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“Reflect, Redefine, Respond”: Melbourne International Student Conference 2021 Is a Must-Attend

Meld Magazine

Sat Sep 11 2021

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In a year that has continued to be impacted by the effects of COVID-19 around the globe, there is no better course of action than to “reflect, redefine, respond” – the very theme for this year’s edition of the Melbourne International Student Conference (MISC). This flagship event which has benefited countless international students over the years will be held online this year on Thursday, September 23rd taking place between 10.30am and 5.30pm. You can book your free ticket via Hopin here: https://hopin.com/events/misc-2021-reflect-redefine-respond

MISC 2021 promises to be as exciting as ever and deliver plenty of benefits for all attendees. An organiser of the event, Anne Louise Thorbecke, explains: “This year’s MISC is about what it means to re-imagine and adjust our work towards dream careers in a changing environment. MISC will aim to focus on the opportunities that currently exist, and which will exist for international students and graduates in the future.”

“You can expect to hear inspiring talks from speakers who have themselves successfully navigated the challenges of professional upheavals and career changes. There will also be a focus on practical tools and skills that international students can use to build their professional brands, as well as reflective spaces to consider bigger-picture questions related to career readiness and leadership.”

MISC has been held each year since 2014 in partnership with the City of Melbourne, in line with both their and Meld’s vision to empower and inspire Melbourne’s large international student community to flourish through support and opportunities.

Another organiser of MISC 2021, Ritika Saxena, shares: “Be prepared to reignite that passion inside of you which the pandemic may have dulled. Get ready to be inspired by international student leaders, meet and engage with other students not only in Melbourne but located anywhere in the world, and to foster genuine friendships.”

You most definitely don’t want to miss out on this event which is full of opportunities to learn, grow and expand your potential. Register your interest via Facebook here (https://www.facebook.com/events/1323392618063652/) and get your free ticket via Hopin (https://hopin.com/events/misc-2021-reflect-redefine-respond). We look forward to seeing you there!

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Now get to know the organisers of this year’s Melbourne International Student Conference… 

Anne Louise Thorbecke
Project Manager and Board Member, Meld Community
Anne Louise is a psychologist, contemporary dancer – and semi-full time baker since the start of lockdown! An international student herself until this year (having now graduated), she has worked with international students in Victoria for seven years and joined Meld in 2017 as a project coordinator for the Melbourne International Student Conference. Anne Louise is passionate about multiculturalism, gender equality, mental health and LGBTIQA+ rights.

Rita Saxena
Project Lead and Secretary, Meld Community
Rita is a young stem cell scientist (@stemcellmum) and a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne. She was born in India but has spent time studying in Australia, the USA and China. This allowed Ritika to develop a strong understanding of multiculturalism as well as culturally sensitive communication and teamwork styles. A well-established student leader during her undergraduate studies, Ritika is also the founder of a social enterprise called Floralrestrict which raised over $10,000 for the international student and Victorian community. She wants to build collaborative communities through her leadership, particularly in the international student sector. She is an inspiring role model to young women of colour who dream of a career in STEMM and coaches international students on how to fit in and stand out at the same time in a foreign land.

Aun Ngo
Treasurer and Founder, Meld Community
Aun looks after the community aspect of StartSpace at State Library Victoria. Born in Malaysia before migrating to Melbourne at an early age, he studied Commerce and Arts before working in the education sector managing international student welfare programs. Aun then spent some time working in Asia, including a social enterprise in Manila and a non-profit in Singapore. More recently he launched and managed the FYA Hub, Australia’s first free co-working space for youth social entrepreneurs. He also co-founded Meld Community in 2008.

Don Doughty
Board Member, Meld Community
Originally from Malaysia, Don is currently pursuing his degree in Business Management with Kaplan Business School. Since arriving in Melbourne in 2017, Don has developed a strong advocate interest in initiating programs and events that benefit international students’ welfare and wellbeing across all levels. In 2020, Don joined The Huddle, a community organisation of North Melbourne Football Club, as the International student Liaison Officer. Within his role, Don works to strengthen aid and connect essential local services to international students living in the Wyndham municipality, especially due to the impacts of the pandemic.

On behalf of the City of Melbourne…

Gary Lee
International Education Project Coordinator, City of Melbourne
Gary is a passionate advocate for international education who has worked on many award-winning projects and programs including the Melbourne International Student Conference since its inception. In January 2016, Gary was recognised by the Australia Day Council as the ‘New Australian of the Year’ for his contributions in empowering culturally and linguistically diverse communities. In 2018, he was the recipient of the prestigious IEAA ‘Distinguished Contribution to International Education’ award.

Joanne Holl
Community Activation and Engagement Project Officer – International Students, City of Melbourne
Joanne is passionate about events, international students and volunteering, especially when all three come together! At City of Melbourne she is responsible for developing innovative projects that enhance opportunities for international students living, working and studying in the City of Melbourne. Originally from Aotearoa, New Zealand, Joanne has also lived and studied in France.

