What better way to get to know your new city than to learn all you can about it and represent it?
Australian Catholic University student Seavmeng (Meng) Hun was one of 32 candidates selected from 119 applicants to be an International Student Leadership and Ambassador for the City of Sydney.
The candidates for the International Student Leadership and Ambassador (ISLA) 2016-18 Program include students from 15 education institutions and 14 countries.
The students were selected for their previous leadership and volunteer experience in their educational institutions in the community and their country of origin.
Meng, who is also the vice president of the ACU International Students Club, studied his Bachelor’s degree in Cambodia and was determined to get as involved in the Australian culture as possible when he began his Master of Commerce/Master of Business Administration in 2016.
“When I did my Bachelor’s degree in Cambodia, I focused on my studies completely and it was good but it could have been better. When I came to Sydney I decided that this study experience would be different and I would get more involved,” Meng says.
“I promised myself that I would say yes to opportunities and get involved in the community as much as I couldthrough volunteering and programs that were available.”
Meng was excited to be selected for the ISLA program and said he initially thought he had missed out until the deadline was extended.
“I applied and after an interview and a screening process I was selected.”
Between December 2016 and February 2017, Meng and the other students attended an extensive training program to help them better understand the roles of the City of Sydney and a range of international student related services and receive information from relevant government and non-government organisations.
They also received training on leadership skills, communication and cultural intelligence to enhance their capacity as effective international student ambassadors.
“We got a lot of training and built on soft skills such as team work, strategy planning and event management.
“I believe that by participating in the ISLA program, I can also hone my skills for future employment.
“It’s been a challenge in a good way and a great experience – I’ve enjoyed being busy and learning to manage my time,” Meng says.
“I’m learning transferrable skills that I can also bring back to the ISC and help the members with organising events.”
While building his skill-set through ISLA has been great, it’s the people Meng has met that have made his ISLA experience such a great one so far.
“What I’ve enjoyed most is meeting new people and learning about new cultures. It’s such a diverse group and there is so much to learn from everyone.”
During the 18-month program from December 2016 to June 2018, Meng and his fellow student ambassadors will be involved in planning and implementing events and projects to help international students meet new friends, get to know more about Sydney and build the leadership skills of youth leaders in the community.
The ISLA 2016-18 Program Ambassador Official Induction Ceremony was held on March 15 where Meng and his fellow ambassadors were welcomed to their new roles.
The ambassadors will assist the City in promoting and running a number of key events, such as the Lord Mayor’s International Student Welcome Reception on April 4, 2017, the International Education Sector Forum, and the City’s information booth and workshops at orientation events.