CISA Conference: Student Stories

The Council for International Students (CISA) Conference is a national conference that provides an opportunity for student leaders and international education experts to engage, envision, and align with one another in a forum that is cementing the vision for the future of international students in Australia.


As the 2019 conference is right around the corner, we wanted to look back at some of the stories from the international students who attended the 2018 CISA Conference in Cairns. The first blog is from Farzaneh Nafar on her experience as an international student and attending the conference. Here from Farzaneh below:


As a multicultural country, Australia is, without a doubt, one of the most desirable destinations for international students. Every international student comes to Australia with hopes, dreams, and expectations, myself included. I have always wanted to further my education in an English-speaking country and decided to come to Perth based on the experiences of my friends and family living in Perth. In fact, the most important motivations for me were the top-ranking universities and my friends’ positive impressions of the Perth education system.


I have lived in Perth since 2016 and have had both good and bad days, with many precious experiences, fun, disappointments, and lessons learnt. I have been always interested in doing surveys about international students’ lifestyle, experiences, challenges, and expectations, as a way to express my point of view and suggest areas for improvement. StudyPerth’s survey was one of the best and comprehensive surveys I have completed. It included all aspects of international students’ life including: education requirements, campus life, safety, health, tuition fees, the city of Perth, and cultures. I was so lucky to be a member of the survey focus group and to be invited to attend the Council of International Students Australia (CISA) Conference in Cairns.


Attending the CISA Conference was a great honor for me: I got to meet professionals and international students from other states with different nationalities, cultures and backgrounds, and learn about a range of topics including entrepreneurship, rules and standards in Australia, human rights, safety and well-being, government and police endeavours for international students, and best practices in international education.


Furthermore, the state-based panel sessions were amazing because of the knowledge-sharing between students, and constructive interactions and discussions on topics such as student expectations from universities and lecturers, the quality of teaching material, safety, recreational facilities, international events, internships, volunteering and job opportunities.


Moreover, the CISA Conference in the beautiful city of Cairns brought a lot of fun as well. For example, the Indigenous art and music show was a fantastic way to acknowledge Aboriginal culture and traditions. Also, the Gala dinner, which acknowledged the 2018 CISA Board and introduced the new Board was really magnificent and enjoyable for me. In conclusion, I would like to reiterate the magnificence of the 2018 CISA Conference and applaud the organisation for such a well-planned and informative event, which saw invaluable networking and learning opportunities for students.


Having experienced this wonderful event and met some fantastic people, I would now like to introduce CISA to the international students at CQUniversity Perth and share all my learnings with my peers, as I believe it would be helpful for the students to know that there is a council that truly cares about international students’ concerns and advocates on their behalf.

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