Ulan is our Visual Media Producer here at Meld. When she’s not busy producing videos and photos, she plays with her snarky cat: Pepper!
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself (name, major/career, a bit more about what you do at meld, etc.)
My name’s Ulan Manaloto. I’m a former international student and I manage the visual production team at Meld Magazine. I studied a Bachelor of Film & Television because I love watching film and television, and most likely because I’ve always been a nerd about teamwork. I’ve been with Meld for a little over a year now, mainly producing photo and video content for social media. That ranges from IG stories, to interviews and a few strange pieces for last year’s Sextember. I also get to work with some amazing people. I’m serious, it is startling how wonderful the people in the team have been. I hope you’ve read all of their #wemeld posts.
Q: Why did you decide to join Meld community?
I first heard about Meld during my foundation studies back in 2014. At the time, I understood that it was valuable to have such a well-rounded platform covering the international student perspective. But it wasn’t until I lived in Melbourne for a couple years that the weight of it truly sank in. I was pretty naive, so I was about halfway through uni before I realised that a significant chunk of my experiences were specific to international students. Ever since then, I’ve always found content from Meld to be quite comforting; like running into an old friend. And when an actual friend of mine told me they were looking for a producer for their visual team, I got very excited and of course a little intimidated. Which, I’ve come to learn, is a good sign.
Q: What support would you like to see for international students? Is there enough being done right now?
I think there’s definitely room for emotional and practical support in exploring the different paths international students can take after university. In other words, once their student visa is up. Sometimes the visa options are overwhelming, and sometimes they’re a bit claustrophobic. But they are definitely a pain to navigate. And in some occasions, even the decision alone of whether or not to move back home can be incredibly anxiety-inducing.
Q: Why do you think it’s important to increase the awareness of the challenges that international students are facing?
From my own experience and what I’ve seen in others, there doesn’t seem to be enough awareness within the international student community that many of the challenges we face are more widespread than we think. We tend to leave periods of transition and adjustment unacknowledged. Our values are tested, often at a stark contrast. And emotions are at odds in moments as common as missing home and feeling guilty that you do. I think the more these challenges are openly and deliberately discussed by everyone, and the more accurate representation we get to see, the less difficult it becomes to feel empowered to take up space in a community.