Congratulations to our 2023 finalists!

The Victorian International Education Awards recognise and showcase the exceptional Victorian international students and alumni in our community, and education providers who champion international education in Victoria and across the globe.

Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony held on Thursday 26 October.

For more information on the Victorian International Education Awards read the Terms and Conditions.

Student Award Finalists

International Student of the Year – English Language Training

Mihua Wei (China)
ELICOS, Australian Catholic University (Melbourne Campus)

Throughout her time in Australia, Mihua has actively engaged with the community. As an Inclusive Support Educator, she provided compassionate care to children with special needs. She has also been active in an English club and by posting about it on social media, she has attracted others to the club.

Acknowledging the challenges that international students often encounter, Mihua has offered practical guidance on job searching, apartment hunting, and adjusting to Australian life. She has successfully referred several international students to job opportunities, empowering them to overcome initial hurdles.

Mihua promotes Melbourne as a place that is full of opportunities that have helped her on her journey and has engaged with teachers, classmates, and fellow volunteers, building her networks and adapting to life here.

John Wilson Carvajal Ruiz (Colombia)
General English, Turner English College

John came to Melbourne in 2022 to study English and noticed the lack of awareness among Spanish-speaking international students about their rights and available services. To address this, he created a social media community to give students valuable information and support. Through his law study John had gained important insights int legal matters which he knew could assist and protect the Spanish-speaking student community in Australia.

In addition to his dedication to this community, John cherishes his passion for education and empowerment. He emphasises that Victoria embraces education as the bedrock of society. He encourages international students to pursue their dreams and not to hesitate to seek support from each other. John envisions expanding his advocacy efforts to further enhance the welfare and success of his fellow international students.

Alejandra Tuberquia (Colombia)
General English, Nova institute

Alejandra came to Melbourne in 2022 to pursue her passion for photography and film. She explored museums and libraries, worked in lead generation for a company reducing household energy consumption as well as at a bakery, and gained valuable experiences and connections along the way.

Her degree has equipped Alejandra with practical skills in photography and expanded her perspectives through hands-on learning. She now uses her knowledge to make a positive impact on Melbourne’s Colombian community.

Apart from photography, Alejandra enjoys sharing her photos on social media, helping others with their photography endeavours, and documenting their trips. She plans to use her experiences and education to develop programs for welfare and community back in Colombia.

International Student of the Year – Higher Education

Meantepy Hoeung (Cambodia)
Bachelor of Applied Public Health, Australian Catholic University

Meantepy embarked on a journey in 2018 as an international student at Holmesglen Institute, driven by a passion to serve the community through healthcare. Over five years, she has made significant contributions to both the Victorian and global communities.

Meantepy's commitment to community service took root early, initially as a Personal Care Assistant and later as an Assistant Nurse at St Vincent Public Hospital, where she actively participated in patient care during the pandemic. Her dedication to public health prompted her transition from nursing to a Bachelor of Applied Public Health, with engagements extending to LiverWELL, a non-profit organisation. Here, she volunteered and secured the role of a Community Educator, initiating crucial conversations about viral hepatitis in culturally diverse communities.

Currently working as a nurse at Ambulance Victoria, Meantepy's dedication to healthcare and public health has only grown stronger. Her upcoming role at The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, housing the World Health Organisation (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Viral Hepatitis, promises to elevate her contributions.

Kushal Singhal (India)
Master of Sustainability, Deakin University

It’s clear from the 250 hours of volunteering Kushal has completed since returning from India in 2022 that he is passionate about sustainability—the subject of his Masters degree —and helping the people in his community. 

His breadth of volunteer work is impressive, ranging from supporting the education of disadvantaged children by volunteering with the Smith Family and Around the Bay, to collecting surplus food from Prahran Market for SecondBite through the Rotary Club of Melbourne. His volunteer work with BYO Containers promotes the waste reduction movement and he has engaged in formal sessions with environment ministers on this cause.  

As a Study Melbourne Ambassador, Kushal participates in professional development events for international students. Even more recently, he launched Green Unity to provide international students with convenient access to nutritious and affordable food. 

Kushal praises Melbourne for its diversity, commitment to student support, and professional networking opportunities, which come together to provide an unparalleled education experience.

