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Learning area: Geography
Year level: Year 6
Country: China, India, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand
General capability: Intercultural understanding

This learning sequence looks at the connections between Australian companies and organisations, and countries in the Asia region. Students will explore why Australia trades and connects with Asia and what skills Australians require to work effectively with their counterparts.

Key inquiry questions

  • How does Australia connect with the countries of Asia?
  • What are some of the skills required to effectively work with and in the countries of Asia?
  • How can we use Asia skills to create a country-specific briefing for a hypothetical business?

Map of AsiaMajor population concentrations are marked in red on this map of Asia

Related resources

Activity 1: Connecting with Asia

In this activity, you will explore how Australia connects with the countries of Asia.

Key inquiry question: How does Australia connect with the countries of Asia?

  1. Discuss as a class how Australia could connect with the countries of Asia, and create a collaborative mind map. ‬‬
  2. Watch the video, Asia skills: a taster (on the right), and list the ways in which those interviewed connected with the Asia region. Were they on your mind map? If not, add them.
  3. Look at the map of Asia (on the right) or print a copy. Identify the countries mentioned in the video clip. Discuss as a class what you know about these countries.
  4. Look at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's table (below), which shows Australia's top ten trading partners. Identify the countries that are found in the Asia region and shade them on your map if you haven't already done so. Discuss what you know about the countries you have added.‬‬
    Goods Services Total % Share
    1. China 113.6 7.4 121.1 19.9
    2. Japan 68.4 4.0 72.5 11.9
    3. United States 38.1 16.1 54.2 8.9
    4. South Korea 30.4 2.2 32.7 5.4
    5. Singapore 20.5 7.1 27.7 4.6
    6. United Kingdom 14.3 8.7 23.0 3.8
    7. New Zealand 15.3 6.3 21.6 3.5
    8. India 17.5 2.9 20.3 3.3
    9. Thailand 15.2 3.3 18.5 3.0
    10. Malaysia 13.1 3.0 16.0 2.6
    Total two-way trade 499.1 109.1 608.2 100

    Australia's top ten two-way trading partners 2011 ($ billion)

  5. Read the accompanying notes and complete the following questions:
    • Is the 2011 list of trading partners still correct today? If not, how has it changed?
    • What is meant by the term 'goods and services'?
    • What is meant by the terms 'exports' and 'imports'?
    • List Australia's top exports to Asia and identify whether they are goods or services.
    • List Australia's top imports from Asia and identify whether they are goods or services.
  6. Share your answers with the rest of the class. Think about the video you have just watched and answer the following:
    • Which of the stories was about providing goods to Asia?
    • Which ones were about providing services?
    • How many of the stories were about providing goods or services to one of our top ten trading partners and which ones were they?
  7. The Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) is a government organisation established to help businesses trade with countries around the world. Break into groups of seven. Your task is to find out which goods and services are more likely to be traded in each of our top trading countries of Asia. Each member of the group will select a country from the list of 2011 trading countries and use the ‪‬‬Interactive export map to identify the most favoured exports. Select the region where your country is found, then choose a country. On the side is a box that provides a link to a profile of the country. This will give details of the industries favoured by this country. Gather all your information and compile a report. This will be used in Activity 3.
  8. Complete the activity by discussing which of the compiled goods and services could be provided by Australia. Use the notes above about trading in Asia to see whether Australia is currently taking advantage of these opportunities.

Activity 2: Australians making connections

In this activity, you will examine stories about Australians who have developed intercultural and language competencies that support them to work in and with China and South Korea.

Key inquiry question: What are some of the skills required to effectively work with and in the countries of Asia?

  1. View the videos and read the stories below. Examine how some Australians have developed intercultural and language competencies so that they can work in and with China and South Korea.

    Gaethan Cutri: Grower and exporter, Cutri Fruit and Certified Fresh

    Gaethan is a stone fruit producer from Swan Hill whose company sells most of its produce in Asia. He spent his early life in Swan Hill before going to Melbourne to study commerce and law. After five years of legal practice he came back to the farm, and since that time has developed new export brands to become the largest stone fruit producer in Australia. His father began supplying produce to Taiwan many years ago and Gaethan remembers being in charge of farm tours for Asian buyers when he was in his early teens.

    'I love dealing with buyers from all around the world and I just love our industry. I think there are so many opportunities in it ... [And some of the most populous countries in the world] are in our backyard.'

    Gaethan Cutri believes there are many opportunities in Asia for the Australian agricultural sector

    Tom Parker: Business consultant, Director, Redtape Consulting

    Tom runs a consultancy business to help Australians do business in China. Two of his clients are the Melbourne Football Club and the AFL. Their interests in this matter are diverse but include attracting new sponsors and new members. He describes an in-country team-building process through exposure to Chinese cultural experiences.

    Tom's task is to get the group to engage with China, to realise there are significant points of cultural difference between Australia and China and to try to understand the drivers behind these differences. He suggests that sport can build bridges, but without some depth to the experience it is an opportunity wasted.

    Tom first went to China in the early 1970s and decided that he wanted to make China part of his journey.  He has had a varied career so far including being a teacher and working in government and the media. However, connections with China have always featured somehow.

    Tom is concerned about the state of our Asia skills and language abilities in particular. 'Languages aren't really seen as a priority in Australia ... We're a bit complacent about it. While we travel a lot and are mindful of other cultures, broadly speaking we don't have those skills.'

