Having completed a teaching placement in rural Nepal with limited resources, RMIT students have returned home with a wealth of experience.
Five Education students spent three weeks on a teaching placement at the Shree Bhumeshwor Lower Secondary School.
Fifteen of the 90 Nepalese students had already been interacting with the RMIT student teachers prior to their arrival through the University's unique eTutor program.
Tamasine Shama, a Bachelor of Education student, said the placement was the most rewarding and challenging so far during her studies.
"The experience taught me some incredibly valuable teaching skills, which are transferable to Australian schools, but it also taught me to be grateful for everyday things, such as running water and the privilege of living in Australia," Ms Shama said.
The RMIT students overcame obstacles such as a lack of teaching materials and no electricity, showing innovation in challenging circumstances by creating lessons using only blackboard, blu-tak, paper and pens.
The student teachers created their own resources by bringing textbooks to life and using sophisticated techniques to model more active styles of teaching and learning, employing multiple skill levels in the classroom to develop and challenge the range of children's capabilities.
Ms Shama said that resource disparities challenged her to adapt and think on her feet.
"It really benefited me as a pre-service teacher because it gave me skills, experience and a setting I wouldn't normally be exposed to - being in a totally different culture forced me out of my comfort zone and really pushed me as both a person and as a teacher," she said.
"But the children were highly motivated and engaged by the class work we gave them.
"They seized every opportunity, even the smallest things that we would take for granted - like reading a picture storybook - and soaked it in for all it was worth."
A lack of resources meant innovative approaches in the classroom for Hilary Clarke.
School days ran six days a week - every day except Saturday - with the RMIT students teaching Grade 5 to Grade 8, the highest level at the Shree Bhumeshwor School.
The RMIT students regularly shared ideas and exchanged advice on improving teaching skills with each other and Dr Nicky Carr - lecturer in the School of Education - who supervised the placement.
Video materials were also provided to the Nepalese teachers, to assist them with further developing their own professional practice in the future.
Dr Carr said the students gained confidence in creating engaging lessons while building relationships with the school students and understanding different cultures.
"The Nepal placement is just one example of how RMIT internationalises teacher education curriculum to build our education students' capacity to teach interculturally, through personal encounters with students from other cultures," she said.
Red paint signifies gratitude and welcome for Mindy Saunders.
Bachelor of Education student Joanna King said the experience was unforgettable.
"It has made me appreciate everything about my own life here in Australia more - hot running water, safe roads, and a good political climate," she said.
"It has definitely changed my views about the Australian education system and about how lucky we are to have great schools with well-educated and passionate teachers."
Ms King said that she took away many valuable teaching tips and techniques from her time in Nepal, especially for teaching students who have English as their second language.
"Along with this, I learnt that all Year 8 students are the same regardless of which country they live in. One word - puberty!
"But most importantly it has confirmed my future as a teacher. The placement gave me strength, motivation, and passion to be the best teacher I can possibly be."