The new UMSU International committee is taking up their terms, with Yu Kong Low the new president of UMSU International for 2015-16.
The UMSU Intl committee is the representative body for international students at the University of Melbourne. It comprises of a student-run committee that provides social events and support services for Melbourne uni’s 11,000 international students. Elections were held from 6 to 8 May; results were announced in 12 May.
During his presidency, Low will focus on strengthening ties with other student representative bodies at the university such as UMSU. Low hopes to increase UMSU Intl’s influence on the organisation of UMSU events, by encouraging UMSU Intl representatives to join UMSU committees and groups.
Low also plans on opening cultural events held by UMSU Intl up to domestic students. The goal, Low says, is for both domestic and international students to share and experience the cultures that international students bring to Australia.
Looking inward, Low says that UMSU Intl is in need of “greater transparency.” UMSU Intl is funded with student money, Low says, and it must be easily accounted for.
The incoming UMSU Intl committee will be be responsible for managing services which cater to more than 11,000 students. With international students coming to Melbourne from more than 135 countries, Low says these services must be both diverse and reliable.
UMSU Intl currently provides orientation for students in areas such as personal finance, scholarships, housing and related matters. Of concern to Phoebe Hui Min Leong, UMSU Intl vice-president elect, is that many of these services are not utilised to their full extent. Leong, intends to raise awareness of the many services UMSU Intl provides. She hopes to ensure UMSU Intl is a welcoming and supportive space for students to connect.
UMSU Intl is mostly known among as an events-based organisation, providing parties throughout the year for the international student population. Both Low and Leong, however, plan to enhance its important student services and support role.
From promoting healthier living to educating international students on their work rights, there is plenty to keep the newly elected UMSU Intl committee busy. If Low and Leong prove successful, UMSU Intl will be instrumental in shaping the international student experience in the coming year.