The Sixth Exchange Program from 5th to 21st January, 2024 stands as a testament to the remarkable and fruitful collaboration between Saint Paul Institute (SPI) and the University of Notre Dame Australia (UNDA).

Saint Paul Institute (SPI) held an exchange program with 30 students and 10 students led by two professors from the University of Notre Dame Australia (UNDA) from January 5-21, 2024. This significant program was marked by a strong sense of mutual support as well as a shared dedication to the expansion and advancement of both institutions. We strengthened the partnership between SPI and UNDA throughout the exchange program, discussing topics such as health, religious belief and practice, agriculture practice, environment, multiculturalism/indigenous people/ethnic groups, inclusiveness, and tourism. Students from SPI and UNDA shared the reflection that this exchange program, under good collaboration, went beyond traditional academic boundaries and was dynamic and enriching. The student exchange program developed into a forum for exchanging ideas, knowledge, and cultural perspectives in addition to students, promoting a lively intercultural conversation that extended beyond the academic setting.

Professors Brendan Briggs and Karen McClusky from UNDA, who led the Australian student team, spoke about their amazing experiences leading and participating in the SPI exchange program. Through the atmosphere, academic program, teamwork, and community outreach program, which gave students and two of them the best memories, it was an insightful and fantastic program that helped students from UNDA discover new things in life and live in community with SPI students. They are eager to have this kind of program in the upcoming year. The professors also expressed their sincere gratitude and appreciation to the SPI team regarding their outstanding work and hospitality to all of the UNDA students.

During the closing exchange program, Director Phon Sophal emphasized that rather than focusing entirely on the short-term advantages, the sixth exchange program most significantly set the foundation for future projects and continued collaboration after we missed this kind of program for almost 4 years because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The institutions realized the long-term benefits of this relationship and agreed to keep it going for many years to come. Ongoing student exchanges, staff exchange programs, future collaborative research projects, and collaborative efforts are all considered crucial components of SPI and UNDA’s ongoing collaboration, with the purpose of helping our students grow and serve society.

Director Phon Sophal would like to extend his sincere gratitude and appreciation for the successful collaboration with NUDA during the recent exchange program on behalf of H.E. Bishop Olivier, Founder and Chancellor of SPI, as well as the entire SPI community, including staff, professors, and students. Special thanks go to Dr. Karen McClusky and Dr. Brendan Briggs, as well as to all the SPI and NUDA students who took part in this enlightening collaboration successfully. And he is looking forward to welcoming the next exchange program in the year 2025.