State’s outstanding international students honoured

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The State’s outstanding international students and organisations that support them have been celebrated recently at the Sydney Opera House.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Stoner and Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business and Regional Development John Barilaro congratulated the winners of the 2014 NSW International Student Awards.

“The NSW International Student Awards publicly acknowledge the positive contributions and achievements of these outstanding international students who come from a range of educational institutions,” Mr Stoner said.

“The winners and finalists have shown that even though they are here to study, they find time to help their peers and other members of the community. NSW’s global links are strengthened by the presence of international students in the State and we appreciate their contributions to their schools, colleges and universities and the wider community,” he said.

“We want to enhance the international student experience while they are here so they can become our unofficial ambassadors when they return home. Through Study NSW, an agency within NSW Trade & Investment, the NSW Government is working with the international education sector to ensure its long-term growth,” he added.

Mr Barilaro, who represented the Deputy Premier at tonight’s awards presentation at the Sydney Opera House, said the finalists’ initiatives included advocating for and representing other international students, working with refugees, teaching children to sing, helping young people at risk, mentoring students, and volunteering and fund raising for charities.

“The winners are from a wide range of countries, including Kenya, Italy, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Ecuador, China, India, Belgium and Vietnam, reflecting the 177 countries from which our international students come,” Mr Barilaro said, and added that this year, the awards include a new category – the International Student Community Engagement Awards – to recognise the initiatives of organisations, community groups and education providers that help international students connect with the community.

“By implementing a range of different initiatives, the winners of these awards have helped international students to feel part of the community and also to resolve issues they might face,” he added.

BOX

The Winners

VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING

Mr Immanuel NJOROGE, Kenya, TAFE South Western Sydney Institute –

Granville College – Mr Njoroge, who is studying for a Diploma of Laboratory Technology, was a registered midwife before coming to Sydney to study. He assists and mentors his classroom peers and helps fellow international students to overcome loneliness. He volunteers at his local church, helping young people at risk, and for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

SCHOOLS

Miss Yanrong CHEN, China, Kambala – Miss Chen is a prefect, visual arts prefect and dux of the school’s International Baccalaureate Program. She contributes to the school’s CASAK (Community, Action, Service @ Kambala) progam. Miss Chen volunteered to tutor international students, working with her teacher to identify students needing support. She mentors other international students and is a boarding house “buddy”. She has also participated in the school’s charity work and fund raising.

English Language Intensive Courses for International Students

Mr Ahmad ALJAZEERI, Saudi Arabia, TAFE Northern Sydney Institute – Mr Al Jazeeri, who aims to study medical science next year, undertook volunteer training with Ryde Council and then began volunteering at Royal Rehab in Putney. He supports his fellow students and sometimes acts as their leader. He does volunteer work at two Islamic centres, organising social and religious activities.

HIGHER EDUCATION

Mrs Saba NABI, India, Charles Sturt University (CSU) – Mrs Nabi, who is studying for her PhD in biomedical sciences at CSU, is the first international student elected to the University Governance Council and is also a member of the Faculty of Science board. She is President of the International Students Club, part of CSU Health Promotion Group and the Secretary of the Islamic Students Association. Off campus she is involved with Cancer Council Wagga Wagga, the City Council and the Multicultural Council of Wagga Wagga.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT (EDUCATION PROVIDER)

Illawarra Committee for International Students (ICIS), University of Wollongong – ICIS was established in the 1980s to support the cultural and social needs of sponsored students. The Committee aims to help international students settle into life in the Illawarra, have fun, make friends and interact with the local community. Activities include the Welcome to Wollongong Dinner, orientation activities, sightseeing trips, English conversation groups and a partnership with Bomaderry schools. The Committee comprises University staff, international students and members of the Illawarra community.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT (ORGANISATION/COMMUNITY) (joint winners)

~ International Student Leadership and Ambassador program, Council of the City of Sydney – The International Student Leadership and Ambassador (ISLA) program aims to give international students a voice in the city. ISLA provides training, mentoring and practical work experience to international student leaders. The student ambassadors, from 11 educational institutions, work with the City to develop initiatives to meet community needs and promote events to international students. The program also provides opportunities for international students to gain professional work experience.

~ International Students Legal Advice Service, Redfern Legal Centre – The Redfern Legal Centre provides a free, State-wide advisory service tailored to the issues that international students face, including language barriers, lack of familiarity with NSW laws and lack of support networks. It is the only specialist international student legal advice service in NSW. The service uses video conferencing to link students in remote and regional areas with solicitors and interpreters in Sydney. The Centre has also developed plain-language, print and video legal resources for international students.

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