Meet the Victorian International Education Award Finalists – Research

The Victorian International Education Awards (VIEA) recognises outstanding achievement and excellence in international education in Victoria.

These prestigious awards recognise and celebrate leaders in Victoria’s international education sector and the outstanding achievements of international students.

We are pleased to profile our four finalists in the category of Vocational Education and Training. You can check out the finalists for English Language Training here, Vocational Education and Training here and Higher Education here.

Winners of the student awards will be announced on 9 September in Melbourne, Victoria where they will be awarded a scholarship of up to $10,000 for study related expenses at a Victorian educational institution.

Mrs Ashrafalsadat Hosseini, Iran

Ashrafalsadat’s PhD in Mental Health at the University of Melbourne connects her to community projects with migrants and refugee groups. She volunteers for a variety of community initiatives including assisting the Victorian Police Academy with cultural exchanges, mentoring in her university’s Women’s Mentoring Network and working with migrants and refugee groups.  “My volunteer work has contributed to a deep understanding as an international student of our multicultural society, what I call “the rainbow culture”, and to better understand factors that impact on individuals’ mental health and wellbeing.”Ashrafalsadat believes these experiences will enrich her PhD findings on resilience programs to address migration-related distress for Iranian and other immigrants and refugees settling in Australia. She is also a Community Mental Health Visitor and Independent Third Person with the Office of the Public Advocate.

Mr Bartlomiej Kolodziejczyk, Poland

While undertaking his doctorate in Engineering at Monash University, Bartlomiej has presented his research at international conferences and established the International Association for Exchange of Students for Technical Experience Australia Ltd—part of a worldwide network allowing students from Australian universities to participate in European internships. He has also been an extra in iconic Australian television productions, including ‘Winners & Losers’, and ‘Neighbours’, describing the experience as helping to develop his interpersonal skills as well as being a lot of fun. “Prior to coming to Victoria I have studied in several different places including my home country—Poland, Iceland and Spain. I can frankly say that so far the best and most developing experience I have had has been here in Melbourne.”

Mr Arjun Rajkhowa, India

Working as a StudentLearning Advisor during his doctorate in Journalism and Strategic Communications unit at La Trobe University has given Arjun the opportunity to be part of a vibrant student community. He is actively involved in the art, culture, politics and health sectors of Melbourne’s community, and is a regular programmer on community radio.I have met scores of students, learnt about their journeys, goals and aspirations and have helped them improve and enhance their academic performance,Arjun says of his experiences studying in Melbourne. “Many people look to the US for higher research degrees but there are great opportunities here. This has been a transformative experience for me, both academically as well as socially.”

Ms Feifei Hu, China

Feifei was drawn to a doctorate in health and nutrition at Deakin University after completing her undergraduate studies in the United States and her professor recommending Melbourne as her next stop. On arrival, Feifei quickly realised how much the city had to offer. “Melbourne has an incredible blend of a natural and corporate city lifestyles. I enjoy bushwalking, going out in the city, and I really love Australian parrots! My advice to anyone coming here to study is to hang out with native English speakers and take every opportunity to learn.” Feifei is now involved with VicICT for Women and helps connect women in IT with businesses to promote the benefits of hiring women in regional and metropolitan areas.

Mr Matteo Dutto, Italy

Developing lasting social and cultural policies in Australia has been a passion for Matteo during his 15 months of study at Monash University. His PhD research in film studies examines Indigenous communities and cross-cultural storytelling. He credits his work as a Content Writer at Monash University for helping him connect to a larger audience. “Undertaking a PhD abroad can sometimes feel like a daunting and alienating experience for many international students, but getting involved with the local community, inside and outside of the academy, is a great way to establish new roots and to find a renewed motivation to achieve the goals we set for ourselves as researchers and community members.”


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