Our Study Sunshine Coast Student Ambassador, Jean, was recently awarded a scholarship to attend the Council of International Students Australia (CISA) student conference in Cairns. Read about her experience connecting with other international students and leaders in the international education sector.
“Influential and informative” Akash Varma, an international student from Monash University in Melbourne described his experience during the recently concluded CISA Conference. ‘It was a great platform to discuss the problems encountered by international students and seek viable solutions through sharing best practices.”
As the number of international students studying in Australia is increasing, the numbers of barriers faced by them are mounting as well. Inspired by Cairns’ famous Great Barrier Reefs, this year’s theme was “Overcoming Barriers”. Thus, the 8th Council of International Student in Australia Conference held in Cairns took their focus on different barriers faced by international students such as mental health, employability, fair wages, safe & affordable accommodation, study & work-life balance, and sexual harassment.
The Council of International Student Australia (CISA) is the national peak student representative organisation for international students studying at the postgraduate, undergraduate, private college, TAFE, ELICOS and foundation level within Australia. Representing over 700,000 international students studying in Australia, it aims to address concerns on these topics:
- Quality education
- Employment/Work rights
- Travel concessions
- Access to education
Over 200 international students representing their universities all over Australia attended the conference. CISA’s independent nature allowed students to meet and socialise with their friends and officers from universities across the country. Key events included Professional Development Workshops focusing on Student Leadership & Engagement, and Entrepreneurship and Employability, and forums and panel discussions on Sexual Harassment, Student Safety, Climate Change, Human Rights, and Tuition Protection Services.
It was a great venue for international student representatives from across Australia to discuss issues, to suggest and compare solutions, to share best practices that work, and to create life-long friendships and connections not only with fellow international students, but as well as with the universities governing body and government representatives with the emphasis on getting more international students, and even domestic students, involved in overcoming barriers.
Jean Martha L. Degollacion
Study Sunshine Coast Student Ambassador and University of the Sunshine Coast student