Rajdeep Kaur (India)
Bachelor of Cybersecurity, La Trobe University

Rajdeep was nervous to start a new student life in Melbourne when she first arrived, but now she has grown into a strong leader amongst her peers.  

She demonstrated leadership through her role as a student representative for the Student Advisory Group. In this role, she advocated for and was successful in having practical hacking and GitHub knowledge added to the cybersecurity degree at her university. This year, Rajdeep was also successful in fostering a sense of community among newly enrolled students as a SHE Peer Mentor and LaTrobe Student Leader.  

Melbourne and Victoria have provided Rajdeep with personal and academic growth, independence, and valuable connections. Through events like the Future Female Conference and Graduate STEM Women's Careers, she has developed a network of inspiring people and looks forward to carrying this over into her career in cybersecurity.

International Student of the Year – Research

Hsiao Wei 'Michelle' Chen (Taiwan)
PhD Design, RMIT University

Michelle left a career overseas in video game development to continue her studies with a PhD in Design at RMIT University. Her research now centres on using video games for mental health advocacy and awareness by co-designing these games and telling the stories of those who live with depression. The video games for her PhD research have gained global recognition, providing solace to those facing similar challenges.

Michelle has been actively involved in activities that ensure she is giving back to her community. She is involved in the RMIT Mates (now Kirrip) program as a mentor, and during the pandemic, she set up online game nights with other mentors and mentees to foster a stronger sense of community and mitigate the feeling of isolation among fellow students. She also volunteers with batyr Australia and RMIT Wellbeing.

Michelle hopes to build a startup that continues her research beyond graduation.

Jason Paolo Telles (Philippines)
Doctor of Philosophy, Monash University

Jason has contributed to the international student community through a range of roles and initiatives and has raised awareness about environmental issues through sports. He also participated in the "Towards an Inclusive Library Landscape" project, which focused on multilingualism in libraries.

Jason has a strong commitment to education and has taught media communications at Monash College and has been a teaching associate at Monash University, helping students excel through personalised guidance.

Drawing from his own experience as an international student, he has advocated Victoria's welcoming environment and exceptional education system and encourages prospective students to embrace cultural diversity, industry ties and personal growth opportunities.

Javiera Olivares-Rojas (Chile)
Doctor of Philosophy, Monash University

While studying her Doctor of Philosophy at Monash, Javiera has developed a strong commitment to the Victorian academic community. She has played an ongoing role with STEM Sisters, including as an ambassador, and has been actively involved in groups like Future Female and Gals en Australia.

Javiera participates in the Latin-American Network of Women in Conservation, and she will soon share her PhD research at the International Congress for Conservation Biology in Rwanda to contribute to discussions on conservation, policymaking, and gender equity.

Javiera is looking forward to making meaningful contributions, fostering connections and inspiring others in both the Victoria and globally.

International Student of the Year – Regional

Daniel Toritsegbogwa Onovo (Nigeria)
Master in Engineering Technology (Mechatronics and Industrial Automation), Federation University

Daniel Toritsegbogwa Onovo embarked on his academic journey in July 2022 upon arriving in Churchill, a regional community in Victoria. With readily available support systems to aid his transition to university life, he swiftly integrated into the local community.  

Daniel’s notable community involvements include working with Baw-Baw Shire Council to maintain natural landscapes and deliver various community-based services and working with the Victorian State Election as an Election Office Assistant. He actively participates in the Uniting Church in Churchill, engages in environmental activities with the Strzelecki Bushwalking club, and plays soccer for Churchill United FC.

Amidst his academic pursuits, community involvement and exploration of regional Victoria's landscapes, Daniel's experiences have shaped a dynamic and fulfilling journey. He advocates for the enriching experience of studying in Gippsland and highlights the multifaceted advantages it offers to international students.

Sarbjeet Singh (India)
Bachelor of Civil Engineering (HONOURS), Deakin University

Sarbjeet Singh is a dedicated advocate for community engagement and leadership and has left a lasting impact on both local and global communities. This is highlighted by his election to 'Campus Coordinator' for Deakin University Student Association. In this role, he organised inclusive events, such as Pride Week Celebrations, Harmony Week, and cultural festivals. His dedication to community service and outstanding efforts have also been recognised by Geelong City Council’s Geelong Youth Award in 2023.

Sarbjeet's leadership journey began in 2020 during his higher education years when his passion for leadership was ignited. He established study support groups and became a 'Student Mentor' and 'Success Coach', showcasing his commitment to mentorship. 

