Student Story: How I won the International VET Student of the Year Award

06 May 2021

By Carlo Gonzales

Just another day in my work placement, taking care of children, completing my work papers, and just constantly looking at the clock waiting for my break. Alas! Time to grab my coffee. As I take a sip, and swiping down through my phone, I received an email from StudyPerth about the application of the Council of International Students Western Australia (CISWA) International Awards is open. “Interesting”, I uttered.

CISWA was established in 1963 in response to the demand for support services for the 1000 international students studying in Western Australia. Over fifty years on, CISWA remains the only organization of its kind in Australia, though the number of international students in WA has grown to over 50,000.

In 2020 several awards were given, and they were as follows:

  • 2020 WA International School Student of the Year
  • 2020 WA International VET Student of the Year
  • 2020 WA International Tertiary Student of the Year
  • 2020 WA International Education Program of the Year
  • 2020 WA Outstanding Individual Contribution to International Education

I was studying Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care at North Metropolitan TAFE so it is right for me to apply for the VET student award. Actually, the application process was not hard at all. You need to have a faculty in your department to nominate you for the award of your choice, and you just need to upload the necessary documents they have asked: referral letter, transcript or academic standing, and an essay. The latter was the tricky part. The essay must compose of your achievements as an international student and your contributions to the community, to your school / classmates, your voluntary works, and what makes you stand out above the rest.

Being part of StudyPerth and being one of the Ambassadors gave me an edge among others. Being an Ambassador is a voluntary role that I have took, and one of StudyPerth’s main goals is to provide for the community and for the international students. That alone was a walk in a park in writing my essay. Being part of StudyPerth helped me reach out into the community and be one with the international students.

Given the pandemic we are still facing, StudyPerth has never failed to provide for the students to make them feel home, and to paint smiles on the student’s faces with activities from movie nights, to quiz nights, and to even bigger events like the Rottnest Island Day. I am very proud to be present in these events and to be a bridge between international students and StudyPerth.

StudyPerth chose me as one of its Ambassadors because they saw something special in me, and CISWA saw the same thing in me too (so to speak). Me receiving the award is a great thank you to StudyPerth who opened doors and opportunities. I also did my best to be one of the best students in our class in which my lecturers noticed so they did not hesitate to nominate me. I was being me. Philippines or Australia, I always do my best and try to achieve greater things.

More of what I wrote in my essay which contributed to my recognition can be read here. I have hung my award in my room to constantly remind me of how much I have achieved and inspire me to do more. If I can, you can too.

If being an Ambassador has done good things for me, it can do great things for you. Register your interest to become a 2021 International Student Ambassador by COB WST Monday 17th May 2021.

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In collaboration with governments, educational institutions and stakeholders, StudyPerth provides a leadership role in building the profile of international education in WA and overseas.