2019 Community Engagement Awards

All of the entrants in the 2019 community engagement category give significant time and energy to help other people through volunteering. Hoi Yan and Phuong, the winning and highly commended students respectively, both agree that volunteering has also helped them build their personal and professional skills, meet new people, and enjoy different experiences. We invited them to share their stories.

Kitty Wong

Winner: Hoi Yan (Kitty) Wong from China - Motivated by giving back

Studying: Master of Nutrition and Dietetics at Flinders University

Kitty’s volunteering experience is extensive and varied. From providing first aid services with St John Ambulance to coordinating fundraising activities for the Golden Key International Honour Society to running nutrition workshops, and volunteering as the Event Management Director of TEDxUniSA, Kitty’s devotion to serving her community is inspiring.

You’ve participated in an impressive list of volunteer activities. How and why did you get involved?

Feeling like I’m doing something meaningful motivates me. I think volunteering is a core part of my values. My first volunteering experience in Adelaide was with St John Ambulance, and I’ve continued to explore new opportunities, even initiating opportunities such as helping to create the TedXUniSA event. I like that my volunteering also inspires others. This year many of my friends and classmates have been inspired to volunteer, which makes me happy and motivates me as well.

How has volunteering helped you improve on a personal level?

Volunteering can be demanding, but it’s helped me grow up and given me a lot of experience I wouldn’t have had at university alone. It’s given me the confidence to do things like approaching business people to sponsor events. I’ve also met a lot of people I wouldn’t have if I wasn’t involved in volunteering. Not just students and academics, but a diverse range of people of different ages and life experiences.

How has volunteering helped you develop your career skills and opportunities?

I’ve enhanced my skills in teamwork, leadership, problem solving, critical thinking, time management, and negotiation. I’ve also had the chance to network with people in my industry and put my skills to work with nutrition-based community activities. Through my community work, I’ve been inspired by a lot of leaders and had opportunities to build relationships with professionals in the workforce.

What would you tell new international students about your journey in Adelaide?

That my decision to study in Adelaide was the best one I have ever made! I’ve become more confident, enthusiastic and approachable. And I’m proud to be spreading positive influences in the community. I’d tell them to step out of their comfort zone and experience different things. I’ve never regretted my decision to study in Adelaide, and I highly recommend it to everyone.

Highly Commended: Phuong Mai Dinh from Vietnam

Studying: Bachelor of Business (Tourism and Event Management) at the University of South Australia

Phuong’s community work has helped solidify her decision to pursue a career in event management. She says her volunteer experience with events such as TEDxUniSA, DreamBIG Children’s Festival and the Santos Tour Down Under helped build her skills and confidence for future employability. As the Club President of the International Students Business Society: Vietnam Chapter, Phuong led a team of 20 committees organising social events and workshops for students. She says her favourite part of volunteering is how she is motivated and inspired by the people she’s met. ‘Without those people, I wouldn’t be where I am today.’

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