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Lost in Transition, Mate!

Aun Ngo

Wed Jun 02 2010

Lost in Translation

A LACK of support from educational institutions and the government and the media’s portrayal of international students are the key issues affecting female international students in Melbourne, according to the participants of a new documentary.

Video participants used the launch of the documentary Lost in Transition, Mate! to call for more support from private colleges.

The documentary was also critical of the media’s portrayal of international student issues.

Indian student Anu Shergill said the documentary gave the public the chance to hear the “real voice” of international students.

“International students are often treated as a promotional tool by the government and media organisations,” Ms Shergill said.

“It was never students standing up and saying, ‘This is what I think’ – it was always people talking on behalf of the students.

“The video documentary is the real voice of international students and it’s straight from the heart. I just hope the message gets across.”

But video artist Riza Manalo said despite the issues raised, the documentary was an overwhelmingly positive picture of multiculturalism in Melbourne.

“The participants are celebrating being independent in this country,” Ms Manalo said.

“All the students who took part are wonderful women who inspired me with their stories.”

The documentary featured 16 women who shared their experiences on studying in Australia, which ranged from discrimination and violence, their impressions of multicultural Melbourne and struggles with the Australian slang.

Victorian Immigrant & Refugee Women’s Coalition executive director Melba Marginson said the organisation jumped at the chance to create the first documentary about female international students.

“Our business is to give voice to people – no matter what culture, faith or race,” Ms Marginson said.

“We realised female international students are another group of women we have to help and empower.”

Chinese student Yi Zhang said she hoped the documentary would help international students feel welcome in Melbourne.

“I found it was an opportunity for women from different cultures to tell the story of women international students and I hope other students can watch the video and they can feel that Melbourne has welcomed and accepted them,” she said.

The documentary can be viewed at various libraries and schools around Melbourne. For more information and location details, visit

To purchase a copy of Lost in Transition, Mate!, contact VIRWC on 03 9654 1243 or email