What career advice can international students now offer me? Reflections, recommendations, and the roads ahead for international students and their trusty ISAs

Mr Peter Komsta1

1Innovation and Business Skills Australia (IBSA), Melbourne, Australia

Welcome to the 2005 International Student Orientation Day. This week my team and I will equip you with essential first-year survival skills, including making new friends; academic writing; study skills; and finding work.

This presentation reflects on the career advice offered by many well-meaning international student advisers and career practitioners to their international students.

Fast-forward to 2020, and either by design or default, many international education professionals are now considering a career pivot. In navigating the career roads ahead, can we practice what we once preached? In addition, can our own career trajectories provide valuable insights to support current and future students?

Reflecting on my own career journey from student advising to program management, through to skilled migration and the manufacturing sector, I have sought to develop my own employability skills. I have gained cross-cultural competence skills, I have tapped into new industry insights, I have bemoaned and eventually embraced change, and hopefully, I have deepened my knowledge in at least one or two subject areas.

This very longitudinal study of self has recently been re-examined with additional reflections, conversations, and recommendations, from a current and a former international student, as well as a seasoned university careers adviser. As expected, there are differences between our four perspectives, though the concepts of connectivity, research, focus, and risk, seem universal.

Peter has over fifteen years’ international education experience, spanning five universities, not-for-profit, and government. He currently leads e-learning production for the IBSA Group.

He has extensive experience in education policy, student mobility, student services, and skilled migration, and holds a Master of Business degree (Regional Development) from the University of Tasmania.

Peter is an active international education advocate, including a previous ISANA, NSW Branch President role. He is also currently, a Deputy Convenor, Learning Abroad with IEAA.

Peter is passionate about developing integrated learning programs, and solutions that respond to emerging industry and student needs, and foster global citizenship.

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