Hello from the New Minister-Counsellor Ms Katherine Vickers
Ni Men Hao!
My name is Katherine Vickers and I have been newly appointed to the position of Minister Counsellor (Education and Research) in the Australian Embassy - Beijing.
I am thrilled to be here in China, managing Australia’s education and research cooperation relationship.
Just before taking up this position, I was working to support the development of the Draft National Strategy for International Education. More on that later!
This year also marks my 10th year of working in the Department of Education and Training where I have been privileged to support the Australian Government’s commitment to opportunity through learning.
Prior to my public service career, I worked as a university teacher in the field of media and film theory at the Australian National University, the University of Canberra and the Flinders University of South Australia. I understand the significant difference that education can make to individuals and communities.
My family has accompanied me to China for my three year posting. I have three children all attending international school here in Beijing. We have received a very warm welcome here and are very keen to learn more about Chinese language and culture.
Alumni story - A Female Researcher’s Voice Dr. Ying SHEN
As a social science junior researcher, I am honoured to be chosen as the only recipient from China for an Australia-APEC Women in Research Fellowship in 2015. As a female researcher, I particularly appreciate this excellent initiative reflecting the willingness of Australia and APEC to support the career development of female researchers, because it really requires more for us as daughters, wives and mothers to pursue a research career.
This fellowship means for me more than just a research stay in Australia. Rather, it is a recognition of my past research achievements and my ongoing research work in climate change issues. I look forward to conducting my postdoctoral project in collaboration with Prof. Vai lo Lo at Bond University under this fellowship.
I came across the information of the Australia-APEC Women in Research Fellowship Competition in mid-March this year when I was preparing for my Endeavour Research Fellowship project which is to be commenced in this November at Southern Cross University. After confirming eligibility with the fellowship administration, I submitted my application for this prestigious fellowship with the support from Prof. Donna Craig (University of Western Sydney) and Prof. Xiaomin Fang (Nanjing University) and fortunately won the only place for Chinese female researchers in this year’s competition round. All the three supporters of my application for this fellowship are successful female academics. Their success in research career inspires me to devote myself into research work and encourages me to be a role model for my peers. Winning this highly-competitive fellowship surely will not only boost my career opportunities but also put me to the position as a bridge-builder for China-Australia research collaboration.
My proposed research project under this fellowship is to advance research in the relationship between trade liberalization and climate change mitigation, using the newly concluded China-Australia Free Trade Agreement as the study focus. I hope that my research work under this fellowship can provide suggestions for both promoting trade liberalization and taking measures to mitigate climate change in both countries.
As the first Chinese fellow of this excellent program, I encourage all qualified Chinese female researchers to run for this prestigious fellowship in the coming years and wish them good luck.
Putting international education at the heart of Australia’s future prosperity and social wellbeing
‘Our students abroad contribute to Australia’s reputation as an open and welcoming society.’
Australia is currently consulting on the development of a national strategy for international education.
The draft for consultation outlines a plan that focusses equally on attracting top students to study in Australia and encouraging more Australian students to study abroad.
The strategy recognises that the divide between Australian students and international students seeking an education in Australia is not as wide as people think. All students want the same things - a high quality education and an enriching educational experience that leads to good employment prospects.
A Coordinating Council for International Education has been established to oversee the finalisation of the national strategy and of an implementation plan. The council includes six Australian Government Ministers and key international education and business leaders.
Young Australian Ambassadors warmly welcomed to China
Last year 16 students from Scotch Oakburn College in Launceston, Tasmania wrote to the Chinese President Xi Jingping. Written in Chinese and English, their letters described Tasmania’s unique products and beautiful scenery and invited President Xi to visit Tasmania as part of his 2014 trip to Australia. As a result of these letters, President Xi met the students during their visit to Tasmania.
The highly successful visit of the Chinese President and his wife, First Lady Madam Peng Liyuan, resulted in a return invitation to the students, their teachers and their parents to visit China as honoured guests of the Chinese government.
During their week-long visit to China in May this year, the students visited their sister school and signed a cooperation agreement. They also visited experimental schools in Tianjin where they learned about the ancient craft of Chinese calligraphy.
Students were greatly honoured by the invitation to meet with Madam Peng at the beautiful Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing. Young guests introduced themselves in Chinese and presented their calligraphy to Madam Peng. Madam Peng encouraged them to be young ambassadors for China-Australia education cooperation.
Students finished their tour of China with morning tea at the Australian Embassy, hosted by Ambassador Ms Frances Adamson. They shared their experiences and impressions of China and Ambassador Adamson encouraged them to work hard and continue their Chinese language and culture learning.
Australia remains a high-quality international study destination
The Australian Minister for Education and Training, the Hon Mr Christopher Pyne, announced the results of the 2014 International Student Survey in April 2015. The survey found that 88 per cent of international students were satisfied or very satisfied with their studying and living experience in Australia.
The survey also showed that the main reasons for international students choosing Australia as their study country, included the reputation of Australian institutions, the quality of teaching and research in Australia, and personal safety.
More than 50,000 international students studying across all education sectors in Australia responded to the survey.
Minister Pyne announced that “these results reflect extremely well on the Australian education industry, showing that Australia is an excellent destination for international students at all levels of education.”
Closing soon - 2016 Round Endeavour Scholarships and Fellowships
The 2016 round of the Endeavour Scholarships and Fellowships will be closing soon. Applications will close 30 June 2015 at 11:59 pm Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST).
The Endeavour Scholarships and Fellowships are internationally competitive, merit-based scholarships that support Australians to undertake study, research and professional development overseas and citizens from eligible countries to undertake these activities in Australia.
The program supports study at the vocational education and training and postgraduate levels, postgraduate and postdoctoral research and professional development opportunities.
The program will open again for applications in April next year.
Click here to see how international recipients talk about their Endeavour experience.
International Students Workplace Rights are Strongly Protected in Australia
In 2014, there were more than 450,000 international students studying in Australia, including more than 120,000 from China. Many of these students supported themselves during their time in Australia by taking advantage of the ability to work for up to 40 hours per fortnight on an Australian student visa.
Students studying in Australia may not be aware of the fact that their workplace rights are strongly support by the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO).
The FWO is an organization established to work with employees, employers and the community to educate and encourage compliance with Australia's workplace laws.
As a new initiative, the FWO is using social media to reach out to international students to ensure that they understand their workplace rights. The FWO will put information out through social media in Australia in six languages (including Chinese) with tips and advice to students taking part-time jobs while studying in Australia.