Interview answers have been edited for clarity.
Not many international graduates working in Australia are as involved in supporting the next generation of international students as Ivan Wang. A Monash University graduate, Ivan is currently using his expertise in the info tech sector to develop a web-based PTE (Pearson Test of English) training resource aimed at helping Chinese students improve their English and has also given speeches on what to expect as an international student.
We caught up with Ivan to talk about his memories of being an international student, what he’s done and how he has continued to help young Chinese students adjust to a new life abroad.
What is your current occupation?
I work for Visionstream as a wideband designer. Our wideband team provides designs of corporate level internet solutions. While designing, I need to find out all the relevant existing resources and design new fibre routes if required.
Other than that, in my spare time, my friends and I are developing a PTE training web which aims to help Chinese student with their English. Currently, I’m focusing on marketing.
What keeps you motivated in your role?
When I first started, I did struggle. It was so different from being a student. But one day, I found the meaning of it by going out with the construction team. That day, I went to the Amazon warehouse to help them with their CISCO equipment. After seeing how my work helped the company and how Amazon benefited us, I found a sense of accomplishment. That gave me the reason for working hard and motivates me all the time.
Do you believe you have inspiring qualities?
Well, I believe I am inspiring people because I’d like to challenge myself, like taking part in some competition of tennis and badminton when I was a student. What’s more, I always make the best use of my time, like, I have a part time job as an Uber driver after work. It actually helps me to have more of an understanding about this country through communicating with its locals.
As a former international student, what can current students do to adjust to a brand new environment?
Yeah, many international students feel lost when they first come to a new country to live and study. They may have few friends here, they may miss their families and they may not like the food here. Many problems could happen. I met such problems too when I first came to Melbourne.
Studying abroad is a big trend especially in energetic developing countries like China. Studying aboard could really be a precious experience for teenagers; it teaches the young to fit into a new culture, cultivates the ability to live by his or her own. There’s so much stuff students can learn about growing up and being independent. Thus, it is a duty for me to help international students or students who plan to go abroad to study, by sharing with them my own experience to try and guide them on the right way. I have made two speeches at Pattison English (an education institute designed to prepare students for international study) in 2016 and 2017 where I shared my own experiences of study and life abroad and I am planning to do more public speaking engagements this year to helping more international students and their parents as well.
What do you want to say to the international students who may feel lost?
The successful stories cannot be copied, but every failure is an experience that you can learn a lot from.
This story was produced by Media and Communication students at Trinity College Foundation Studies as part of Meld’s community newsroom collaboration. Education institutions, student clubs/societies and community groups interested in being involved can get in touch with us via firstname.lastname@example.org.