like each task was provided so that I would better understand Chinese culture, Chinese commercial law and Chinese working habits.

Having stayed in a hostel, I looked forward to chilling out in the rooftop bar every evening after finishing work. Unwinding after a long day with a beer and some international friends – I couldn’t have asked for more! In my spare time, I visited the nearby city Suzhou (the ‘Venice of the East’), did tourist-y things around Shanghai and even sat down for a dumpling class! An honourable mention definitely goes to the unforgettable KTV (karaoke) nights!

Striking a balance between work and play was perhaps one of the most enriching aspects of the internship. In some ways, I felt like I was truly an adult managing my own time, relationships, work and travels. Navigating the challenges, highs and lows of Shanghai, I feel like I have taken positive steps to becoming a Global Leader. I have found mentors from Hui Ye and friends across the world that I no doubt will keep for life.

Jason Wang

Housing in Portugal

Where do I begin? I’ll start by giving you some context to understand the purpose of this. I am currently studying my masters of Architecture and was taking a studio called Housing in Portugal, in this studio we are to study the existing Bouca Social Housing in Porto, Potugal designed by the noted Portuguese Architect Alvaro Siza and redesign it ourselves.

A group of 16 students, accompanied by our tutor Angelo Candalepas, buzzing in Portugal, Spain and Greece to see everything on our jampacked itinerary in under just 10 days.

We started off in Lisbon. This city blew me away. It was so beautiful, the locals were so welcoming and humble. The streets were paved with white marble pavers over the entire city.

On our first day out we paid a visit to Lisbon Cathedral where we sat and sketched the floor plan, from here we went to the Portugese Pavilion designed by Alvaro siza where we sketched again, this time observing shade and shadow and how it works. We went on from there to the Chiado District Alvaro Siza Housing and ended the day by visiting the Carmo Convent which had an incredible view to the city.

Sketching in the Lisbon Cathedral

Portuguese Pavilion

Portuguese Pavilion

The group at the Portuguese Pavilion

Day two in Lisbon we paid a visit to the Aires Mateus officce where we were lucky enough to meet Manuel Aires Mateus himself and understand how his practice works and how he works. It was quite surprising that he does not use any technology himself and does not even have an email!

From here we went to see Jeronimos Monestary where we did some detail sketching. Then we walked to the National Coach Museum designed by Paulo Mendes da Rocha and lastly we stopped at the EDP Head Office designed by Aires Mateus.

Deep in conversation with Manuel

The standard group photo

Aires Mateus Office

On the third day we took a bus to see The Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Cabo Espichel where some more sketching happened. This was a historic building studied as a precedent by Alvaro Siza when he designed the Teacher’s Training College in Setubul.  A pit stop was made at the Home for the Elderly designed by Aires Mateus. Lastly we rocked up at the beautiful Cascais which is the ‘Beverly Hills’ of Portugal, here we visited the Paula Rego Museum designed by the Portuguese Architect Eduardo Souto de Moura, this builing was by far my favourite (you can tell by the smile on my face).Capture2

Teacher’s Training College

Paula Rego Museum

Paula Rego Museum

Amongst all of the amazing food we had in Lisbon, Portuguese tarts were up there! And by up there I mean the best tarts any of us had ever tried! They were mouth watering and sent taste buds into a frenzy.

We continued from here to Porto where we visited the site of the project, went to Santiago in Chile to see the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, flew out to Athens and saw the monumental Acropolis and Agora.

It was a very rich experience and I have learnt so much by visiting the projects and studying them which is such a different experience to studying them from a book.

Goooood morning, Vietnam!

July, 2019.

If it wasn’t for my 30-day visa, I would have stayed in Vietnam for much much longer. My month in this country was one of the most rewarding and enriching cultural experiences in my LIFE!

As a second-generation Vietnamese-Australian, I grew up in a household which embraced our traditions but never have I felt so connected to my cultural heritage until this month. Initially, I had my doubts about travelling alone to Vietnam for the first time without my family but in the end, it proved to be such an enlightening experience!

Old Quarter of Hanoi on film

This July, I was lucky enough to work with the Institute for Legislative Studies (ILS) in Hanoi. VILS is a legislative research agency that assists the Standing Committee of the National Assembly of Vietnam in its oversight and representative functions. My internship involved assisting in research reports focusing on particular policy issues that were on the agenda for the next session of the National Assembly.

