LEADERSHIP is diplomacy, initiative and drive, says 25-year-old Margaret Houser. She is one of a small handful of international students handpicked to take part in the City of Melbourne’s EDGE leadership program. Find out what makes her tick.
What’s your name, and how old are you?
My name is Margaret, and I am 25-years-old.
Where are you from? Where and what course or program are you doing?
I am from New Orleans, Louisiana in the States. I am currently studying a Master of Business (Marketing) degree at RMIT University.
How long have you been in Melbourne for and why did you choose to come to Melbourne? Did you come alone or with family?
My course started in July 2011. I have traveled to Australia in the past and absolutely fell in love with Melbourne. I couldn’t get over the food, the laneways, and the laidback lifestyle. I came over to Australia by myself.
What are you expecting to get from the EDGE program?
Expand my network, challenge myself, and have fun.
What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership is diplomacy, initiative, and drive.
What or who do you draw inspiration from, and why?
My mum. She is a special education teacher at a public school in New Orleans. She works with kids who have a range of physical and mental disabilities. Everyday she challenges the kids to communicate creatively, laugh, and engage with the world. She works passionately to help others.
If you could champion one cause for international students in Melbourne, what would it be?
I don’t think international students need a cause; being from another country does not make us disadvantaged. Rather I think students need to take a proactive role in immersing themselves in Australian culture and playing a larger role in their local communities. It’s the only way to educate people about your culture and challenge stereotypes.
What, in your opinion, is the most common misunderstanding/stereotype that people have of international students in Melbourne?
I suppose people assume international students can’t speak English.
What are your other talents/hobbies outside the classroom?
I just started an internship with a geospatial IT consulting company, so that has kept me busy.
Where is your favourite spot to hang out in Melbourne?
The Royal Botanical Gardens.
What song gets you pumped or excited? Think Eye of the Tiger or Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor” or any Bon Jovi track.
“Dog days are over” by Florence and the Machine.
If I had a million dollars I would…. start a foundation that would give underprivileged kids in New Orleans the opportunity to travel and see the world.
If I only had $5 I would…. meet a friend for a coffee.