ELICOS Finalists

2021 NSW International Student of the Year Award

The winners of the 2021 NSW International Student Awards were announced at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), The Rocks, Sydney on Friday 12 November.

Julian Photo

Julian Andres MESA FOLLECO (Colombia)

Scots English College, Eveleigh

Julian is an exemplary student of English at Scots English College, dedicated to mentoring his peers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hailing from Colombia, Julian has professional experience as a physiotherapist working in the healthcare industry. He came to Australia to improve his professional English skills and is often looked up to by other students as a role model to aspire to.

Julian regularly assists other students with their studies, from grammar to pronunciation, ensuring they understand difficult concepts that are explained in class. He often comes into school straight from work, an hour before his own class starts, to help fellow students who are needing additional learning support. Julian is an active participant in group activities and always volunteers his time and effort to assist his teacher and peers.

His empathy for others has been instrumental to his career and allows him to engage with other international students. This has been particularly important during difficult times, when he has provided a shoulder to cry on and been an avid listener to his peers.

Julian’s humility, punctuality and passion in academia and his work has made him a stand-out in his cohort.

Bruno Photo


Navitas English, Sydney

From studying food science in his home city of Sao Paulo in Brazil, to completing an English language course at Navitas English in Sydney, Bruno has constantly kept the broader community at the core of everything he does.

Coming to Australia gave Bruno a chance to see a new perspective while also studying. He has been a dedicated student since the moment he arrived, and has documented his journey through the release of popular social media content through the Student Travel Bureau Agency. His content features a range of topics related to studying in Australia, to help demystify studying abroad and encourage people to do the same.

Bruno is highly active in the Brazilian community in Sydney, regularly meeting with them to provide assistance with phone calls, emails and study advice. He hopes to continue building a network of community-minded international students to support the cohort as a whole, whether it be through practical and financial assistance or with mental health initiatives.

During the COVID-19 crisis, Bruno worked as a deep cleaner for public schools while continuing his studies online, showing great initiative in finding work that needed to be done for the community.

Before coming to study in Australia, Bruno was a member of his local church in Brazil. He volunteered his time and money for the better part of a decade, rendering much-needed assistance to poverty-stricken neighbourhoods in Sao Paulo.

Bruno will shortly begin studying at UNSW Global after securing a scholarship for a Diploma program, which he received in recognition of his academic results from his study at Navitas English and his achievements from his college in Brazil. After completing his Diploma, he will then continue his journey into the Bachelor of Science at UNSW.

He hopes to join UNSW’s volunteer program when he starts his study there and is actively searching for local volunteer opportunities in Sydney’s churches and charities.

Ryoto Photo

Ryoto TOYOFUKU (Japan)

Kaplan International Languages, Sydney

Ryoto is a highly-motivated and positive member of the Kaplan International Languages school community. He has not only supported his peers during a difficult and unpredictable time but has a strong drive to create a positive environment for everyone around him.

Born in Japan, Ryoto initially pursued a degree of sports science at university. However, when his older brother came to live in Australia, he opened Ryoto’s eyes to the opportunities that came from studying abroad. Ryoto leapt at the chance to experience a new way of life while also improving his English.

Arriving just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ryoto quickly adapted to his new home. Despite the pressures of COVID-19 and the difficulties of online learning, he made the decision to stay in Australia during the lockdown period, offering his support and sharing positivity to other international students.

Between his interest in street fashion and his sporting abilities, Ryoto threw himself completely into everything that was available to him. Although he first arrived with minimal English skills, he quickly became a star student and even regularly assists other international students with their English studies.

Ryoto has made a considerable effort into learning about Sydney and Australia and when possible, has tried to visit different regions and locations. Despite a busy schedule juggling study and part-time work, Ryoto makes time to support his peers at school and bring positivity to the classroom.

Ryoto also volunteers his time to assist those with disabilities to learn and enjoy sports. He hopes that in the future he can forge a career in helping disabled people find joy in movement.

Meet our 2021 finalists




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