Inspiring international students honoured

28 October 2022

Social inclusion, sustainability and support for mental health initiatives spanning 17 nationalities topped the list at this year’s NSW International Student Awards.

Minister for Enterprise, Investment and Trade Alister Henskens said the 2022 NSW International Student Awards recognise and celebrate the individuals and organisations who have gone above and beyond for their communities.

“NSW attracts more international students than any other Australian state or territory, with over 160,000 choosing to study here and invest in a world-class education, great lifestyle and a wealth of future career prospects,” Mr Henskens said.

“We are extremely proud of our diverse international student community and the contribution these individuals and organisations make to building a vibrant and multicultural State.

“These awards are an important way of recognising exceptional achievements and to say thank you to those who are making meaningful contributions to our society and becoming ambassadors for NSW.”

Minister for Multiculturalism Mark Coure congratulated all winners for the valuable contributions they make to our communities while residing in NSW.
“These awards are a testament of just how successful we are as a multicultural society,” Mr Coure said.

“Students arrive in NSW feeling welcome and empowered to share their cultural perspective and unique experiences.”

Western Sydney University medical student Jennifer Budimulia was announced as winner in the Higher Education category for her work building a community-based mental health organisation called ‘Seribu Tujuan’.

The organisation supports members of the Indonesian community dealing with mental health issues.

Ms Budimulia said she chose to study in NSW because she wanted to learn about the healthcare system and find ways to give back to her community.
“As a strong advocate for accessibility to quality mental healthcare, being recognised motivates me to continue my endeavours,” Ms Budimulia said.

Winners were announced tonight in person for the first time since 2020, at a celebration held at Sydney’s Luna Park, with a live steam allowing the offshore community to tune in from around the globe.

The event crowned four individuals and two organisations across six categories:

  • Schools – Khanh Chi (Kathy) Nguyen, a Vietnamese student from Dulwich High School of Visual Arts & Design;
  • English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Student (ELICOS) – Marcela Soares Gigliotti De Carvalho, a Brazilian student from ILSC Sydney;
  • Vocational Education and Training (VET) – Chun Hean (Nicholas) Thong, a Malaysian student from Wells International College;
  • Higher Education – Jennifer Budimulia, an Indonesian student from Western Sydney University;
  • Business and Community – Sydney Community Forum and Sydney Alliance for their Oz International Student Hub (OISH); and
  • Education Providers – UNSW Sydney for their Peers Advocating for Sexual Health (PASH) program

500x500 2022 ISA Finalist - Khanh Chi (Kathy) Nguyen

2022 NSW International Student of the Year - Schools

Khanh Chi (Kathy) Nguyen (Viet Nam)

Dulwich High School of Visual Arts & Design

Khanh Chi (Kathy) Nguyen is a Vietnamese student at Dulwich High School of Visual Arts & Design. Since arriving in Australia in 2019, Kathy has made her mark on the local community.

Growing up in Hanoi instilled in Kathy the traditional Vietnamese values of compassion and kindness, which later influenced her leadership and volunteer work. In 2021, she became School Captain where she has organised fundraising events including to support Vouch for Lismore, World’s Greatest Shave, and Black Rainbow.

Kathy proudly embraces and honours her Vietnamese heritage, and generously shares her culture with the NSW community. She has been a guest speaker for the University of Sydney Vietnamese International Students Society (VISES) and collaborated with education agent SET Education to assist Vietnamese international students as part of the UniTour Series and Study Abroad Summer Tour.

In the future, Kathy hopes to continue to support and inspire the international student community as a high school teacher.

500x500 2022 ISA Finalist - Marcela Soares

2022 NSW International Student of the Year - ELICOS

Marcela Soares Gigliotti De Carvalho (Brazil)

ILSC Sydney

Marcela is a Brazilian student at ILSC Sydney studying English. She moved to Australia to improve her language skills and understanding of different cultures.

