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Welhelmus - Indonesia - University of Canberra

Studying in Australia was always a dream and when it was finally fulfilled, Welhelmus never could have anticipated the opportunities in student leadership he would encounter. This is his #InThisTogether story.

#InThisTogether with Welhelmus Poek, graduate from University of Canberra

A lifelong dream Studying in Australia was something I always wanted to do because Australia has a really good reputation for the quality of education.

Before coming to Australia, I was working as a social worker in Indonesia supporting non-government organisations and local communities. I knew I wanted to expand my skills and networks with practical, hands-on experience which is why I decided to study a Masters of International Development at the University of Canberra.

I quickly learned that Australian universities provided their international students with a lot of support and services. The quality of my experience was very high - not only were we supported around how to get the most from our academic experience, we also had 24/7 online support in developing our English language and writing skills.

New opportunities Improving my English language and speaking skills gave me the confidence to become a student leader.

I was the Indonesian Student Association President in Canberra and the Vice President of the Australian Association. I spoke with, and on behalf of, many international students at various events, not only in Canberra but also in other states and countries.

I attended international conferences in Sydney and Melbourne, including the Universities Australia Conference in 2019. I was brought along as a guest of Studiosity - a online student support initiative which ensures every student can get the personal study support they need - as I was on their student advisory panel. While I was there, I saw that not many international students get the opportunity to attend events like this and I felt more student leaders would benefit from attending and hearing about the national outlook on higher education in Australia. The staff introduced us to important university and government professionals at that conference who all seemed genuinely pleased to talk to us students as well.

At one of these events, I met some Australian Government officials who were in a program to learn Bahasa. They invited me to present a talk in Bahasa at one of their meetings about the non-government organisations I worked with in Indonesia. I still maintain contact with some of those incredible people that I met.

At the student conference in Melbourne, we discussed the momentum of democratic action. We questioned how young people like us can play a role in our nations development. There were many experts in attendance - governors from Indonesia, national officials and leaders from the Australia-Indonesian Business Council - who all came to talk about business and economic opportunities for university graduates.

I am certain my choice of doing a Masters in Australia was one of the reasons that an organisation back in Indonesia offered me a great job in my field. Because of this, I had guaranteed employment when I graduated.

I feel extremely fortunate and owe a lot to Australia and the University of Canberra for all the opportunities I had while being an international student.

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