This internship was organised through the Faculty of Law at UTS and was such a rewarding and invaluable opportunity to gain work experience in a global context. It provided me with diverse cross-cultural experiences which crystallised my aspirations to work in an international environment where I can contribute as a global citizen.

Throughout my internship, I was supported by senior staff who provided guidance in my work as well as travels. They encouraged me to balance my work so that I would have ample time to explore Hanoi and more broadly, Vietnam.

Ha Long Bay – Phong Nha – Hoi An

I am grateful that ILS has shown me with nothing but generosity and kindness in the workplace and outside. Honestly, to all the UTS students who happen to read this, you should definitely look into BUILD and the many programs that they offer!! You will not regret it!!

This truly has been an unforgettable learning and cultural experience.

Katherine Ho – Bachelor of Laws / Bachelor of Arts in International Studies

The Best of America’s Modern Architecture

January – February 2019

Hello! Here I am, back in Sydney after a month-long whirlwind of a trip to the other side of the world. Travelling to the United States, I was one of 28 people who undertook a subject which saw us visit architecture by the likes of Mies Van Der Rohe, Frank Lloyd Wright, Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid.

Starting off our journey in New York City, we were given the opportunity to roam free in the Big City. Loosely planning our days based on a list of buildings given to us in the subject outline, I think it is safe to say that NYC provided us with days jam packed full of fun, adventure and exploration. Getting around on the Subway made us immediately feel like New-Yorkers and let us get from A to B with ease. Not only is the subway cheap, it is also full of surprises – including some of the best buskers I have ever heard. While in New York we visited Central Park, the Met, MoMa, the Guggenheim, SANAA’s New Museum, The Statue of Liberty (via the Staten Island Ferry), the Oculus by Calatrava, the 9/11 Memorial Pools and Museum, One World Trade Centre, Time’s Square… the list goes on. I think its safe to say that there is always something to do in NYC.

Top of the Rock
Top of the Rock – New York City
The Guggenheim – New York City

A couple of other highlights included going to an NBA game at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn. A NY derby saw the New York Knicks play against the Brooklyn Nets, and boy did they put on a show! When in New York be sure to get to a basketball or ice hockey game… the hype is something not to be missed. Another highlight was dollar pizza… I mean who doesn’t love pizza, especially when it costs only one dollar?!! We went to 2 Bros pizza on 8th Ave. It was fresh, hot and deliciously cheesy… and crazy cheap of course! My final favourite NYC moment was visiting the High Line. If you love architecture, cute dogs or just seeing cool stuff you must take a walk along the High Line. Designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the High Line is an elevated walkway that has repurposed a derelict metro line into a corridor of green space. Approximately 3 miles long, the High Line is surrounded by projects from the likes of Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry and Jeanne Gang. Walking along, I couldn’t help but take way too many photographs. It is pretty much architectural heaven.

The Oculus
The Oculus – World Trade Center, New York City

Moving on to Chicago, we touched down on the tarmac hours before the Polar Vortex hit. With temperatures dropping to -35 degrees, -45 degrees with wind chill, I had never been so cold in my entire life. It was reported as the coldest day in Chicago since 1985 and hit temperatures below the North Pole AND Antarctica. All this crazy weather meant that our first day in Chicago was cancelled, but there was nothing stopping us from visiting the Farnsworth House the following morning.

Despite the crippling cold, the Farnsworth House was utterly incredible. Surrounded by almost 4 feet of snow, Mies’ glass masterpiece was an incredible sight. Despite the subzero conditions outside, inside the Farnsworth House was warm and cozy. This was quite shocking given that the house is made entirely from single-pane glass and structural steel.

Farnsworth House
Farnsworth House – Chicago
Farnsworth House
Farnsworth House – Chicago

Other highlights from Chicago included Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple in Oak Park, Frank Gehry’s Pritzker Pavilion, The Bean (CloudArch), The Sullivan Centre, The Monadnock Building (featuring the first Chicago Bay Window), and Jeanne Gang’s Aqua Tower. Overall, I totally loved Chicago and would love to go back when the weather is warmer!

