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MISC Recap: Essential Guide To Networking

Divyangana Sharma

Fri Jul 22 2022


As we emerged from Melbourne’s numerous lockdowns, it was essential to bring back the regular face-to-face events.

On the breezy evening of 22nd June, international students came together at The Couch International to celebrate the Melbourne International Student Conference (MISC) graduates and learn the essential skills for networking effectively.

The event, organised by Meld Community, was supported by the City of Melbourne and held at The Couch – International Student Center.

The evening started with MC Jayden Huang welcoming newly arrived and current international students. After two years of zoom meetings, meeting fellow international students was a welcomed opportunity.

Jayden Huang as the MC of the event. Photo by Yuchen Liu

After a warm welcome, Jayden invited Counselor Griffith and Councilor Le Liu to show their support for international students. Councillors recognised the importance of international students in the community and acknowledged the hard work of students who participated in the MISC program.

The event then focused on the highlights of the 2021 MISC. As the conference was held online, the event allowed the celebration of the graduates with a certificate ceremony.

Jayden invited Seng Doi, a fellow graduate of the MISC program, to shed some light on students’ lives beyond MISC.

“Thinking back, it’s been quite a while since we finished our program, but now we are finally getting a chance to celebrate in person”, said Seng.

Graduates of the MISC program 2021. Photo by Yuchen Liu

Out of 15 graduates of MISC, some are still in Melbourne (out of them, five were able to attend the event), some moved interstate, and some took the opportunity to move to their home countries to follow their passion.

Ritika Saxena, the vice president of Meld Community and one of the organisers of the MISC program, reflected on her own experience and the importance of MISC.

“The thought behind this leadership program comes from my own experience. I participated in this program in 2017, and it changed my life. I learned skills that I didn’t learn in my course and met people from different communities who were passionate about making a change.”

Ritika Saxena congratulates the MISC graduates. Photo by Yuchen Liu

MISC 2021 focused on “reflect, redefine, response”, a year where the focus was to re-evaluate how we work towards our goals and careers.

Emerging from a post-covid world, we have witnessed many changes and adapted to those changes when necessary. However, many international students started their journeys during the pandemic, and concepts like networking remained foreign.

The city of Melbourne Education and Innovation lead Councillor Le Liu reflected on his experiences. “When I went into work, I realised that I needed to know the football teams and the best coffee bars”, he said.

The crowd at The Couch was then joined by Delwin Keasberry, a former international student, three-time TEDx speaker and writer. In his workshop, Delwin guided attendees through the dos and don’ts of networking and what networking might look like in the post-covid era.

Delwin Keasberry interacting with the crowd at the workshop. Photo by Yuchen Liu

Before diving deep into the seminar, Delwin helped the crowd self-reflect on their visions and the actions they could take to solve the problems.

Delwin explained how we often rush into networking events without filtering out our goals. Taking your time, understanding the crowd and preparing your pitch is essential. Delwin added that we often end up sticking to people we know and spend the event in the comfort of our own. It is also necessary not to seek solace in an event but to look out for people that can build meaningful connections.

Recently arrived patisserie student Vanessa never really had the opportunity to ‘network’. Vanessa explained how she never really attended the workshops and events that would help her understand networking.

“I don’t really know what networking is; all I know is it is about making connections. I was interested to learn more about it that’s why I decided to attend this event”

“I think it’s vital to network as an international student. I feel that you really have to reach out to find your community, especially when you are new to the country,” said Vanessa.

International students often do not entertain the idea of networking, thinking that it will not help them. For Sowmiya Selvakumaraswamy, a recent graduate of Masters in Design and Innovation Technology, networking did not come easy.

“I was afraid of networking my whole life. I mean, you’re in a new place and a new culture. So how do you do it? People say good grades matter, but I don’t think that’s the case. I got my dream job because of networking.”

While the pandemic might not have changed the basic rules of networking, it undoubtedly impacted its approach.

“People these days prefer online networking. Before the pandemic, it could have easily been missed if you were to message someone on LinkedIn. But now people value the online connections,” Sowmiya added.

Sowmiya expressed how things have changed if we compare the pre and post-pandemic world, “Changing over from online networking wasn’t easy. I was hesitant to attend the event, but I am so glad I came and met some wonderful people. Thanks to Meld Community for organising this event.”

You can check out upcoming events for international students by following Meld Community on social media and subscribing to the City of Melbourne newsletter.