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Melbourne International Student Conference 2016 Day 2: Finding what matters to you

Trinh Le

Tue May 17 2016


WHAT matters to you? This question shaped the second day of the Melbourne International Student Conference 2016 and got students to find their niche, work towards that ideal and to surround themselves with a network of people who support their cause. Trinh Le has the highlights of day two. 

Students were encouraged to find what mattered to them, pursue it and "find their tribe". | Photo: Trinh Le

Students were encouraged to find what mattered to them, pursue it and “find their tribe”. | Photo: Trinh Le

The second day of the Melbourne International Student Conference expanded on the conference’s theme of “the future of work” by asking students and industry members to think about what “mattered” to them.

Opening with a keynote presentation by STREAT co-founder Rebecca Scott and ending with the Young Upstarts Business Pitch Competition, the theme of the day was encouraging students to find their niche; to find something that they would enjoy doing, to surround themselves with like-minded people who would support their ideals and to work towards something that they felt was important to them.

Rebecca Scott on “careers that make a difference”

STREAT Co-Founder Rebecca Scott opened the second day of the conference with an impassioned speech about how she ended up assisting at-risk youth.

Having admitted that she was “an unlikely person to end up in social enterprise”, prior to co-founding STREAT, Ms Scott made a living working in a variety of jobs from chopping wood to packing vegetarian sausages. Then in 2001, she stumbled upon a little homeless boy in Vietnam. And that changed everything.

That young boy didn’t leave her mind. His presence made her question her own responsibility to society.

“[He was] like a stone in my shoe,” she said. So in 2004, she joined KOTO, and thus started her social entrepreneurship journey.

“Homelessness is like a stone in your shoe. Do you stop to take out that stone, or do you ignore it and keep walking? [So] find your stone. Find the thing that makes you passionate, that makes you angry, that makes you think, ‘This is not right, this is injustice.’ And work to change it,” Ms Scott said.

To young people, whom she regarded as “the future of Australia”, Ms Scott advised them to find their tribe and follow their heart. She further believed that people no matter where they come from, could help the community, either through volunteering, donating, or becoming a customer of a social enterprise.

Teach Anything Good (TAG) sessions

Students participating a Teach Anything Good session.

Students participated in a Teach Anything Good session. | Photo: Trinh Le

Following on from the morning’s keynote presentation, students made the choice of attending the Teach Anything Good (TAG) sessions that mattered to them. The 16 short workshops ranged from mixing ceremonial matcha, learning composition through Marvel comics, to engaging in professional networking.

Meanwhile, in the industry stream, the workshops provided a wide array of perspectives for education practitioners, from cultural intelligence in the classroom to the role of media in students’ experience of migration and international education.

Young Upstarts Business Pitch Competition

Students exchanged ideas at the Young Business Upstart Competition (MISC2016)

Students exchanged ideas at the Young Business Upstart Competition. | Photo: Trinh Le

Later in the day, student delegates worked in teams and were introduced to the design thinking process where groups had to devise creative solutions to improve social resilience among young people, especially international students.

Each team was led by an industry facilitator, guiding them through the probing questions to determine specific problems to the ideation process. The joining teams then pitched their final design to a judging panel.

Zen Wonders’ founder shared his startup story

Roberto Filitti, founder of Zen Wonders, gave a speech on his startup journey at Melbourne International Student Conference 2016

Roberto Filitti, founder of Zen Wonders, gave a speech on his startup journey. | Photo: Trinh Le

Robert Filitti was (and still is) an international student when his then girlfriend sent him a photo of a cup of matcha in Japan back in 2014. He was immediately hooked on the bright colour of this ceremonial green tea, did some research on it and eventually turned his passion for tea into a business.

Mr Filitti spoke to students about Zen Wonders, his online business specialising in high quality matcha sourced from the best area for tea production in Japan, the Uji Region. His speech reminded students once again that following through with concepts that mattered to them would lead to an enriching career in the long-term.

Karen Poh gave the closing remarks

Karen Poh from Meld Community closed the night with her inspiring speech (MISC2016)

Karen Poh from Meld Community closed the night with her inspiring speech. | Photo: Trinh Le

Closing out the conference was Karen Poh, founder of Meld Community and co-host of the Melbourne International Student Conference 2016 who once again, reminded students, local and international alike, of the importance of teamwork, creativity and connection.