The Victorian International Education Awards are an initiative of the Victorian Government to support the international education sector, promote best practice in the sector and raise awareness of its benefits to the broader community.

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

We are excited the introduce the 18 finalists for the Victorian International Education Awards for 2018.

International Student of the Year – English Language Training | International Student of the Year – VET | International Student of the Year – Higher Education | International Student of the Year – Research | International Student of the Year – Regional International Alumnus of the Year | Victorian Student of the Year – Internationalisation | Provider categories and finalists

International Student of the Year – English Language Training

Jose Gil Alonso

"I have had some troubles in my life and this type of achievement is very important to me. It provides me with so much motivation in the work I do."

Jose Gil Alonsa

Colombia,  Greenwich College

Kezhan Zhang

"I didn’t expect an award because I know there are lots of amazing, brilliant international students trying to apply for it, but I got in and I was thinking 'I’m really lucky'."

Kezhan Zhang

China, The University of Melbourne

Monica Rodriguez

"Australia and the state of Victoria have a lot of opportunities for everyone in the world, so you need to make the decision to come here and start this beautiful adventure."

Monica Rodriguez

Colombia, Swinburne University of Technology


International Student of the Year – VET

Daniel De Jesus

"The main reason I’m so passionate about civil engineering is that I come from a country with a lack of infrastructure. My education here means I can go back and give to my country to make it better."

Daniel de Jesus

Timor Leste, RMIT University

Ka Ho (Dereck) Lee

“I really want to encourage other international students to volunteer in the community because through volunteering we can communicate and learn from what other people think.”

Ko Ho (Dereck) Lee

Hong Kong, China    Holmesglen Institute

Natalia Palacio Vasquez

“When I found out that I was one of the finalists, I felt very grateful because it’s been a long process for me to get involved in the community, not only studying, but also doing volunteer work.”

Natalia Vasquez

Colombia, Melbourne Polytechnic


International Student of the Year – Higher Education

Nguyen Thanh (Daniel) Dat

"What you receive during your learning journey is not about the technical knowledge or the professional development, it’s about the care and the being trusted by your local community."

Dat Nguyen

Vietnam, Deakin University

Oanh Thi Kim (Olena) Nguyen

“I’m so proud of myself and I can tell my parents that they can be proud of me for this achievement."

Oahn (Olena) Thi Kim Nguyen

Vietnam,  Victoria University

Shirley Chai Ring Boon

"I’ve learnt a lot of skills while I have been here in terms of managing collective impacts projects, because that’s what I’m really passionate about."

Shirley Boon

Malaysia, CQ University


International Student of the Year – Research

Herfina Nababan

“Melbourne is a very progressive city, a progressive place, and the people have interesting ideas, perspectives, and ways of living.”

Herfina Yohanna

Indonesia, The University of Melbourne


Julie Gaburro

“Being a finalist in this award really makes you realise what you have achieved and it feels very good.”

Julie Gaburro

France, Deakin University

Wilson Castillo

“The one thing I was looking for when coming overseas to study my post-graduate training was academic excellence. Melbourne was the best choice with the University of Melbourne constantly on top. And the second thing I was looking for was quality of life. If I was to be studying for four years, I really wanted to choose a city where I can have a study and life balance, so that’s why I came to Melbourne.”

Wilson Tandazo

Ecuador, The University of Melbourne


International Student of the Year – Regional

Huy Quoc Tran

"I just think we all need to embrace diversity. Let’s just celebrate it. Don’t take it for granted, because it’s such a great thing."

Huy Quoc Tran

Vietnam, La Trobe University

Masoud Abdi

“I really love the idea that apart from scientific achievements, you have a life outside your study and your work. This kind of award gives me that guarantee that I have achieved what I wanted.”

Masoud Abdi

Iran, Deakin University

Tejas Deshmukh

“I’ve had multiple hats on during my journey in Australia and I’ve experienced a few things that make me want to give back to the international student community. It’s really important for a new student who’s coming in to know how the journey is and I always like to share my advice on that.”

Tejas Vikas Deshmukh

India, La Trobe University


International Alumnus of the Year

Iyiade (Hybee) Aibinuomo

“I’ve come here with little to nothing, and now I have a career. How? With the support I got from the community, with the opportunity for me to work even as a student and I am able to meet my own needs by myself.”

Iyiade (Hybee) Aibinuomo

Nigeria, Holmesglen Institute

Ryan Macabenta

“I’m so happy. There are so many international students here and being able to represent my country, the Philippines, and at the same time represent JMC Academy is such a great honor.”

Ryan Macabenta

Philippines, Institution of JMC Academy


Victorian Student of the Year – Internationalisation

Mauricio Latino

“It’s encouraging to everyone to come here and study and also get involved in the community which is awesome. I find the whole experience very good.”

Mauricio Latino

Argentina, Deakin University

Provider categories

Excellence in International Education - English Language Training

Acknowledges an English language provider that has demonstrated outstanding achievement in all aspects of delivery of an English language program experience to international students.

  • Deakin University English Language Institute
  • Impact English College

Excellence in International Education - Private Education and Training

Acknowledges a Victorian Registered Training Organisation that has demonstrated outstanding achievement in all aspects of the delivery of a private RTO experience to international students.

  • Academia International
  • Health Careers International

Excellence in International Education – TAFE

Acknowledges a Victorian TAFE provider that has demonstrated outstanding achievement in all aspects of the delivery of a TAFE experience to international students.

  • Holmesglen Institute
  • The Gordon Institute
  • William Angliss Institute

Excellence in International Education – University

Acknowledges a Victorian university that has demonstrated outstanding achievement in all aspects of the delivery of a university experience to international students.

  • Deakin University
  • Victoria University - Victoria University’s Transformational First Year Model

Excellence in International Student Experience

Acknowledges a Victorian education provider, business or not-for-profit that has demonstrated outstanding achievement in enhancing the experience of international students beyond academic support or that provide opportunities for broader awareness of and engagement with the Victorian community.

  • Discover English - Rainbow Connections Program
  • Meld Community

Excellence in International Student Employability and Career Development

Acknowledges the Victorian education provider, business or not-for-profit that has demonstrated excellence or innovation in employability and careers services to international students.

  • Deakin University  Australia-India Business Forum
  • RMIT Training 
  • William Angliss Institute Careers & Employment service

Excellence in Innovation in Partnership and International Engagement

Acknowledges a Victorian education provider that has demonstrated outstanding achievement in collaborative international partnerships.

  • Deakin University -  India Research Initiative
  • RMIT University - Engagement Across India
  • Monash University  - Australia – Indonesia Centre