International students in the spotlight (Issue 21, 2012)

Jayasree

JayasreeTwo La Trobe University international students Jayasree Pillai from Singapore, and Ankur Jalvi from India are set to star in ‘My Australia’, an ABC series profiling international student life.

My Australia is television program that looks at Australia through the eyes of people from India and the Asia-Pacific region. Two representatives were chosen from Melbourne to share their experiences – both from La Trobe University. 

International students Jayasree Pillai from Singapore, and Ankur Jalvi from India, were set uniquely Australian challenges and enjoyed new experiences while finding out more about Australia during the filming.

Jayasree is at La Trobe University studying a Master of Professional Accountancy/Master of Financial Analysis, she first heard about My Australia through a University newsletter that was asking for volunteers.

‘To apply to be on the show, we had to submit a two minute video about ourselves. So I went ahead and submitted a video, which is uploaded on YouTube and was shortlisted. After a Skype interview with the production team, I was officially selected for the show,’ says Jayasree.

‘I was privileged to film three stories. The highlight of the filming process was that all activities were centred around my interests, so I enjoyed filming very much.’

The Series Producer, James Roberts says the program, now its third season, was designed to show students from India and the Asia-Pacific region interacting with Australians in positive ways.

‘We chose students from the 45 countries Australia Network broadcasts to. We hoped to provide these select students with Australian experiences they may not otherwise have.

‘In turn, the audiences overseas get to know more about Australia through the eyes of people they can relate to. So for both these students and our audience we create a greater understanding of what Australia is really like. That is a satisfying achievement that makes us feel proud of the series,’ says Mr Roberts.

The student experiences can range from learning to swim, climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge or volunteering with Meals on Wheels – all depending on what the student is interested in.

‘Some guests want to do simple activities like camping, and the things we take for granted – like wrapping potatoes in foil to cook on a campfire. Learning to surf, playing didgeridoo, going walkabout with an Aboriginal guide – all of these Australian experiences have worked a treat with our overseas guests,’ says Mr Roberts.

Liz Stinson, Executive Director La Trobe International believes that My Australia is a great platform to show off uniquely Australian experiences.

‘In showing the world concrete examples of the terrific experiences international students from India and the Asia-Pacific region are having in Australia, the My Australia program is providing a platform for some of our talented international students to demonstrate what they have to offer this country and the many ways they contribute to Australian life.

‘La Trobe University was thrilled that two of our students from Singapore and India took up the opportunities the program offered, and the University is both proud of their accomplishments and appreciative that they are sharing their talents with us,’ says Ms Stinson.

My Australia begins Wednesday 24 October 2012, on the Australia Network. To find out more, visit australianetwork.com/myaustralia/