    Tom Parker reflects on the role of sport in strengthening engagement

    Mary-Lou Dixon: Manager, Community Partnerships, Parks Victoria

    Mary-Lou is the manager of community partnerships for Parks Victoria, an organisation that believes that if you have healthy parks, you will have healthy people. A partnership with similar organisations in South Korea has seen an exchange of ideas about environmental management, especially concerning parks that have urban connections. Mary-Lou was particularly interested to see how South Koreans were spiritually connected to the environment and saw parallels with Australia's Indigenous peoples' connections to the land. She feels that her connections with South Korea have helped her to increase her knowledge about global environmental management.

    Mary-Lou Dixon has first-hand experience of South Korea's stunning landscape

  2. Discuss as a class what you found interesting about each of the stories and whether there was a common theme across all of them.
  3. Identify the goods and services provided by each of the interviewees of the organisations they were representing. Were any of them listed in the key goods and services provided by Australia to its top ten trading partners?
  4. Think about the skills that each person indicated they needed to work successfully, with or in the countries of Asia.
  5. Create a spider diagram with 'working with and in Asia' written in the central circle. Create a number of circles around the main circle and link them to the centre with lines. In each of the outer circles list a key skill mentioned in the stories.

Keep your diagram with information about the resources you have gathered to use in the final activity.


Text: Adapted from Asia skills in Action, Asia Education Foundation: 'Australian farmers prosper', 'Taking the AFL to China', 'Healthy parks, healthy people'

Activity 3: Business briefing

In this activity, you will create a business briefing that explains how to connect successfully with Australia's top trading partners in the Asia region.

Key inquiry question: How can we use Asia skills to create a country-specific briefing for a hypothetical business?

Knowledge, language skills and intercultural competence

  1. Read the information about Asia skills (on the right). Check to see if your diagram matches the skills mentioned in the resource. If not, adjust it and add spokes to each of the key skills writing in the sub-elements to each skill.
  2. Reflect on the information provided in your diagram and discuss as a class what is meant by each one and whether schools currently provide students with opportunities to develop these skills.

Keep your diagram with the resources you have developed in activities as you will be using them in the final activity.


You work for the Australian Trade Commission and have been approached by an Australian business or organisation that wishes to sell its product or service to either China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, India or Malaysia. They are keen to know more about the country before making connections.

Your task is to provide them with a briefing.

  1. Form groups to represent each of the countries.
  2. Use the resources you have created in the first two activities to help shape your briefing. You can also use the ‪‬‬Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website and Austrade's ‪‪‬‬Interactive export map to access relevant information. The briefing has to be delivered using digital technology and must be no longer than ten minutes. Here are some ‪‪‬‬presentation ideas for you to look at.
  3. Think about how you will present the information.
    • What grabs people's attention?
    • How do you provide a lot of information without using words? Think about graphs, maps and images that could be used.
    • Use your spider diagram to identify skills that your client needs to develop and the information you must provide to develop these skills.
  4. Create your briefing.
  5. Present your briefings and then vote as a class which one gave the most comprehensive and effective advice. Discuss the reasons for your decision.


Text: Adapted from Asia skills, Asia Education Foundation website

Activity 4: Reflection

To conclude this learning sequence, you will reflect on the skills required to work in and with the countries of Asia.

Look at your spider diagram identifying the key Asia skills. Reflect on what you have learnt during this module and write next to the relevant skill any new knowledge, skills or understandings you have acquired.

Once you have completed this activity, discuss your findings with the class and identify skills that still need to be developed and how this could occur.

This learning sequence provides teachers with the opportunity to discuss with students the reasons why Australia connects with the Asia region and what skills are required to ensure that these connections are successful. The learning sequence culminates with students creating a business brief for selling a good or service to one of Australia's top Asian trading partners.

Activity 1: Connecting with Asia

Prior to beginning this activity you will need to download and print copies of the map of Asia provided. There are a number of terms used in this activity that should be discussed prior to students attempting the questions. These include trade, exports, imports, goods and services. Students will use the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade table and information provided within the activity to collect data about goods and services sought by Australia's top Asian trading partners. This information will be used in Activity 3.

Activity 2: Australians making connections

In this activity, students will examine Real Australians, real experiences, which showcases three stories about Australians who have made successful connections to Asia. They identify the goods and services being provided and the skills that were needed by each person to support their work. This information will be used in Activity 3 along with notes created in Activity 1.

Activity 3: Business briefing

In this activity, students will be given a hypothetical situation where an Australian company has come to them to provide advice about working in one of the following countries: China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, India or Malaysia. Using the information they have gathered in the previous two activities, the notes on Asia skills and information from Austrade's ‪‬‬Interactive export map they will create a business briefing providing information about the country, cultural behaviours and favoured products and services. It may be advisable to group your students according to the country they researched in Activity 1.

Activity 4: Reflection

Students complete the learning sequence by reflecting on the importance of Australia connecting to the Asia region and what skills Australians will need to make sure these connections are successful.

Useful websites

It is recommended that teachers preview websites to ensure they are suitable for their students prior to use in class. Content accessed via these links is not owned or controlled by the Asia Education Foundation and is subject to the terms of use of the associated website.

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