Serving as a Deakin University Ambassador, a Study Geelong ambassador and an Engineers Australia ambassador highlights his dedication to promoting education and professional development in Victoria.

Beyond academia, Sarbjeet wholly embraces Victoria's diverse cultural tapestry, scenic landscapes, and vibrant city life.

Deepak Surendhra Mallya (India)
PhD, Deakin University

Deepak began his journey in Melbourne with a passion for contributing to the welfare and support of the community. His dedication to providing safe drinking water to underprivileged areas and promoting water conservation fuels this passion.

Deepak’s expertise and commitment have led to recognition as one of the 20 young scientists in the Industry Mentoring Network in STEM (IMNIS) Catalyst 2023 by the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. He now actively contributes to the advancement of knowledge in the field as a peer reviewer for scientific journals.

Besides his academic achievements, Deepak serves as a Student Ambassador, fostering a welcoming environment for international students through Study Geelong and The International Student Lounge. His dedication to community and environment extends to involvement with organisations like Rotary, Lions Club, and Global Organisation for Divinity. Looking ahead, Deepak plans to continue his advocacy for sustainability, contribute to research in water treatment and make a positive impact on the community.

International Student of the Year – Vocational Education and Training

Thaqifatunnazurah Binte Abdul Aziz (Singapore)
Diploma in Health Science (Nursing stream), La Trobe College Australia

Thaqifatunnazurah came to Melbourne to study at La Trobe College Australia and actively participate in various college and community activities. She volunteered for school events, orientation, graduation, and multicultural celebrations, aiming to reduce anxiety for international students and promote inclusivity.

Thaqifatunnazurah gained valuable interpersonal and communication skills through her involvement in various events and community organizations. She actively engages with Aiysha Mosque, IISNA, and the Multi-Cultural Youth Centre, building rapport with the community and promoting multicultural inclusivity.

Thaqifatunnazurah is a member of the Student Representative Council and enjoys volunteering to help others in the community. She aims to send positive messages to young Muslim international women, encouraging them to study in Melbourne and assuring them of the welcoming and diverse environment.

Ralph Teodoro (Philippines)
Graduate Diploma of Management, Peach Institute

Since arriving in Victoria Ralph has become actively involved in advocating for policies and legislation to improve education, mental health frameworks, healthcare, and pandemic responses for rural and remote communities. He mentored fellow international students to achieve their goals and actively participated in various student leadership roles, community events, and healthcare initiatives.

Ralph's nursing degree allowed him to contribute to the frontline effort during the COVID-19 pandemic. He trained staff, educated communities on infection prevention, and provided care in various healthcare settings, including remote and rural communities. Ralph's leadership skills helped him educate personal care workers and enrolled nurses, promoting patient-centric care and community well-being.

Ralph has a passion for building a sense of community and fostering connections through cultural activities. He actively engages in numerous events and festivals in Victoria that promote cultural unity. He sings the praises of Melbourne as the cultural capital of Australia, and a place where he has felt very safe as a student.

Yuying 'Linda' Ding (China)
Advanced Diploma of Accounting, Sunraysia Institution of TAFE

Yuying arrived in Mildura partly by coincidence, but she quickly fell in love with the serenity of local life along the Murray. Yuying used her passion for photography to promote local restaurants and share all the things she loves about Mildura on social media platforms like Little Red Book, attracting tourists and increasing local revenue.

Yuying is studying Accounting which has equipped her with valuable knowledge and confidence. She has connected with local businesses to better understand their operational and sustainability issues. One way she uses this knowledge—along with her multilingual skills—is to help farmers hire casual fruit pickers to ease the labour shortages in their industry.

Yuying has been actively involved in community service, helping newly arrived international students settle into their study environment. She plans to continue exploring opportunities in the agricultural and food industry and encourages others to consider studying in Mildura at SuniTAFE.

International Alumnus of the Year

Abhishek Kansakar (Nepal)

Abhishek has had an impressive trajectory as an international student and now alumni in Melbourne. He moved to Australia at 17 to study a Bachelor of Commerce degree. He was awarded several scholarships, including the Tritecha Tangmathitham, and became the first Nepalese-born student to receive this award. He continued to pursue a Master of Finance degree, graduating with first class honours before being selected into the graduate program at FTI Consulting.

