Three RMIT Vietnam students joined more than 600 student leaders from universities across the world at a recent international leadership symposium at Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Held over seven days, the fifth University Scholars Leadership Symposium had a 'life-changing' impact, according to participating students Nhu Nguyen , Bao Nguyen and Anh Do.
On their return and at a special RMIT Vietnam ceremony acknowledging the students, the group exuded energy and inspiration as a result of their experience.
The trio were nominated by RMIT Vietnam to attend the symposium, which is organised annually by Humanitarian Affairs Asia and is designed to develop confidence, independence, skills and global competiveness in the next generation of leaders.
At the symposium, students heard from inspirational guest speakers such as the 2011 CNN Hero 2011 Ibu Robin Lim, Founder of Science of Life Studies Dr Singh, and public speaker Pallas Hupe Cotter.
The group also spent time at the Sunrise Children's Village, which shelters more than 600 abandoned and orphaned children, including those with disabilities.
Bao Nguyen, Anh Do and Nhu Nguyen said there wasn't a moment when they weren't learning at the symposium.
"I was impressed with the concept of taking a 'baby's first step' covered during Pallas Hupe Cotter's presentation," Bao Nguyen said.
"He said success is just like the way a child learns how to take his or her very first steps.
"You have to be passionate, patient and keep trying despite falling down, and eventually you will achieve success," he said.
Anh Do reflected on one of the delegate's projects named Shoes for Somalia.
This simple idea stemmed from looking at current health issues in Somalia, where personal hygiene is often not be a priority and a lack of shoes was leading to disease.
"The project has been running for four months and and was a great example of a real initiative presented at the symposium," Anh Do said.
To be selected to attend the conference, the students were required to submit a statement on their philosophy of community service as well as their ideas to improve activities for RMIT Vietnam students.
Anh Do's submission was around using community service activities to empower Vietnamese youth and enhance their confidence by encouraging them to step outside of their comfort zones.
Nhu Nguyen used an image of a candle and a mirror to express her statement.
"My favourite quote has always been 'there are two ways of spreading light: to be a candle, or the mirror that reflects'," Nhu Nguyen said.
"I always integrate this philosophy into everything I do especially in my role with AIESEC RMIT Vietnam".
On the groups return to Vietnam, they were recognised by staff and students at a special award ceremony held a RMIT Vietnam Saigon South.
RMIT Vietnam's Executive Director Students Steve Paris said the students demonstrated exemplary leadership skills in social responsibility and service to the university community.
View a clip the group put together on their experience.