Two ACU students have learnt how important one voice can be at the Council of International Students Australia (CISA) National Conference.
Held in Canberra, the CISA National Conference hosted students from all over the country.
The 7th annual conference was themed ‘Students at the Heart of Best Practices’ and discussions were based on how to engage international student community on best practices.
The conference brought together international students and CISA’S partners, sponsors, education providers, governments and businesses ‘as one’.
Representing ACU, Consolata Muther attended the two-day pre-conference and was then joined by Peter Liu for the two day conference that followed.
In the pre-conference, international students heard from Aboriginal Elders and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students where cultural awareness and sensitivity was discussed.
She said she learnt a lot from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island student speakers who talked about their experiences.
Students were grouped into postgraduate, undergraduate and TAFE students on the second day to discuss state-based issues and challenges.
For the conference, sessions were held throughout the two days hosted by a range of industries and sectors – from politicians and StudyNSW to the police force.
Consolata and Peter said the speech from NSW Police’s Lieutenant Gavin was informative and encouraging.
“We learnt a lot about team building and he encouraged international students to attend the NSW Police sporting events in order to foster better relationships and build the students confidence around police officers.”
On the final day of the conference, students heard from the Fair Work Ombudsman where work rights were discussed as well as the ACT Government’s Innovate Canberra program.
The students learnt of a platform created for international students by the ACU Government to share their creative ideas with the world.
A highlight for Consolata was learning about the process of electing the new CISA executive team and being a part of ensuring that equality and diversity were implemented.
“An all-men executive team was elected so we got together and drafted a letter to address this and create a 12th position of National Women’s Officer to be filled by a woman to ensure equality,” Consolata said.
The students gave the letter to the newly-elected president who asked women interested in this position to nominate themselves at the gala dinner and Consolata says being a part of equality in action was a high point in the conference for her.
Peter says it is important that international students know that bodies like CISA exist.
“Every voice matters. If every student and university work together, we can make a difference,” he said.
“A lot of international students do not realise how important their individual voice is and I really learnt that every voice matters at this conference.”
Consolata agreed and said the conference taught her that when students work together they can make a difference.
“CISA speaks for international students and what we can do is speak to these organisations to help make a positive impact on student life. It really was an inspiring experience.”