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CISA Conference 2014: What you need to know

INTERNATIONAL student peak body, the Council of International Students Australia (CISA) is holding its annual conference this July, where the student committees will elect a new executive committee. Giulia Poloni shares what this will mean for international students and how they can participate.

Student leaders at the 2013 CISA Conference. Photo: Council of International Students Australia

Student leaders at the 2013 CISA Conference. Photo: Council of International Students Australia

International student peak body the Council of International Students Australia (CISA)’s fourth National Education Conference will take place in Adelaide from the July 7 to 9. It aims to bring international student committees and stakeholders together, including professionals, directors of international offices, diplomats and politicians.

The conference programme includes sessions that will train students on building the skills they need to take on leadership roles in the future. The second day will be dedicated to the CISA Excellence Award 2014 ceremony, where organisations as well as individuals will receive prizes for their activity and engagement with the international student community.

The conference will round off with the elections of the new officer bearer for the 2014/15 CISA Executive Committee by members of the association.

CISA is an association of associations. Hence, they do not offer individual memberships. As the international student peak body, which represents all international students in Australia, it is important for each student to understand that individual students cannot each cast a vote.

However, every student is encouraged to vote for his or her own representative at their institution, who will then be their spokespeople and vote at the elections taking place in July.

“Student reps play a key role in involving the international community in their own institution,” current CISA president Thomson Ch’ng told Meld Magazine.

He noted that informing students of the existence and functions of CISA, including what CISA can do for international students, is fundamental. CISA represents students studying at all levels, including those at university, private colleges, TAFE, ELICOS and foundation level.

“Our goal is to be engaged locally and connected nationally”, Ch’ng said.

CISA wants to be a platform for international students living in Australia that gives them the opportunity to raise questions and solve issues.

“Most of the foreign students come here with the intention to not only get a degree, but also to gain life-experience,” he added.

International students are not always keen on getting involved in their communities, or may not understand the significance of an international student peak body. It is essential for local student representative bodies to spread the word, and let international students know that there is an organisation out there that represents them at a national level and will be available to help them if they face any difficulties during their time in Australia.

The 2014 CISA Conference will cost $250 per student delegate and $750 per industry delegate, exclusive of flights and accommodation. Further details of the conference are available on their official website.

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Meld Magazine was incorporated as an independent not-for-profit media outlet in September 2008 to reach out to international students in Melbourne, and provide students the opportunity to gain real work experience.

Many international students live in or around the city because of the proximity to their colleges and universities, and that was where we decided to focus our efforts first. Many of us live, work and study locally too. Our editorial team is made of both local and international students, and it has worked to our advantage in providing local content in every sense of the word.

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