The Bean
The Bean (CloudArch) – Chicago

We then made our way to Los Angeles for the final leg of the trip. It was a welcome relief to strip some of our winter layers and enjoy warmer temperatures. Checking in at a beachy Santa Monica hotel, we started off our LA leg with a free weekend. Exploring Third Street Promenade, it was nice have a day to do a bit of relaxed shopping and looking around.

Some highlights included a trip to San Diego where we visited the Neurosciences Institute and Louis Kahn’s Salk Institute. A trip to downtown LA included a visit to Gehry’s Disney Concert Hall, the Broad and the Bradbury Building. We were also given the incredible opportunity to spend a day at Frank Gehry’s architecture firm which left everyone mind-blown. The Sheats-Goldstein residence was another stand out project we visited. With a multi-million dollar view of LA and a private nightclub for Mr Goldstein’s events and parties, this house had everyone in awe. With crazy architectural complexity and attention to detail this house was almost too much to take in!

The Broad
The Broad – Downtown LA
The Neurosciences Institute
The Neurosciences Institute – La Jolla, San Diego
Sheats-Goldstein Residence – Hollywood Hills, LA
Disney Concert Hall
Disney Concert Hall – Downtown LA
Gehry Partners
Gehry Partners – LA
Stahl House
Stahl House – Hollywood Hills, LA

All in all, our trip to the US was packed full of experiences that I will never forget. It was a great way to meet new people, learn about both myself and my profession, and see things that I will never see again. A trip of a lifetime.

– Hannah Hill-Wade

Two-Weeks In Singapore!

As a multicultural nation, Singapore faces the difficult challenge of bringing together communities of different ethnicities, beliefs, cultures and languages. As the focal point of the subject, it was fascinating to see how this reflected in every aspect of Singaporean culture: from packaging and signage, to community spaces and entire suburbs. I would not have known the extent of this had I not visited the country for Interdisciplinary Lab B (Global).

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As one of the 19 students who visited Singapore for the two-week program, Interdisciplinary Lab B was an enriching and rewarding experience. For the first week we had the opportunity to visit three distinct areas of Singapore: Kampong Glam, Chinatown and Little India. Kampong Glam, the Malay sector, was picturesque with beautiful mosques (Sultan Mosque) and boutique lanes (Haji Lane, Arab St). In Chinatown, the new year was rapidly approaching so we were treated to celebrations and markets revolving around the Year of the Pig. The intense scents of herbs and spices were vividly present in Little India, as they too set up for their own Harvest Festival. As the focal point of the second assessment, each came with their own heritage design challenges, including loss of culture in some cases. Visiting the Heritage Centre in each district, I developed an understanding and appreciation for their unique cultures and histories.

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Historically, Singapore has been recognised as an international trading port, connecting countries together. More recently however, Singapore has experienced a transformative socio-cultural shift from international trading port to thriving business hub. It was incredible to observe this in the Singaporean urban landscape, with its multistorey, modern skyscrapers juxtaposed with the old heritage buildings like Hawker Centres (Lau Pa Sat) and Temples, like the Sultan Mosque. These contrasting architectural designs, so different to Australia, really cemented the fact I was truly overseas. That, and the humidity which I never got used to!

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Singapore’s true multiculturalism is something we can all learn from in Australia. I would 100% recommend Interdisciplinary Lab B (Singapore) as a subject to undertake due to it being such a wonderful, enriching study experience. I feel that it has added to my studies as a visual communication student in a unique way by broadening my horizons. As my first time overseas by myself, there were many challenges I had to overcome and I feel that by dealing with these, I have become more resilient, adaptable and independent.

Madeleine Pagett

USA: Architecture Above & Beyond

I would gladly define “above and beyond” as an exposition of expectation and experience.  My 4 Weeks in the Unites States of America was a fast paced, vortex of an Adventure. 70+ Houses, Sites, Landmarks, Buildings and Landscapes visited and a whole archive of drawings, memories, photographs and life changing events created. New York, Chicago & Los Angeles as well as cities like New Jersey, New Canaan, Pasadena and La Jolla. It was a parallel experience to that of Australia. Diving from 45 Degrees Celsius in Sydney to – 50 Degrees Celsius during the Polar Vortex in Chicago. An absolute seesawing atmosphere which conflicted with the viewing of each Site we visited. From bitter cold winds of New York to the snow consumed city of Chicago and to Sunny Los Angeles. The Modern American Architecture kicked off first towards the end of our New York part of the journey.