Marcela lives on the NSW Central Coast and her two-hour daily commute to the Sydney campus does not hinder her community engagement. This includes her environmental contribution, working with other postgraduate volunteers at Taronga Zoo to develop online and onsite conservation workshops. Marcela has also volunteered at the Australian Museum, helping to transcribe the entomological collection into an online format.

Marcela’s most valuable experience in NSW to date has been the connections she made with her teachers and peers. In the future, she wants to teach young minds to seek a better world.

500x500 2022 ISA Finalist - Chun Hean (Nicholas) Thong

2022 NSW International Student of the Year - Vocational Education and Training (VET)

Chun Hean (Nicholas) Thong (Malaysia)

Wells International College

Chun Hean (Nicholas) Thong is a Malaysian student at Wells International College studying a Diploma of Hospitality Management.

Nicholas has demonstrated his leadership skills and eagerness to make the lives of those around him easier by arriving to class early to help the trainer set up the kitchen, staying back late to pack up after class, and actively helping other students initiate their careers. Nicholas’ extensive knowledge and previous experience in Malaysia have allowed him to provide valuable feedback to the college to improve customer service and kitchen workflow.

Nicholas hopes to open his own business and is currently working on a project that aims to connect restaurants to the community by providing local charities with excess food from hospitality venues.

500x500 2022 ISA Finalist - Jennifer Budimulia

2022 NSW International Student of the Year - Higher Education

Jennifer Budimulia (Indonesia)

Western Sydney University

Jennifer is an Indonesian student at Western Sydney University studying medicine.

Originally from Jakarta, Jennifer chose to study abroad to experience and learn about the healthcare system in Australia. Since arriving, Jennifer developed a community-based mental health organisation for Indonesians called ‘Seribu Tujuan’ that aims to support Indonesians with mental health issues through education, prevention and treatment. Jennifer has spoken at several events and workshops about the importance of mental health and is proud to be able to contribute to breaking down the stigma surrounding this topic.

One of Jennifer’s goals is to grow Seribu Tujuan and increase accessibility to quality mental health care. She also plans to continue her psychiatry training so she can take a more hands-on approach to developing solutions for mental health care.

500x500 2022 ISA Finalist - Oz International Students Hub

2022 NSW International Student Community Engagement Award - Business and Community

Oz International Student Hub (OISH)

Sydney Alliance and Sydney Community Forum

The Oz International Students Hub (OISH) is run for and by international students. OISH was established during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and delivers welcome, support and social inclusion programs for international students.

OISH delivers sessions and workshops on mental health, stress management, skilled employment, cross-cultural communication, cultural immersion, and intimate partner violence. Through these workshops, the hub aims to support and bring students together, and to build trust and cultivate a close-knit culture that is action-oriented and grounded in mutual respect.

OISH is currently seeking funding to support its ongoing delivery of services to international students.

500x500 2022 ISA Finalist - PASH UNSW Sydney

2022 NSW International Student Community Engagement Award - Education Providers

Peers Advocating for Sexual Health (PASH)

UNSW Sydney

PASH (People Advocating for Sexual Health) is a peer-education program upskilling students to be able to confidently talk about sexual health with their peers.

Poor sexual and reproductive health literacy is recognised as a key concern for international students. By normalising conversations about sexual health, the importance of regular STI testing, and discussions around affirmative consent, PASH helps normalise testing and improve the likelihood of students having healthy relationships.

PASH peers have been part of the Health Advisory Group for the Study NSW-funded International Student Health Hub, led the development of a Sexual Health and Consent learning module in partnership with NSW Health STI Programs Unit, co-created the SEXtember festival and ran sexual health training with UNSW Global. The program was also one of the pilot testing sites for the NSW Health SHAPE (Sexual Health and Peer Education) toolkits.

PASH aims to continue growing and developing, embedding more PASH peers within student accommodation across UNSW.

Meet our 2022 finalists




Higher Education

Business Community

Education Provider