LOCAL STUDENT SWEEPS UP AT VICTORIAN EDUCATION AWARDS

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By Matthew Elmas

 

Carlton local Fang Xuan Koay has received both the Premier’s Award and the Higher Education International Student of the Year award for her volunteer work helping Malaysian students prepare for the workforce.

 

Ms Koay has devoted her time as an undergraduate commerce student at Melbourne University to strengthening Melbourne’s Malaysian community by founding the careers arm of the Malaysian Students’ Council of Australia (MASCA).

 

The program is helping more than 5,000 Malaysian students studying in Australia prepare for the workforce with career workshops that aim to both prepare students and inform them about available job opportunities.

 

Ms Koay has praised the state government for the opportunities it provides to International students and says that it’s now up to the students themselves to make the most of their experience in Australia.

 

This is a great opportunity to tell the students that it’s not just about studying; it’s actually more about the experience you can gain here and the opportunities that there are here in Australia.”

 

“This is a great opportunity to tell the students that it’s not just about studying; it’s actually more about the experience you can gain here and the opportunities that there are here in Australia. We have great federal and state governments that give international students so much support, so it’s up to us to make the most of the support they are giving us,” said Ms Koay.

 

The annual awards are hosted by the Victorian Government and seek to recognize the accomplishments of international students and the institutions that support them.

 

For Ms Koay that group has been the Malaysian Students’ Council, where she has made giving back to her fellow students and supporting the surrounding community a priority throughout her undergraduate studies.

 

Ms Koay says that student institutions like the MASCA have an important role to play, not just in advocating for international students, but also in helping to integrate them into the community.

 

“The council is really important because it makes more vocal students and potentially bridges gaps between international students and the government or other stake holders. Some of them don’t actually have the courage to step out and give a voice to what they have in mind so what we regularly do is go out and ask the students about their issues.

 

Fang - Premier's Award LR

 

“I find that many international students find it really hard to make friends with locals because of things like language and cultural barriers or just that they don’t have the courage to step outside their comfort zone and make friends with the locals. That can be eliminated if they just adopt the proper mind set and try. I actually have many local friends that I’m really close with, it’s just a matter of whether or not you are willing to take the fist step,” said Ms Koay.

 

The MASCA have big plans for 2016, including the Fourth Malaysian Summit of Australia, which will see more than 5,000 students come together in Sydney for a four day event that will feature gaming tournaments and careers workshops.

 

But, having just graduated from Melbourne University, Ms Koay has said that she is moving on from the MASCA and will be looking for more volunteering opportunities in 2016.

 

Ms Koay says that she wants to continue contributing to her surrounding community and the nation in the future and aspires to become an economist for an NGO such as the World Bank or the IMF combatting poverty.

 

 

Matthew Elmas is a journalism student at La Trobe University. In his spare time he enjoys good books, great movies and thoughtful discussion. @mjelmas

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