[Interior] Farnsworth House, Chicago

[Interior] Farnsworth House, Chicago

Architecture in our course is seen as a multitude of areas, covering elements of art, graphic design, philosophy, history and all of the above. There is no defiant singular nature in Architecture, however it can be seen through the lens of the different styles and timelines of architecture linked to the urbanity and cityscapes of the different parts of the world. Hence seeing three major cities within the Unites States allowed a flexible view on the sites we visited and explored how they could be deciphered and connected. Something which deeply sparked the elation of undertaking a global studio was to see the transition from understanding a site from a textbook or as reference point to its physical magnitude and presence. To be able to understand Architecture in its intended experience is a vital milestone in my university education and career as a Future Architect.

[Exterior] The Oculus, New York
Fisheye Lens [Interior] The Oculus, New York

Whilst in New York for 11 Days, It was previously made clear that it would be a self guided tour of the city. I made an itinerary with some of my fellow first year students and we set out onto our daily adventures to different destinations and sites. Some of these included the Rockefeller Building, Central Park, Empire State Building, one World Trade Centre, The Met, MOMA, SANA, The Guggenheim Museum, The Whitney Museum, 9/11 Memorial, The Oculus, One World Trade Centre and several other destinations. Most days consisted of an 8am Wake up time, and a continued touring day till 4pm in which the sun would set. I would strongly recommend this amount of time for Students to successfully see almost everything within NYC. From my observation it was highly accessible, where Uber, Taxis and Subway transit systems are sewed into the very fabric of the city. The enriched metropolitan American culture thrives off the urbanity, and it truly never sleeps! On the day before the departure to Chicago, Our Global Studio met for the first time in Grand Central Station. It was a great experience in which we travelled to New Canaan to Visit the Glass House, A mile stone in American Architecture as it integrated both external nature and internalised landscape into the house. It was definitely a testament to the ideology of reverse ageing. Above and Beyond what it was for its time.

Unhistoric Townhouse – System Architects, Tribeca


Dumbo, Brooklyn – New York


The Met, New York



29th January 2018, Bye bye New York! Hello Frosty Chicago. Well where do I begin? Chicago was the original city of the modern skyscraper. At -50 Degrees celsius, there was a state wide warning for the dangerous temperatures outside. Two days of the trip to Chicago were cancelled due to the Polar Vortex which swept the city. Some of the highlights though include the visit to the famous Farnsworth house and the numerous sightings of the Frank Lloyd Wright collection such as Unity Temple. Consistently gazing at the Chicago Skyline, I deeply admired the communication between monumental, Historical and Modern architecture in which they simultaneously occupied the cityscape harmoniously, an unspoken dialogue.

Cloud Gate, Millennium Park – Chicago


Cloud Gate, Millennium Park – Chicago


At last, Sun. Welcome to tropical Los Angeles. Although very different to Chicago, the weather in Los Angeles felt eerily familiar to that of Sydney. Santa Monica was an absolute retreat from the cold and was a paradise of shopping, beaches and sun soaked boulevards. Taking a step back, the Architecture in Los Angeles dramatically shifted to the California Bungalow and expensive Hollywood houses. The excessiveness of these houses empower and go beyond the aim and standards of architecture in which are practiced today. This included the Sheats-Goldstein Residence, The Stahl House, Gamble House and the Gehry Residences. Speaking of Gehry (The creator of the UTS Paper bag building AKA Building 8), We took an exclusive tour of the Gehry Partners Studio where we were immersed into the several past, present and future projects. I uncovered the layers and depth of the design process which is involved in these projects, and the introduction of new materials, testing and approached to representation, relatively important to how I may pursue my work in my second year in Architecture School. After Taking a trip down to La Jolla, We visited the Sulk Institute. Architecture at its finest in a sense of perspectival consideration and deep ties with the natural and progressive thresholds of the site. On a different note, I was able to begin networking with the Alumni of UTS in the Penthouse of the Shangri-La with my fellow colleagues. There were so many interesting people that night. The conversation kept flowing and it was remarkable how much people can have in common when they share the same interests, values and origin point. Exciting yet daunting, it was overall a marvellous experience.

