On track to success: former international student helps local businesses thrive

3 July 2024

Chart your course from nervous first days in Melbourne to achieving your biggest dreams with inspiration from international students who’ve come before you.

The City of Melbourne offers a range of opportunities for international students including volunteering and paid internships that can help people find pathways to employment.

To celebrate orientation week, we caught up with some of our volunteers, paid interns and Brian Su – a graduate international student and former volunteer who’s now helping businesses start, grow and thrive as part of our Business Concierge team.

Brian moved to Melbourne from Nanjing, China, and studied for his masters degree at the University of Melbourne.

During his studies, he volunteered as a student ambassador for the City of Melbourne’s My Melbourne program, and he was elected as the international officer at his university’s Graduate Student Association.

Brian is also a talented athlete – which is a big part of why he came to Melbourne in the first place.

“I was a student athlete in 400-metre hurdles for more than 12 years, and I love outdoor sports such as cycling, running and swimming. Melbourne is a multicultural and vibrant city, and also sports-crazy! These are the reasons why I chose Melbourne to study and live.”

Melbourne ranked among the world’s top student cities

Did you know Melbourne has been named the best student city in Australia for the tenth year running? The city has also been named fifth in the world in the QS Best Student Cities Ranking. Melbourne was ranked second for student experience, behind Berlin.

Brian’s role as a volunteer student ambassador helped lead to a job opportunity in the City of Melbourne’s Business Concierge – a dedicated team of case managers who support businesses small, large, or just starting.

The team serves businesses in all industries, including hospitality, accommodation, retail, biomedicine, finance and technology, health and wellbeing, education, training and beyond.

You can contact our Business Concierge officers by phone on 03 9658 9658 or request an appointment using our online form.

“Working as a Business Concierge Officer, my responsibility is to assist small businesses in Melbourne by helping them set up and through regular business engagement,” Brian said.

“In about one year, I have helped approximately 11 small businesses set up in the City of Melbourne. Some of the business owners are from non-English-speaking backgrounds, and I’m happy to help them break language barriers and realise their business ideas in Melbourne.”

A man in a suit and glasses
Brian Su at Melbourne Town Hall

Looking to the future, Brian hopes to expand his business expertise in Melbourne and beyond.

“Through my current work, I am learning about the Australian business field every day. For my future career journey, I aim to continue leveraging my strengths in understanding the Asia-Pacific market.”

For international students just starting their journey in Melbourne, Brian has some sage advice.

“When international students choose to leave their hometowns to live in a new country, it already shows their courage and determination. They say ‘all greatness comes from a brave beginning’. So don’t be afraid of failure. Dare to try to expand your comfort zone.”

Meet the latest My Melbourne student ambassadors

Brian was part of the My Melbourne student ambassador team during his studies, and a new team of ambassadors have just been announced.

The 12 ambassadors play a key role in designing, leading and promoting initiatives of the My Melbourne Program, which supports international students during their time living and studying in the City of Melbourne.

The ambassadors come from countries across the globe, and are studying 12 different majors, at seven Melbourne education institutes.

They will spend six months in their roles, helping organise activities including tours, events, workshops and information sessions to motivate their peers.

My Melbourne student ambassadors (left to right): Niel Evangelista, Jin Park, Vishan Amarasinghe, Andi Xu, Indah Simambela, Heza Hesami, Ruva Mandizha, Shivani Meharwade, Kaviya Ramma Naiken, Fakhira Aizham Wan Aizham, Hitomi Nakamura, Cam Ha Nguyen

“As a City of Melbourne ambassador, I’m excited about the endless opportunities ahead. Connecting with diverse individuals, sharing my journey, and sparking inspiration in fellow students is truly fulfilling. My aim is to empower international students to embrace their voices, share their narratives, and confidently occupy their space in Australian society.”

Ruva Mandizha from Zimbabwe is studying nursing

“Integrating into a new community is incredibly exciting, but what I find even more fulfilling is the opportunity to contribute and make a meaningful impact. Thanks to the City of Melbourne, I have the chance to explore my abilities and advance my skills to the next level, but more importantly, to have a positive impact on international students’ journey here in Melbourne.”

Meet Heza Hesami from Iran is studying mechatronics engineering

Meet more of the current My Melbourne student ambassadors.

Internships for international students

We’ve welcomed two international students on board for paid internships following a competitive selection process.

For the next six months, Kelly Ngoh and Christian Valerian will champion the city’s goals to student communities worldwide, and co-design, lead and promote initiatives from our International Education team.

The new internship program aims to help international students gain the skills and confidence to thrive in any future career path.

Kelly Ngoh and Christian Valerian have been selected for a paid internship with the City of Melbourne

“I am looking forward to learning more about the work of the City of Melbourne while building meaningful connections and networks for my future. This is undeniably an amazing opportunity to take the first few steps into my career,” Christian said.

Christian – a keen photographer who is studying finance and marketing – would love to one day pay it forward to others by providing people with work experience in his own future business.

“I would love to grow my own business and provide more opportunities for future international students. I wish to one day scale up my business to be able to help people in need and provide learning experience just like the internship I have had.

“To all university students – your future is in your own hands, and you are the one in charge. Be proactive in whatever work you are in and trust that hard work will not fail you.”

Christian at the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton Gardens. This place holds special memories for Christian, as he visits often to take photos, picnic and spend time with his student colleagues and loved ones

Kelly is studying international trade and marketing. During her internship, she’s eager to build her skills, pitch in on brilliant projects, learn from mentors, and share ideas to help make a positive impact on international students’ lives.

“My biggest dream for my career will be to bring an impact to the future leaders of Melbourne and of the world. I believe it is very important to instil good culture and learn from the best, creating new opportunities and breaking traditional barriers for emerging ideas and leaders to come,” Kelly said.

“I want to train myself through role models to be a role model to the future generations and make a strong impact in their lives. I also hope to create new solutions to fill in the gaps of the current international students industry – that will be the very main goal towards my big dream.

    “I am very grateful to be here and I value this golden opportunity to be part of the City of Melbourne team. I come with a strong passion and love for international students and hope that I can help maintain or level-up what makes Melbourne a world-renowned student city.”

    Kelly Ngoh cruising along the Yarra River – Birrarung

    Meet more inspiring alumni

    Many international students go on to great things – like forging new paths in breast cancer genetics, launching baking empires and starring on the cover of TIME magazine.

    To learn more, visit Astounding alumni: meet some of Melbourne’s most successful international students.

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