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Bond student speaks out against binge drinking

Bond University scholarship student Ayla Beaufils is taking her message about the dangers of binge drinking onto the world stage, as she prepares to compete in a prestigious International Plain English Speaking Competition in London later this month.

Ayla will be the sole representative from Australia after winning a national public speaking contest in Alice Springs last year, and will compete against students from 52 other countries from May 15 - 17.

The former Gold Coast Marymount College student was one of a handful to secure an exclusive Vice-Chancellor scholarship to Bond University, where she has just completed her first semester in Film and Television.

Ms Beaufils says she decided to enter the competition not only to gain experience and boost her career, but also to spread the word about the dangerous culture of youth binge drinking.

"Last year I was horrified at the increasing number of reports of 'coward punches' in Australia, so I based my speech at the national championships around that issue. It's something that seems to be a generational change and it affects my peer group, so I'm passionate about speaking out about it and making people think about what can be done to curb the problem," she said.

"Now that I am going to compete internationally, I am speaking more broadly about binge drinking, which is a major contributing factor in coward punch incidents and a lot of other issues young adults face in today's society.

"One of the key points of my argument is the fact that the brain doesn't fully develop until the age of 23, so it seems absurd that we give 18 year olds the right to drink when they are not necessarily equipped to make the right decisions.

"My speech is titled 'changing a culture' and that is exactly what I hope to do by starting the conversation about the issue. The competition includes an impromptu speaking component and questions from the floor so it will also be interesting to hear what students from other backgrounds and cultures have to say about binge drinking."

Ms Beaufils said her first semester at Bond University had been a 'whirlwind,' but she was enjoying the experience.

"My university life is certainly busy with a full load of study, extra curricular activities and competitions, but I feel like I am heading in the right direction," she said.

"Obviously the ability to communicate clearly and effectively is an important skill in Film and Television, so I'm grateful for the opportunity to compete in the Plain English Speaking Competition on an international stage, and hope that this experience will ultimately help further my career."


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