Salk Institute, La Jolla – San Diego

Salk Institute, La Jolla – San Diego


Salk Institute, La Jolla – San Diego


Sheats-Goldstein House, Hollywood


Ultimately, My time in America has been a once in a life time experience that will forever leave an influence on my work on a dramatic scale. To be enlightened and engaged in Architecture on a physical and tangible realm has been a rewarding sentiment for me. I would definitely recommend this to any student who wishes to pursue a deeper focus in Architecture, Art or History as it will play a huge role in how you see and interpret your own understanding of your own profession. To be able to take in what you have experienced in your life and then to be able to produce something out of it is truly remarkable.

Stahl House + Self

– Ricky Gagliardi

Architecture Student, DAB UTS 2019

Wildlife Justice in Malawi

“Malawi… Where exactly is that?”
This was a phrase I became well acquainted with before jetting off to my Legal International Internship. For those of you who aren’t aware, Malawi is a small, land-locked country in Southern Africa. It’s one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world and one of Africa’s principal hubs for the illegal trafficking of wildlife. Having recently learnt all of this myself, I decided to organise my legal international internship with the Lilongwe Wildlife Trust, and discover what life, work and the law were like in Malawi.

Full of anticipation, I set off on a long flight to the nations capital- Lilongwe, hoping this experience would be worth the countless, painful vaccinations I’d endured over the preceding 6 weeks. Arriving in Lilongwe, everything was unfamiliar. The airport was crowded, disorganised and chaotic but amongst the crowd a grinning face welcomed me with a huge sign baring my name. This is probably the best illustration of Malawi as a country- it can be disorderly and confronting, but it’s warm-hearted people make it all worthwhile.
Lilongwe itself is a dusty and vast city where land can run for miles and miles with just small clusters of buildings. The roadsides are populated by enthusiastic farmers showcasing their goods, mothers with babies bound to their chest, and young women balancing kilos of fruit on their head in what can only be described as the engineering feat of the century. It’s hard to walk more than 20 metres without receiving offers to by some form of miscellaneous good (anything from mangoes to deep fried mice- not rice, mice). It’s a simple existence,  but all of these little quirks helped me take a real shine to a much more simple, cheerful and slow-paced life.

I was working as a legal intern with the Lilongwe Wildlife Trust (‘LWT’), Malawi’s leading wildlife NGO, who, from a legal perspective, play an important role in the change and implementation of wildlife policy. This internship gave me a chance to not only learn so much about the law in an international context, but to develop skills as a legal professional beyond what I had ever imagined. I was attending court regularly, drafting speeches for parliament and completing legal research projects. I felt I was thrown in the deep end and really pushed to challenge myself, but was constantly supported along the way. There is something incredibly satisfying about working in an environment where ‘intern’ doesn’t equate to coffee sherpa, and you’re given a platform to showcase what you’ve learnt throughout your studies, and the guidance to improve upon areas of weakness.
Sure, working in Malawi wasn’t all roses and sunshine. It’s not always easy working in an office with intermittent power in the summertime heat, or finding geckos running rampant in your kitchen, or travelling for 7+ hours overnight to attend court in another city (in the pitch black darkness, guided only by a car with temperamental headlights). However, the luxuries and comforts that the country lacked were very quickly overshadowed by all of the positives this experience gave me. I’ve left with a greater sense of purpose and passion for my future work, an increased level of empathy and admiration for those working in the foreign NGO sector… I’ve even overcome my fear of those wiggly, little critters than made my skin crawl on arrival.

One of the most exciting parts of my internship was being afforded the opportunity to travel all around the country, attending cases in various cities and assisting with court monitoring. My supervisor, Arthur, was with me every step of the way. We spent tireless hours road-tripping across the country, surviving on little sleep and attending court. He never hesitated to go out of his way (in his own time) to ensure I would experience the best of what each city had to offer- from breathtaking mountain ranges, to cheeky baboons or even the pride and joy of the nation (the Carlsberg factory). I was able to see and do so much while interning, without having to plan, stress and coordinate on my time off.  I was also lucky enough to squeeze a weekend safari trip to South Luangwa National Park into my schedule. Spotting wild lions, giraffes, hippos and zebras from mere metres away was an unforgettable, once in a lifetime experience and something I will treasure forever.

