PHOTO (left to right): Tejas Dushmukh, Katelyn Sutton, Susan Saldanha, Manager International Student Services Joanna Shaw

Melbourne, November 26: La Trobe University student, Susan Saldanha is named ‘International Student of the Year – Higher Education’ at the 2019 Victorian International Education Awards (VIEA), presented by Study Melbourne.

The award recognizes the Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Health Sciences student’s dedication to enhancing international student experiences at La Trobe, her stellar academic achievements and volunteer work with local communities.

Now, in her third year, Susan will receive $10,000 to contribute to the remainder of her studies.

Susan Saldanha

Susan, who moved to Melbourne from Mangaluru in India, said she felt honoured and grateful to be recognized for her work.

“It was an honour to represent La Trobe at the Victorian International Education Awards,” Susan said.

“A huge thank you to everyone at La Trobe – My teachers, colleagues and friends who supported me throughout my journey and had been a valuable part of my study.

“This award is a dedication to my parents, sister and family for supporting my move to Australia to pursue university study, for standing beside me as my greatest pillar of strength and believing in me more than I believe in myself.”

Susan has career ambitions in shaping global public health policy and has travelled to Mexico City and London as part of her studies.

“La Trobe provides such unique courses that give you that competitive advantage when you go out into the field. We have got such fantastic tutors, lecturers and guest speakers that we can always rely on,” Susan said.

Susan is the president of the La Trobe Public Health Students’ Association which has developed successful programmes aimed at tackling mental and sexual health issues across the university community.

She also assists students with their study, assignments and experiences at La Trobe as a Peer Learning Adviser and member of the International Student Leadership Committee known as I-LEAD.

Deputy vice-chancellor (international), Professor Richard Speed, congratulated Susan on her achievements.

“Susan has been recognized as one of Victoria’s best and brightest international students,” Professor Speed said.

“This accolade is a testament to the significant and important work she has put into supporting her university community.”

Susan is the daughter of Dr Prakash Saldanha and Dr Sunita Saldanha residing Valencia Mangaluru, working for Yenepoya University.

La Trobe Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Psychological Science student Katelyn Sutton was also recognised at the 2019 Victorian International Education Awards as a finalist in the Victorian Student of the Year – Internationalisation category.

Hailing from the Victorian regional hub of Shepparton, now a student at the La Trobe Bundoora Campus, Katelyn has dedicated her spare time to helping international students transition to life in Melbourne.

“Get to know your international students because they’re wonderful people and you can learn a lot from them and they can learn a lot from you,” Katelyn said.

Susan and Katelyn join a distinguished list of La Trobe students who were previous VIEA winners and finalists:

  • 2018 International Student of the Year winner – Regional, Tejas Dushmukh from Bendigo
  • 2017 International Student of the Year winner– Regional, Chi Le from Albury Wodonga
  • 2017 International Student of the Year winner – Higher Education, Htet Zaw from Myanmar
  • 2017 Premier’s Award – International Student of the Year winner, Chi Le from Albury Wodonga
  • 2016 International Student of the Year – Regional finalist, Alonso Navarro from Bendigo

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