ELICOS Finalists

2020 NSW International Student of the Year Award

The winners of the 2020 NSW International Student Awards were announced at Government House, Sydney on Tuesday 8 December.

Meet the winners Watch the ceremony


Manuel Lencastre Airone (Mozambique)

University of Newcastle, Newcastle

Manuel is a Master of Disaster Resilience and Sustainable Development student at the University of Newcastle, which he commenced following an ELICOS course.

Manuel is a focused student who believes in active community participation and cultural sharing. During his time in Newcastle, he has immersed himself in several volunteering opportunities on campus including various student experience programs. Outside university, Manuel volunteers for the Hunter Wetlands and works with school excursion programs and local community members.

Manuel is passionate about his culture and sharing his experiences with other communities. In 2019, he took the initiative to represent his home country Mozambique at the annual Riverlights Cultural Festival, where he cooked and served traditional food for the community. He has also been instrumental in organising weekly kizomba lessons for students on campus, which began prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Tasnimul Islam (Bangladesh)

Macquarie University, Macquarie Park

Tasnimul is studying for a Diploma of Information Technology at Macquarie University. He is known for being a highly conscientious student, with a passion for raising awareness about mental health among international students.

Tasnimul is a role model for his peers and dedicates countless hours as a mentor and peer Leader in the Macquarie University Mentors Program. In addition, he is Vice President of the University’s Business Analytics Club and Marketing Director of the Macquarie Bangladesh Students Association. Tasnimul’s passion for raising awareness of mental health issues shines through in his role at  the Bangladesh Students Association, where he provides advice to the Bangladeshi community on where to seek help and gives reassurance that they’re not alone.

Tasnimul is also an Outgoing Exchange Associate at AISEC (a not-for-profit organisation in consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council) where he organises cultural sharing and inclusion programs that help international students feel at home in the Macquarie community.

He also shared his own experience as an international student from Bangladesh for the creation of ‘You are not Alone’, a video focused on mental health to support the thousands of international students who arrive at Macquarie University each year.


Shuang Zhang (China)

University of Newcastle, Newcastle

Shuang is a postgraduate student at the University of Newcastle, completing a PhD in Construction Management (Building). Shuang is high-spirited, dedicated to  community, and passionate about spending her time to help those in need.

Shuang is a University of Newcastle volunteer and touches the lives of students and staff at many university events, particularly those that benefit ELICOS students. She also completed her own ELICOS course in 2019 before starting her Doctorate.

Shuang is a multiculturalism champion on campus. She proactively works to bridge academic, professional and cultural gaps between Australia and her homeland, China. She has organised Chinese alumni to share their industry experience with students and continues to facilitate weekly ‘Lucky Lantern’ workshops on campus.

Shuang continues to make significant contributions to her local and global communities through her work with the UNSA International Students Wing, the Australia-China Youth Association and the University of Newcastle Student’s Association.

Meet our 2020 finalists




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