Hayley Welsh spent seven weeks interning for The Wilderness Society, a non-governmental, non-profit Australian-based organization whose purpose is to transform Australia into a society that protects, respects, and connects with the natural world that sustains us. The Wilderness Society accomplishes this with numerous country-wide campaigns that surround advocacy for environmental issues, proactive rallies, and sponsored fund-raising events year-round. Hayley interned in the Sydney office, where she was able to immerse herself in the Australian work culture and was able to actively identify significant cultural differences between the American and Australian work environments. Daily tasks included data entry, development of marketing and campaigning strategies, and community outreach. Not only did Hayley gain valuable work skills for future employment, but she was able to gain these skills from a different cultural perspective, leading to a more broad and creative approach at problem-solving. Over time, she became close to her supervisors, and even traveled with them to various city conferences with other partner organizations, such as The National Parks Association. Hayley ultimately felt deeply connected to her experience, as she oftentimes communicated with not only locals, but Australian politicians on various environmental law issues. During her time in Sydney, Hayley was able to witness actual environmental policymaking take place. She is grateful that she was able to act upon her love for the environment in a different country and broaden her knowledge of global environmental issues.
CEE Title: Ethnicity Editor
While abroad, the three women from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown all recognized cultural similarities in that minority groups within their countries were either mistreated or poorly represented within the media. While Hayley Welsh was in Sydney, Australia, she noticed that ethnic Aborigines were held to the same stereotypes as inner-city African-Americans within the United States. While Eden Cohen was in Prague, Czech Republic, she noted that the Czechs were highly xenophobic of the minority Roma population. Lastly, while Gabrielle Maylock was in Cape Town, South Africa, she grew uneasy in the fact that there are still many racial scars left from the apartheid era. Thus, the group settled on the idea of having their community engagement experience center on the focus of how minority groups are presented in different cultures. They also furthered that idea to “act locally” by having their campus fully understand the consequences of holding biased prejudices against people from a different non-majority background. The CEE consisted of holding a PowerPoint presentation and then afterwards hosting a panel discussion with three professors from UPJ. During their PowerPoint presentation, they began by briefly discussing their own personal experiences of minority issues from abroad. Then, they went into further detail by discussing American minorities, including African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and people from Middle Eastern/Islamic origin. The American minorities were discussed by how American media portrays them; for example, African-American stereotypes issued from biased news coverage, Hispanic portrayal in television sitcoms, Asian portrayal in American business media, and the issue of growing concern for “Islamophobia” in the United States. After their presentation, they opened up a panel discussion, and began conversation by asking the three professors on the panel how we, as consumers, can combat minority stereotypes. The three women were enthralled as the engaged audience consistently asked the panelists thought-provoking questions surrounding everything from personal reflection, current world events, and political impacts from minority issues.