Intercultural Programs, Internships and youth exchange, Kirrilee Hughes

Episode 008
My guest today helps students have the ‘overseas experience’ as early as high school, providing them with one of the most important skills in life. My guest is Kirrilee Hughes.

Today’s guest is the CEO of AFS Intercultural Programs Australia. She has an honours degree in Asian Studies, a Master of Marketing, a Graduate Certificate in Australian Migration Law and Practice and a PhD in Asian studies. She has lived overseas several times, worked in different educational institutions and has travelled the world. She knows what she is talking about! My guest today is Kirrilee Hughes.

Kirrilee was awarded the Tracy McCabe Future Leader Fellowship for her contribution to international education.

Kirrilee went overseas for the first time in her life thanks to an AFS high school exchange program. She went to Indonesia in 1996 and this is where she became hooked on international, intercultural experiences. She learned how life could be outside of Australia, she learned other languages and met great people along the way. Since then she has specialised in international relations and international education in South East Asia, especially Indonesia. One of her career highlights was introducing the President of the Republic of Indonesia (in both English and bahasa Indonesia) to over 150 senior Australian and Indonesian business people and government officials.

In 2014, Kirrilee won the Tracy McCabe Future Leader Fellowship for her contribution to international education. The Fellowship is awarded by the Australian Universities International Directors’ Forum (AUIDF) to high achievers in Australia’s international education sector. This is a recognition of Kirrilee’s work, her passion to advocate for Asia literacy and was specifically related to a pilot program she developed at UNSW for careers counsellors from Indonesia and Malaysia.

In 2017, Kirrilee was the student speaker at her graduation ceremony. She focused this talk on mentoring. Have you ever wondered where the word MENTOR comes from? This is from her speech:

The word ‘mentor’ comes to us from the ancient Greek myth of Odysseus. Odysseus’ son, Telemachus, was struggling with the long absence of his travel-loving father whilst his family home was besieged by crude men vying for the attention of his mother, who had locked herself away. With limited help from his parents Telemachus lacked confidence and experience and he was uncertain about his future.

The goddess Athena took the form of an old man from Ithaca whose name was ‘Mentor’. Mentor guided Telemachus; encouraging him to track down his father’s whereabouts and supporting him through this process. Experience and confidence were thus seeded in the young Telemachus; gifts that were all important for his future.

In this interview you will learn from the experiences Kirrilee had by living overseas at a young age, why she thinks you should do things differently, what really drives her every day and what she looks for when hiring new people or when trying to team up with others.

Enjoy the interview and leave your comments below if you would like to know something else about this particular line of work.
You can also read more about Kirrilee here:

  1. asiapacific.anu.edu.au/
  2. newsroom.unsw.edu.au/
  3. anu.edu.au/alumni

Connect with Kirrilee through Linkedin

This Episode was sponsored by Bedssi.com and RevolutionAustralia.com

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