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Life changing moment: Indonesia’s Harriyadi Irawan wins both Premier’s Award and International Student of the Year for VET

Meld Magazine

Mon Oct 06 2014


HARRIYADI Irawan from Indonesia has described his wins at the Victorian International Education Awards as “life changing”. The student from William Angliss Institute took home not just the title for International Student of the Year for VET, but the prestigious Premier’s Award. In a series of interviews with winners and finalists, Marina Solomon brings you the stories worth celebrating. 


Harriyadi Irawan is still buzzing from the high of his successes weeks after the Victorian International Education Awards ceremony at Parliament House.

In what could be best described as a moment of utter disbelief, followed by elation, the Indonesian student had to pinch himself as he headed back to stage to receive the Premier’s Award, just moments after being named the International Student of the Year for Vocational Education and Training.

The Premier’s Award recognises outstanding academic achievement, contribution and connection to the Victorian community and capacity to be an inspirational role leader – and it was Harriyadi’s determination to succeed and positive attitude that made him stand out from his peers.

Studying an Advanced Diploma of Hospitality Management at William Angliss Institute was a dream come true for Harriyadi.

“My parents could not afford to help me study overseas. However, I never stopped dreaming about my goal to have an overseas education. Tourism and hospitality is my favourite field of study and work. Meeting new people, solving their problems and helping customers is a pleasure,” he says.

A Fulbright Scholarship from the United States opened the door for Harriyadi to obtain another scholarship, this time the Australian Government’s Endeavour Scholarships and Fellowships, to undertake an Advanced Diploma of Hospitality Management at William Angliss Institute in February 2012.

Since completing his advanced diploma, he is now pursuing a hospitality and tourism degree, which he expects to complete in 2016. The ultimate dream, Harriyadi says, is to one day be able to manage an international hotel chain.

His passion to serve others also extends to his personal life. Although his schedule is busy, Harriyadi still finds the time to volunteer and steals every other spare moment to enjoy Melbourne.

He is an active volunteer with the Collingwood Information Centre and Jesuit Social Services, and is a passionate City of Melbourne International Student Ambassador. The position allows him to help other students make friends and have a positive experience in Melbourne by organising events such as movie nights, BBQs, groups visits to football matches and the Melbourne Aquarium.

“Life is about giving,” says Harriyadi. He is grateful for the hands-on experience he gained at William Angliss, and says his teachers have helped him grow as a person.

“I feel very blessed and very happy to have won this award, I couldn’t believe it, there were so many other hard-working candidates,” he says.

Other finalists 

Mr Vimal Ram, Fiji

Sunraysia Institute of TAFE

Mr Ram first visited Australia in 2012, which then peaked his interest in local cuisines and the range of foods available in Australia. Ram has been a finalist in the Chefs of the Future Cooking competition and represents SuniTAFE for the AusTAFE culinary trophy.

He is also a student leader at the institution and gets copious amounts of joy from learning and participating as a student leader. Mr Ram loves to help new international students in their transitional period.

Ms Yuliana Sari, Indonesia

Advanced Diploma of Computer Systems Technology – NMIT

Ms Sari is passionate about assisting women when it comes to being involved in the Information Technology (IT) industry. When attending her first class, Ms Sari thought she had entered the incorrect classroom, with only two other women in the class.

She has since joined Girl Geek Dinners Melbourne, a community for women who enjoy sharing knowledge on science and technology. Ms Sari finds it a privilege to help both local and international students realise their dreams.

Ms Mercedes Wenz, USA

Certificate IV in Youth Work – Chisholm Institute of TAFE

Ms Wenz was first inspired to pursue a career in youth work when she was just a young shy teenager, surrounded by positive role models. She is currently working alongside Youth for Christ (YFC), which involves school visits, mentoring young students and organising activities.

Ms Wenz considers herself blessed to have the opportunity to study Youth Work and to gain knowledge and experience.

The Victorian International Educational Awards (VIEA) is an awards ceremony that celebrates leaders in Victoria’s international sector, highlighting the achievements of both institutions and international students furthering their education from Victoria’s highly spoken of education services.