After winning the 2018 UniMelb Start-up Pitch Competition, Abhishek founded Electrify Infinite, an SaaS-based B2C application that aims to simplify access to electric vehicle (EV) charger stations, promoting EV adoption and contributing to Victoria's sustainable transportation objectives. Recognized by the Study Melbourne Future Founders Venture Scholarship, Abhishek secured $10,000 in equity-free seed funding for his venture.

As a first-generation university attendee, Abishek never thought of being an international student as a limitation but as a superpower. Abhishek advocates for Victoria’s blend of education, culture, lifestyle, and opportunities and invites aspiring students to experience the magic of the state.

Sakeela Mohamed Razeek (Singapore)

Sakeela is an International Student Mental Health Peer Worker at La Trobe University – Bundoora, Bendigo and City campuses. She completed her Bachelor of Nursing at LaTrobe with strong academic performance which inspired her to continue her work there. She has since participated in the La Trobe Emerging Leader program and participated in the Career Ready Advantage Award.

In her role as Mental Health Peer Worker, Sakeela engages in one-on-one interactions with international students, offering a safe space for discussing mental health concerns and providing guidance. She regularily organises stress-relief events tailored to international students, facilitating relaxation, socialisation, and community building.

Through Sakeela’s efforts in various events and promoting mental health programs, she has raised awareness about health and well-being services and established connections within the community. She is now working towards becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner and is dedicated to mental health, leadership, and creating connections as well as highlighting the invaluable opportunities available to international students in Victoria.

Muhammad Farriz Roslan (Singapore)

Farriz’s journey is marked by his dedication to positive change and innovative thinking. Graduating with a Bachelor of Law degree from Victoria University, he went on to become a Project Coordinator for the university and introduced a new project management framework, receiving recognition for his entrepreneurial mindset. Notably, he spearheaded initiatives addressing mental health challenges among international students, significantly boosting their satisfaction through comprehensive strategies and resources.

Farriz has been very active in promoting Victoria University as a fantastic place for international students. He created the International Student Welcome video in 2022, led the successful implementation of the Inclusivity and Diversity project, and was a VU International Student Ambassador. As a Victoria University alumnus, he actively contributes to the growth of the student community through project creation, advising, and development.

Student award prizes

  • Award winners in each student category, with the exception of the International Alumnus of the Year, will be awarded $6,000 each to support their studies.
  • Up to two runners-up per student category will be awarded $2,000 each.
  • All finalists and winners will receive a certificate of recognition.
  • The recipient of the ‘Premier’s Award – International Student of the Year’ will receive an additional $10,000 to support their studies.

For more information on the eligibility criteria view our Terms and Conditions.

Provider Award Finalists

Excellence in International Student Experience

Deakin University

Deakin University is proud to have an international student strategy that focuses on student (pre)engagement, induction, and holistic wellbeing. Through a suite of 3 integrated international student programs, they support students throughout their study journey.

Impact English College

Impact English College structure their offering so that their international students can have the complete Aussie experience and engage with the Victorian community. Through weekly excursions and special activities, students get to explore Melbourne and beyond.

Melbourne Polytechnic

With a focus on the 'Student Journey', Melbourne Polytechnic enhances the experience of their international students through a series of initiatives. They engage and assist students at every stage of their journey, from before they leave their home country until their graduation.

RMIT University

RMIT’s methodology for designing programs for international students uses data-driven, student-centric, and strengths-based approaches to enhance wellbeing, social connections, sense of belonging, and employability.

Excellence in International Education – TAFE

Melbourne Polytechnic

Melbourne Polytechnic is an experienced vocational training provider in the Victorian international education sector. Melbourne Polytechnic’s dedicated Partnerships, Development and Operations teams work together to ensure the best standard of education and experience for their international students.

Excellence in International Education – Private Education and Training

Academia International

Academia International has been delivering education in skill shortage areas to both international and domestic students since 2005. They maintain a diverse student population with over 50 nationalities represented at any given time. They prioritize face-to-face delivery and provide integrated work placements to enhance students' learning experiences.

Institute of Health and Nursing Australia

Institute of Health and Nursing Australia is a healthcare education and training provider in Australia, with a focus on empowering students to become skilled and compassionate healthcare professionals. They offer tailored support services, flexible delivery formats, scholarships, and financial assistance to international students to ensure a supportive and enriching learning experience.