Now meet the leaders of this year’s Melbourne International Student Conference…

Akihiro Ratnayake
Akihiro is an enthusiastic professional exploring the sustainability sphere. He is currently pursuing a second Master’s degree in Environments and Sustainability, having completed a Bachelor of Commerce and Master of Global Business. He strongly embodies the values of diversity, authenticity and respect, whilst discovering and embracing his journey in Australia. Akihiro is committed to empowering eco-warriors of tomorrow to ensure an inclusive, safe and sustainable future.

Chenxi (Charlie) Ye
Chenxi is a data analyst and international student pursuing his Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Melbourne. Having earned the Leaders in Communities Award from the university, he is passionate about the future of technology and helping international student communities. He strives to use his insights and skills for social and volunteering opportunities while developing an analytical career to make an impact on our lives.

Devin Nanayakkara
Devin is both a proactive data scientist and dedicated volunteer. Having earned his Master’s degree in Engineering from Imperial College London, he entered the I.T. world to explore a passion for problem-solving and AI. Devin is on a mission to apply technology for positive social impact.

Eugene Tan
Eugene is a driven individual exploring food insecurity initiatives to increase awareness of pandemic-induced hunger, via co-founding his start-up FoodFinderAu. He is a Singaporean citizen that has lived abroad and studied in various international schools, where he learned the value of cultivating strong bonds with individuals from all walks of life. His mission is to improve the lives of international students by supporting their journeys and helping them to navigate the ambitious and challenging environments that Australia presents.

Gaurab Gurung
Gaurab is a social worker currently working as an NDIS Local Area Coordinator, in addition to volunteering as a Multicultural Ambassador for Mental Health at the Mental Health Foundation Australia (MHFA) and as the Vice President of the International Nepali Students Association (INSA). A recent graduate of a Master of Social Work, he is curiously passionate about making an impact and advocates for equality and justice.

Jayden (Chenglong) Huang
A self-motivated, personable and results-driven individual, Jayden is passionate about leading others. He is currently working and volunteering in several positions including within an NGO, community projects, a commercial company, and government. Jayden believes leadership is a service. He is passionate about working on community projects that can truly help others and produce a social impact. Jayden’s long-term aspirations include helping more students in improving their leadership skills.

Junyi Zhao
Although Junyi has a myopic eye, he is a visionary deep inside his heart. He is a global citizen and student leader as well as being a DJ who is passionate about empowerment in international education. Junyi enthusiastically dedicates himself to mentoring, leading and supporting international students along with various stakeholders. He truly understands the importance of cultural diversity and equity, including through the inspiration of music and photography. Junyi was an accounting graduate but looks forward to pursuing another degree in the health field.

Kgomotsego Mooketsi
Kgomotsego is an experienced banker-cum-regulatory compliance officer. She has an undergraduate degree in accounting and is now about to complete her Master’s in Regulation and Compliance at Monash University. She loves teamwork and is quite the systemic thinker. Kgomotsego is a member of multiple international student clubs at her university with the aim of meeting and connecting with different people.

Khuong Nguyen
Khuong is a friendly and passionate surveyor with a love for volunteering. He is in his final year of a Bachelor of Applied Science (Surveying) [Honours] degree at RMIT University, and has surveyed many of Victoria’s major projects. Khuong vouches for giving back to his community that has supported his journey and supporting those who are in need.

Kimberly Mitchiko Clemencio
Kimberly is working as a consular officer at the Philippine Consulate General in Melbourne, particularly supporting nationals. She is also a dedicated Study Melbourne ambassador advocating for international students. Whilst juggling her career and passions, Kimberly is also a contributing writer at The Philippine Times (Australia), mainly writing articles related to international student news.
In December 2020, Kimberly won the prestigious Victorian International Student of the Year Award (VET Category) awarded by the Victorian government. Kimberly aspires to continue working in public service.
Prerit R.
Prerit is a data analyst and a recent Master of Information Systems international graduate. He is passionate about using data-driven approaches to transform data into powerful stories, and is committed to using these stories to spread positivity and make this world a better place to live in. In his spare time, he enjoys making fondues, writing poetry, and reading non-fiction books on his Kindle.

Seng Doi
Seng is a passionate educator and art enthusiast who is pursuing a career in information technology to make a positive impact in society. She finds inspiration from nature in her photography, travelling and writing. Send believes in giving back to the community by volunteering and sharing her expertise with others.

Shina Shrestha
Shina is an experienced development practitioner who is currently studying a Master of International Development Practice at Monash University. Reflective with a commitment to excellence, and highly passionate about equal access and opportunities to earn an education for all, she has worked for more than 7 years in the space of education management (particularly in vulnerable communities). Her mission is to reduce educational and social inequality through youth empowerment and engagement.

Sowmiya Selvakumaraswamy
Sowmiya is a recent graduate from RMIT University with a Master in Design Innovation and Technology. As an experienced virtual reality developer and tech enthusiast, she is passionate about bringing technology and design together. Sowmiya’s mission in life is to stand up against discrimination in any form.

Wan Ying Ng
Wan is a recent Accounting (Honours) graduate and a dedicated finance officer. She provides finance support to consultants that work on transformational projects in fields such as education, human services and health. In her spare time, she enjoys creative writing and equity research.

A special thank you to Ritika Saxena for assisting with this article.

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