NISA: I’m running for International Student Director with Global and I’m studying economics and finance. I’m in my second semester of my second year, and I’m not aligned with any political party.
Cormac: Why are you running for Guild?
NISA: Global first got started out by Sue, who is the Vice President. At the beginning of the year she started this part she was actually trying to find a suitable ISS director. And she approached me , because I was in the ISS committee in semester one. I had to think about it but I was then encouraged by Nevin, by Shaun, who was previously the ISS director, by Conrad, to go for it. As an international student, I know what needs to be done and the loopholes in the current system.
Cormac: Can your run us through what it’s like to be a international student at UWA?
NISA: My vision is ISS is would be to improve the welfare, employability, education and representation of international students and exchanges in UWA. We pay quite a lot for our degree, $100 000 for a degree, and I really believe that the level and standards of our education and employability should improve. For instance, when I went for my first Career Fair, I was quite excited. But out of the 30 companies, only 3 were open to hiring international students and that quite dampened my confidence. So what I plan to do for international students is organise international career fairs and that will mean opportunities in Perth, in Australia, and for other countries as well. And also organise master classes for soft skills, such as resume, CV making.
Cormac: So do you think International Students don’t get those sort of soft skills?
NISA: Maybe because of the language barrier as well, and confidence.
Cormac: What do you think are the big concerns next to employability, education standards?
NISA: Migration as well. Huge bulk of us come with the intention of staying here, and if they don’t have a migration agent they’ll know nothing about coming to Australia and getting working visas. Produce information and get migration agents to come to UWA, to have panel talks, hold to improve the census of how to become a citizen.
Cormac: One of your policies mentions racism on campus. The disconnect between international and domestic students. You talked about having a lot more festivals and raising awareness. Do you want to walk us through how these things will foster a better atmosphere for these students?
NISA: Basically, when I started off my idea for festivals and events, it came from that sense of belonging. As international students, when you come to a new country, sometimes there’s a disconnect, and it’d be nice to have a sense of belonging on campus and to be acknowledged in a sense. For instance, one of my ideas was with the Chinese New Year. I know the Chinese New Year starts in February, but maybe eid, or holi, so we can have festivals in UWA and decorate the Guild village with those decorations. Just as a shout out to all those international students out there that we care, and your festivals mean a lot to us as well. At the same time, domestic students will be able to know that there’s so many festivals and events going on.
Cormac: You also mentioned the idea of an international Australia mentorship program that expands on a uni mentor. Can you explain how that would work?
NISA: The idea first came from my friend Claira, who had this project in Uni Hall. What she did was the Australian-Chinese mentorship program. Freshers would come to uni, and they’d have international mentor and one Australian mentor. The role of the international mentor was to provide support if he or she doesn’t know when to go when she’s sick, or what can we do have there’s problems with the VISA. The idea of the Australian mentor is to help integrate them into the community. Their roles as mentors will be as a role model to the students. It was really successful in Uni Hall and extend it into the entire university, and not only the Chinese students, but the whole of international students.
Cormac: Did these Australian students helping out where they people with Chinese speaking ability?
NISA: For us, we have electives in Chinese, in German, so I was hoping to prevent these language barriers so I was hoping to get people from these language classes involved.
Cormac: A lot of international students, I know at least, they spend a lot of time with other international students and don’t really engage with campus culture. How can we make that link with those mentors you were talking about, to get international students involved with campus culture that domestic students enjoy every day?
NISA: What the culture clubs are doing is that they’re really great at organising events for their own communities, but what I plan to do it have a better cohesion for all the culture clubs. Have more events where they can invite they own communities, and they will mix and mingle. Such as sporting events, especially soccer, it’s called the witches hat tournament, where international and Australian students will come aboard. They’ll be randomised into random groups and they will be together with other international students and domestic students. Sporting events are great as they’re easy and super casual.
Cormac: What do you think people should talk from you?
NISA: Global is for international students by international students, and we’re 18 woman strong, and we know what you want and what you need. We’ve spoke to several key members of the community so we kind of know what we want to go for and we’ve got the policies in place. If you value you’re representation, come vote for Global, come vote for Nisa!