Shannon Willoughby with QUT students

Study Queensland Executive Director Shannon Willoughby meets students at the International Student Leadership Forum in Brisbane.

More than 100 student leaders from 40 countries shared their stories with Queensland parliamentarians at Study Queensland’s ‘International Students Meet Parliament’ event in Brisbane recently.

The students, drawn from across Queensland, met MPs, educators, industry experts and their peers in the heritage surroundings of Parliament House, sharing their perspectives on studying in Queensland and networking with potential mentors and employers.

Study Queensland Executive Director Shannon Willoughby said the event at Parliament House was a unique opportunity for student leaders and decision-makers to share stories and to build connections between the students and the Queensland community.

‘International Students Meet Parliament is held each year as part of Study Queensland’s International Student Leadership Forum,’ said Ms Willoughby.

‘The forum is a wonderful opportunity for the student leaders to come together and learn new skills, and also to share their grass-roots insights on what it’s like to be an international student in Queensland.

‘Their perspectives help decision-makers stay informed about the educational experience across Queensland, and the students become education ambassadors who take their personal passion for Queensland back to countries all over the world.’

Among the student leaders attending the forum were the 11 members of Study Queensland’s 2018 Queensland International Student Advisory Panel (QISAP).

QISAP member Sebastian Romhany, a Psychology and Economy student at James Cook University in Townsville, said the International Student Leaders’ Forum was a life-changing opportunity.

‘The International Student Leadership Forum was a true platform for students to take their first steps towards leadership,’ he said.

‘You could see on many of their faces that they were actually making the choice to become leaders.

‘Walking into the Parliament House, meeting members of parliament and industry leaders, and having them show interest in you was the best way to empower and inspire students towards developing Queensland’s international education.’

The International Student Leaders’ Forum is an initiative of the International Education and Training Strategy to Advance Queensland 2016–2026.

This year’s forum was held in Brisbane on 15 and 16 October, and is one of the opportunities that Study Queensland continues to build for students to connect with community leaders.

International education is identified as Queensland’s second-most valuable services export in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

Ms Willoughby took up the role of Study Queensland Executive Director in early October, taking over from previous Executive Director Rebecca Hall, who is now working on international education with Austrade.