LM: I think we are the voice of the students. We know a lot of our practitioners are working at the grassroots level and they are interacting with students, so they get to know what students want, and we provide a forum to escalate that.
MAS: ISANA Australia and New Zealand memberships are basically staff who work at the coalface with students. Not only do they get to be the voice of the students, and that’s more so in New Zealand where they don’t have an organisation like the Council of International Students Australia, we deal with students day-in-day-out.
We are able to give feedback of critical information on the effect of any policy changes. With policy legislation changes, we can say ‘hang on a second, if you want to do this, these are the implications it will have’ because we are the ones who will actually be implementing it. So we’re the voice of the students but also the voice of the staff who work with the students.
“Our international student numbers have increased and once they are here we want to retain their skills and knowledge”
LM: Also, with a lot of international student support staff, there’s no formal training and so ISANA is there to provide professional development. Anyone can go into the role, but there’s all these transferable skills we’re looking for, and a lot of them are intuitive skills which are very warm and fuzzy, but that’s what you need in student support. A lot of those people do not have formal training so we provide professional development throughout the year.