My time in Malawi was truly unbeatable. I grew so much from a professional standpoint, but also as a person. I am so thankful to the faculty of UTS Law for organising an international internship subject, and to the UTS BUILD team for making this wild dream of interning in Malawi a reality.

 – Stephanie

Cottage connection – New Zealand 2018

Going into this project I was unsure of what to expect. I had little knowledge of Christchurch or of the destruction and damage caused to the city and its people by the devastating earthquake in 2011. When drafting and researching for the design our team wanted to acknowledge the past and look towards a brighter future for the local community and city. With the inclusion of food specified by FESTA, we had to find ways to incorporate memory and place into this idea.

We started brainstorming our initial ideas including food collection, materials and layout. Many materials, such as bags, crates and trolleys were suggested. Our team got together and presented our ideas to one another and from this we formed our final design.

The final design of our project, titled ‘Cottage Connections’, looks at a way in which the audience (mainly local people from Christchurch) can share their memories of food in Christchurch in exchange for a food product, donated to us by local Canterbury producers. These memories were recorded via audio recorders and then mapped on paper, to be donated back to the local community to add to their collection. In the centre of the design is a large table, made from a reused electrical spool, which displays the food donations. Three recording booths are connected to the large A-frame structures, which surround the table. The exterior of the A-frames is covered in dinner plates, which were collected by us in both Australia and New Zealand from local op-shops. The plates have been created to spin, on one side showing a map of Christchurch and the other quotes from the generous Canterbury producers who donated to us.

Our project contributes to the city of Christchurch because of the effect it has on the local people. It allows them the chance to reflect, remember and share a memory they have of food related to Christchurch. It encourages them to look at the past, acknowledge the good and bad memories and remind them that they are not alone, and together they create the heart of the city. Food is such an important part of our social life and often is the central part of many memories and stories. By sourcing food from local Canterburian producers we are encouraging the people of Christchurch to support local businesses and continue to help the city grow.

On the night of FESTA it was clear the impact that our project had on the people of Christchurch. The feedback we got throughout the night was extremely positive and many participants showed gratitude towards our design. The work was a greater success than any of us expected it to be, with our team collecting over four hundred memories that have been recorded and mapped for the local library. I’m extremely proud of our team and grateful that we had the opportunity to see our design come to life and experience first-hand the impact that it can have on the audience participating in the design. It could not have been achieved without the kind-hearted people of Christchurch who so openly shared their personal memories and it is truly an experience I won’t forget.

– Madel

Teaching kids in the Himalayas


In August 2018, seven students from the UTS School of Education set off to teach in Paro, Bhutan. It was two weeks of non-stop adventure. We explored temples and climbed mountains in between the lesson planning and actual teaching.

A small country located in the eastern Himalayan region, Bhutan’s culture has been largely unaffected by bordering nations due to the high mountainous peaks that surround it.

We stayed in Paro, which is considered the third largest ‘city’ in Bhutan. It’s about the size of Newtown in Sydney, with only about 20,000 people living there. Bhutan’s streets are crawling with wild dogs and there is not a single traffic light in the whole country.


Bhutan’s crime rate is very low. Most of the local people practice Buddhism, and perhaps as a result, are extremely friendly and welcoming. Bhutanese people are known for being the happiest people on Earth, and this is definitely evident when meeting them.

English is one of the national languages of Bhutan and is widely spoken in urban areas, so you can easily get by without knowledge of the other 28 local languages.


Bhutan’s highest point is 7,570 metres above sea level (while Mount Everest is 8,848 metres). Fortunately for my poor legs, we only climbed a peak of 3,120 metres to Tiger’s Nest or Taktsang Monastery, which is located on the edge of a mountain as shown in the picture below. There were a lot of steps and steep tracks. It took us half a day to climb up to the top but we managed to make it inside.

The sense of achievement that followed us around as we viewed each room in the temple was profound. Many spectacular large golden Buddha statues and other deities glittered at us from above, tapestries and murals lined the walls and a number of Buddhist monks were praying or walking around in their rich red and yellow robes. It was a once in a lifetime experience.

