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A Cross-Cultural Experience in Tanzania and Australia: Partners Learning From Each Other

An experiential learning project contained in the Bond Doctorate of Physiotherapy program involves students raising funds to provide financial support for education costs for their physiotherapy student colleagues in Tanzania. The project was originally designed to facilitate advocacy fundraising behaviours on the part of the Bond students, but it has evolved into much more. In November of 2009, two of the Bond students undertook four week clinical placements in Moshi, Tanzania.

Josh McKim and David Bosker describe their journey to Tanzania as life changing – resulting in numerous learning-oriented experiences, surprises and new friendships. Half the population of Tanzania are under 20 years of age, so there was never any shortage of happy, energetic children to play games with for Josh and David. They also visited wildlife and national parks, culminating in a six day visit to climb Mt Kilimanjaro. More importantly, Josh and David learnt about Tanzanian culture, health services in Tanzania and the important role that physiotherapy has to play in improving the quality of life of all people.

In the spirit of reciprocity the Bond Physiotherapy program aims to raise $10,000 to invite two Tanzanian physiotherapy students to Bond University and The Gold Coast to learn about Australian culture, health services and to grow professionally. Physiotherapy is a new profession for Tanzania with only one school in the country, Kilimanjaro Christian Medical College, as part of the University of Tuimaini.

Tanzania, itself, has a population of 42 million people, with 170 physiotherapy graduates to date and 66 students currently enrolled in a physiotherapy program. Professional encouragement and support is needed to continue to see these statistics grow, resulting in better health outcome for the people of Tanzania.

Bond Physiotherapy program is proud to be associated with the building of professional bridges between Tanzanian and Australia and the mutual benefits that this initiative has already achieved and will continue to achieve.

In a unique partnership between the Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine and the Bond Business School, Technology and Sustainable Development a common goal is shared. Management students will significantly contribute to fund-raising for the Tanzanian students and at the same time develop their persuasive writing skills and negotiation abilities to seek donations.

It is anticipated that the Tanzanian students will arrive at Bond University in the latter part of 2010 to begin a four week clinical placement in surrounding medical facilities.

Our goal is an enduring professional link between our two countries. Enthusiasm continues to grow and the support of faculty, inter-faculty and the Gold Coast community is heartening.

Doctorate of Physiotherapy Program
Bond University
February 2010

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