La Trobe College Australia student recognised as finalist in prestigious Study Melbourne award
Victorian International Education Awards finalist Thaqifatunnazurah Binte Abdul Aziz (centre) with Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas MP and other finalists. (Photo: Niki Kim)
La Trobe College Australia (LTCA) student Thaqifatunnazurah Binte Abdul Aziz’s contributions to volunteering and community engagement have seen her recognised as a finalist for International Student of the Year (Vocational Education and Training) by Victorian Government initiative, Study Melbourne, as part of the prestigious Victorian International Education Awards.
The awards “recognise and showcase the exceptional Victorian international students and alumni in our community, and education providers who champion international education in Victoria and across the globe” (Study Melbourne, 2023).
Qifa, as she’s known by friends and staff at the college, is studying her final year of a Diploma of Health Sciences (Nursing stream). A member of the Student Representative Council, Academic Board Student Representative, and college event’s volunteer, Qifa’s community spirit was quickly recognised by students and teachers alike.
During her time at the college, Qifa has volunteered at college events including orientation, graduation, and multicultural celebrations, aiming to reduce anxiety for international students and promote inclusivity. She actively engages with Aiysha Mosque, the Islamic Information and Services Network of Australasia (IISNA), and the Multi-Cultural Youth Centre, building rapport with the community and promoting multicultural inclusivity.
Qifa’s work with the LTCA community, and her support of other young Muslim women studying in the Australian community made her the perfect choice for nomination, says LTCA Student and Academic Services Manager, Niki Kim.
“When we received information from Study Melbourne that applications for the Victorian International Education Awards were open, I was immediately interested in supporting one of our students to apply, as the selection was not just based on academic merit but also community engagement.”
Kim approached Qifa, who was unsure if she met the criteria.
“But after I highlighted her willingness to support others, everything she has been a part of at the college, as well as support of the Muslim international student community outside of the college, she found the confidence to apply,” Niki said.
Nevertheless, for Qifa, her nomination as finalist came as a surprise.
“Upon receiving the news that I was pick as the final top three finalist, I felt overwhelmed. I wouldn’t expect to be in the top finalist as I was unsure the number of applicants. Overall, I felt honoured and excited,” Qifa says.
In the future Qifa says she hopes to continue to support students and Muslim women through the promotion of diversity and inclusivity. She aims to send positive messages to young Muslim international women, encouraging them to study in Melbourne and assuring them of the welcoming and diverse environment.
“I am deeply grateful for this nomination and look forward to continuing my journey of making a positive impact on the lives of others,” Qifa said.
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