A rainbow shot over the sky as we looked out at the view from the fair side of monastery, but unfortunately we were not allowed phones or cameras whilst on the sacred grounds (so I didn’t manage to snap a picture of the pot of gold), but I don’t think a photo would have done it justice.

The harder part was walking back down the mountain, as it had rained and the track was quite slippery. It was slow going, but we managed to make it back down to the base camp. We finished the hike off with a delicious picnic provided by our hosts from the Paro College of Education and then went and soaked in some hot stone baths to relax our stiff muscles.


Teaching in Bhutan was insightful and a lot of fun. The students at Khangkhu Middle Secondary School were very respectful compared to some of the students you’d find in Australia. They addressed you as ‘Madam’, would stand up every time you entered a room and wouldn’t sit down again until you gave them permission to do so.


Since Bhutan is such a small nation, visitors from a place like Australia are practically unheard of. We were treated like celebrities by the students throughout the two weeks of teaching. Students actually asked each of us for autographs, holding out their hand or a piece of paper with a quick “May I have your signature, Madam?”. On the last day, the students showered us with small gifts and some of the younger kids were reduced to tears. It was hard saying goodbye.

The food in Bhutan was magnificent. It’s very easy to be vegetarian here, as many of the locals are for cultural reasons. We ate a lot of delicious dumpling-style food that the Bhutanese called Momos. Bhutanese people love their food to be spicy, and often serve chilli sauce with every thing, especially Momos.


I would highly recommend visiting if you ever have the chance. Bhutanese people are very proud of their country and they have every reason to be. It’s a beautiful, peaceful place with rich culture, great food and friendly people.

It’s clear to see why Bhutan uses a Gross National Happiness index to measure their population’s collective happiness and wellbeing. Their motto, ‘Happiness is a place’ is spot on.

Blogpost by Stefanie Carmody.


Singapore Heritage Adventure

Over the summer break of 2017, I decided to go on an adventure in Singapore for one of my core subject. In this trip, I have explored Singapore heritage through Chinatown, Little India as well as Kampong Glam. These areas are fascinating, beautiful and it is amazing to learn their heritage and their architectures are breath-taking.



We walked through Chinatown and explored their temple and heritage centre. The design of the temple has shown the Chinese Identity and you can see a lot of people worshipping the Chinese gods such as Buddha. Taking a walk to the heritage centre, in here, we learned a lot of the traditional career choices and lifestyles including their home interior designs and backgrounds. Also through one of the computer, you can find your last name’s origin however it only targets at Chinese last name. But if you are really interested, you can search up a last name and look for it in the system.


Inside the temple


the origins of my last name

Inside the heritage centre

Learning their traditional Lifestyle


Little India

Inside the Little India area, you can see a lot of Indian citizens as well as tourists walking through the streets looking at fabrics, food and walking towards a temple. The temple has kept its unique India identity designs, you can see people sitting in the middle of the ground praying in the form of song and words. Walking around, you can smell the woody incense and the little Indian god designs at the top of the temple are fascinating art and definitely worth the trip. These little trip helps to identify and understand the Singaporean Indian culture.

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Inside the temple

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Sweet Factory

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Inside the heritage centre


Kampong Glam

This is where I get allocated to for my group project, Kampong Glam is an area of Singaporean Malay citizens live and where most of the heritages are find (maybe). The heritage centre used to be a residence and they reused the place for exhibitions purposes. This allows people to walk through in a better setting and helps them to understand the histories better as they are right in the place. Walk to the right side of the heritage centre, you can see the Sultan Temple which tells you that the mix heritage of Malay, Lebanese, Turkish and Arab. The gentrification of the area can be seen easily in this area, as the development of Haji Lane which is more of a hipster lane with graffiti on the walls. This has indeed attracted a lot tourists but it also helped Kampong Glam to lose its Malay identity.

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Kampong Glam Heritage Centre

Sultan Temple

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Haji Lane


This adventure helped me to explore three important heritage places of Singapore and also allows me to analyse Kampong Glam as research for my group project. I am very thankful for being this part of the studio and would definitely encourage students to take Lab B.

Jing Yi Sun