Excellence in International Education – English Language Training

English Unlimited

English Unlimited focuses on delivering education to international students through a student-centred learning approach, engagement through innovation, and fostering cultural immersion. The institution aims to provide comprehensive and effective educational experiences tailored to individual students' needs and learning styles, with a strong emphasis on Australian content and cultural understanding.

Impact English College

Impact English boasts many unique offerings for their international students. Impact English College prioritises student welfare and mental health. Their dedicated Student Services Officers are responsible for counselling and supporting students in need.

Monash College Pty Ltd

Monash College's vision is to ensure all English language students complete their language program confidently and as citizens of a larger community. The college aims to equip students with the necessary linguistic, academic, and social skills to transition successfully into further education in Australia.

Outstanding EdTech Provider of the Year


Edalex Pty Ltd

Edalex’s products and solutions, such as openEQUELLA, Credentialate, and openRSD, benefit international students by enhancing the internationalization of education. These platforms facilitate electronic storage, management, and sharing of digital learning resources, increasing accessibility for learners, especially during remote and hybrid learning scenarios.


Quitch is a content-neutral gamified mobile learning platform that engaging learners through gamification. Quitch offers an innovative and gamified mobile platform that transforms educational experiences and has gained significant adoption across educational institutions, corporates, and professional associations.

InternMatch & MentorMatch

InternMatch & MentorMatch have dedicated the past 7 years and significant resources to develop software and programs aimed at improving graduate employment outcomes for international students. They provide employability skills, internship placement, and mentoring services to prepare international students for the workforce and connect them with the community.

Excellence in Innovation in Partnerships and International Engagement

Deakin University

Deakin University takes pride in its ongoing international partnerships with universities, research institutions, and businesses in 57 countries. These partnerships have paved the way for International Branch Campuses to be opened in India and Indonesia in 2024.

Melbourne Polytechnic

Melbourne Polytechnic has a strong presence in transnational education, with quality programs in partnership with fifteen institutions across Asia and a growing diversity of countries and delivery models.

Bendigo TAFE and Kangan Institute

Kangan Institute has collaborated with the Government of Gujarat and Maruti Suzuki to establish India's first International Automobile Centre of Excellence. The aim is to address challenges faced by India's automotive industry, such as fragmented capability and a demand for skilled mechanical personnel.


Edvantage Institute Australia

Edvantage Institute Australia aims to enhance graduate employability and provide a pathway to Australian courses for Chinese tertiary students through an internationalised education experience. The program incorporates Australian curriculum, assessment, and pedagogy into Chinese degree and diploma units of study, addressing what employers seek in new Chinese graduates in international settings.

Excellence in International Student Employability and Career Development

Department of Business and Law, Swinburne College

The Department of Business and Law at Swinburne College aims to enhance the employability of international students by providing them with practical experiences and essential career skills through extracurricular engagement, career development certificates, and tailored resources.

RMIT University

RMIT enhances the employability and career development of their international students through a series of strategic initiatives that equip students with the skills, confidence, and professional networks for success.

Deakin University

Deakin University and the Australian Computer Society have collaborated on the Supported Student Membership initiative to enhance the employability and career development of ICT international students in Victoria.

International Student Employer of the Year

KPMG Australia

KPMG's talent attraction strategy aims to interact with international candidates meaningfully and personally. They focus on engaging with international students through virtual and in-person events, such as on-campus panels and virtual careers fairs.

Swisse Wellness Pty Ltd

Swisse Wellness runs a 12-month internship program that hires international students and graduates across various work areas. They actively promote the program at university campus career fairs, online job boards, and alumni programs to attract talent from a diverse talent pool.


Edified has joined Victoria's Commitment to Action and publicly promotes this commitment to attract talented international student graduates. The institution also fosters a positive organisational culture, offers flexibility in hours and locations, funds courses for international graduates, and provides opportunities for growth and variety in their work.

Provider award prizes

Award winners are awarded with a trophy and provided with an email signature banner, to include on all their emails promoting that they are a winner in the Victorian International Education Awards.

The recipient of the Premier’s Award – International Provider of the Year will receive a trophy and will be recognised as the most outstanding Provider of this Year.

Terms and Conditions

You must agree to the full terms and conditions to apply.