International students recognised for contributions to Illawarra community
UOW named finalist in two categories at NSW International Student Awards.
Two University of Wollongong (UOW) nominees have been recognised as finalists in the NSW International Student Awards, for outstanding contribution to the Illawarra community.
Mr Henness Wong, a Doctor of Medicine student from UOW’s Graduate School of Medicine, has been named a top contender for the International Student of the Year Award, while the UOW and Bomaderry High School Asia Immersion Program also received finalist recognition in the NSW International Student Community Engagement Award category.
A Hong Kong national, Henness was nominated for his extensive contribution to the University and wider Illawarra community including his role as President and Yoga teacher at the UOW Yoga and Meditation club which earned him the title of 2016 Club Person of the Year. He was also named the RED25 Champion of the Year – Illawarra by the Australian Red Cross Blood Service, after achieving a 350 per cent increase on blood donations in 2016 following a successful social media campaign.
Henness has been an active student leader with UOW Accommodation Services since April 2017, represents international students on the Faculty of Education committee and was recognised in March 2016 by the Vice-Chancellor in his appointment as Postgraduate Student Representative on the UOW Environmental Advisory Committee. He has also been representing and advocating for UOW medical students with the Australian Medical Students' Association (AMSA) since June 2016, as Senior AMSA Representative of the UOW Medical Students' Society.
Amidst supporting a plethora of noble causes, Henness is a ‘Champion of Welcome’ volunteer fundraiser for SCARF (Strategic Community Assistance for Refugee Families in the Illawarra), where he assists with the social integration and settlement of refugee families.
The UOW and Bomaderry High School Asia Immersion Program made up of a diverse group of international students from countries including Indonesia, China, Malaysia, Japan and Thailand, deliver the ‘Asia Immersion Program’ across six schools in the Shoalhaven. Their aim is to foster intercultural respect, understanding and communication between young regional Australians and international students from Asia.
Each year, groups of UOW international students of Asian descent spend three full days with staff and students at Bomaderry High and Public School, Kangaroo Valley Public School, Cambewarra Public School, Berry Public School and Shoalhaven Heads Public School.
The international students provide the school students and teaching staff with insights into the language, society, economy, historical and political backgrounds of their countries, as well as interactive cultural experiences such as food tasting, origami, calligraphy, painting, dance and language.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Joe Chicharo said these two nominations are testament to the quality of community engagement UOW’s student body is able to facilitate and actively participate in.
“I want to congratulate Mr Henness Wong and the Bomaderry High School Immersion Program team for their outstanding contribution to the Illawarra community - they are a great example of our international students making a remarkable impact.
“Their active involvement in the growth, development and support of school students and community organisations is a valuable aspect of their overall academic and cultural immersion experience in Australia,” Professor Chicharo said.
The awards will be announced at a ceremony at Government House in Sydney on 22 September, hosted by His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret'd), Governor of New South Wales.