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Aus: Victoria celebrates top int’l students

A human rights activist and cancer researcher, an entrepreneur helping connect international students with reliable service providers, and a diversity researcher, were among the winners of the 2019 Victorian International Education Awards.

Photo: Study Melbourne

“Victoria is a hub for multiculturalism“

Recognising international students who have excelled in their studies and in contributing to the broader community, the seventh awards saw winners from the Philippines, Colombia, India, China and Singapore.

“This year’s award winners have made a tremendous contribution to the community”

“Victoria’s international education sector is flourishing its more than 227,000 students from 170 countries choosing to study here,” said minister for jobs, innovation and trade Martin Pakula.

“This year’s award winners have made a tremendous contribution to the community beyond their own study and research efforts, and it’s great that they are getting the recognition they deserve.”

Malaysian Belle Lim, currently undertaking a PhD in breast cancer research at Monash University, received both the research award and overall premier’s award for her work at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and activism for human rights.

Lim was also the inaugural Women’s Office for the Council of International Students Australia and founder of ChangemakHER, which conducts research on genetic predispositions for breast cancer.

“Moving to Australia for my higher education is the most life-changing decision I have ever made,” she said.

“I feel extremely fortunate to spend my most transformative years here in Victoria. While adjusting to a new environment, and experiencing cultural transition are challenging at times, they brought me fresh perspectives that resulted in some tremendous self-growth.”

Other winners included alumnus winner Singaporean Heng Hao Teo also from Monash, who was recognised for his online platform, iDibs, to help international students connect with reliable services such as migration, cleaning and removalists.

University of Melbourne PhD student Ravini Abeywickrama, who grew up in both Sri Lanka and Australia, received the internationalisation award for her research into people from diverse backgrounds and extensive volunteering.

“Victoria is a hub for multiculturalism – there is no other diverse city like Melbourne,” she said.

International education is Victoria’s largest services expert, generating $11.8 billion.

2019 winners:

  • Premier’s Award – Belle Lim, Malaysia
  • English Language Training – Ana Llorente, Colombia
  • Vocational Education and Training – Christian Laban, Philippines
  • Higher Education – Susan Saldana, India
  • Research – Belle Lim, Malaysia
  • Regional – Luocheng (Rod) Zhang, China
  • Internationalisation – Ravini Abeywickrama, Australia
  • Alumnus – Heng Hao Teo, Singapore

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