This week is about our Community Manager, Tam. not only is she a creative designer she’s also a talented dancer!
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself (name, major/career, a bit more about what you do at meld, etc.)
My name is Tam and I’m the Social Media Manager at Meld. I graduated from Melbourne University, studying Media and Communications. In my downtime, I enjoy watching anime to distract myself from real problems (Seriously check out “Kaguya-sama Love is War” everyone, it’s great).
Q: Why did you decide to join Meld community?
Initially, I started as an intern at Meld, simply because I was panicking over job prospects and needed an internship experience. Little did I know that it was one of the best decision I’ve made. Meld has allowed me to develop my writing and communication skills, and connected me with amazing people and professional connections in the industry.
Q: What support would you like to see for international students? Is there enough being done right now?
I hope to see more financial support for international students, especially from University and colleges and residential properties (e.g reduced tuition fees, increased number of scholarships or reduced rent).
Q What challenges have you faced as an international student in Australia?
The majority of my challenges, as with any other international students, stems from Visa restrictions. When my dad passed away in Vietnam, I couldn’t attend his funeral due to my bridging visa restrictions at the time. Not being able to be with my family at the most devastating time of my life was extremely challenging, and it’s just one of the many challenges that international students are facing while being away from home. Therefore, I hope that international students continue to be provided with more access to and options for mental health support services within Australia.
Q: Are there any international students that you look up to as role models and why?
One of my role model is my close friend, Kyaw Htin. Originally from Burma, Kyaw and I met when we were both staying at Trinity Residential College and became good friends over the years. During difficult times, Kyaw was there to support me and helped me overcome many challenges that came my way.
Our paths diverged when Kyaw was offered a position at Google in Sydney, an incredible opportunity that he’s been working hard towards. Though I was sad that my close friend can no longer be physically there for me, I was happy that he finally achieved his goal. What makes Kyaw so admirable for me is not the fact that he scored a job at Google, but simply because he worked hard for it yet still stayed humble over his journey. Even after countless achievements, he still suffers from “impostor syndrome” and continues to work harder to feel like he deserve to be at the position that he so rightfully earned. Having someone like Kyaw in my life has enabled me to work harder towards my goals and persevere through challenging times.
Q: Why do you think it’s important to increase the awareness of the challenges that international students are facing?
International students are continuously viewed as wealthy foreigners, and therefore are often disregarded in times crisis. The treatment of international students during Covid-19, for instance, revealed that discrimination against international students still exists and heightened the sense of fear and anxiety among the international students community.
The importance of awareness of these challenges are higher than ever before. International students are significant contributors to Australia’s growing economy, yet continued to be dismissed when it comes to rights, benefits and support. By raising awareness of these issues, we can hope to dismantle the misconstrued assumptions surrounding international students and build towards a future where they can feel safe and welcomed in their second home.