International Student Leaders Share 4 Reasons to Study Abroad

Published 14 January, 2019

International Student Leaders Share 4 Reasons to Study Abroad

Did you know Sydney is home to 35,000 international students? Of these 35,000, only 34 have been selected to become leaders through the 2018-2020 City of Sydney International Student Leadership and Ambassador (ISLA) program.

reasons to study abroad
ISLA program 2018-2020 leaders and ambassadors. Image Credit: City of Sydney (2018)

Applicants from universities and colleges across Australia go through a rigorous selection process including group assessments, a written response, a mock preparation exercise for an event and a face-to-face interview.

The successful applicants receive free training, work integrated learning and volunteering opportunities to enhance international student leadership skills and experience, which become transferable to their future careers. Participants also have an opportunity to make new friends, build a local support network and develop of sense of belonging while getting involved in local events and activities in Sydney.

reasons to study abroad
KBS student Renato Jose Gabina Lazari workshopping with fellow ISLA ambassadors. Image Credit: City of Sydney (2018)

This year, 5 of the 34 selected leaders are students from Kaplan Business School! This makes us the only private business school represented among the list of successful applicants.

Renato, Helen, Divine, Thamara and Sibyl all come from Southeast Asia and South America. They have overcome some big challenges in order to live and study in Australia, and here’s why they think it’s worth it:

1. Learn English in a native speaking country

It’s no secret English is today’s international language of business. For many careers, being able to fluently speak the language is absolutely essential.

The best way to learn a language is to be immersed in it. When you study abroad, you’re learning a language as well as gaining a qualification, so you’re getting twice the education!

reasons to study abroad
Renato Jose Gabina Lazari. Image Credit: City of Sydney (2018)

After much research about different countries such as Canada, United States, New Zealand and Ireland, I decided to do my student exchange program in Australia.

Here, I can achieve my career goals while studying abroad. It’s been amazing for my personal and professional growth; I’m learning to speak English fluently, improve my education with a master’s degree, and gain international work experience.

English is the master key that can open the doors for anyone here, so your first focus as an international student should be to improve your English. It can help you perform better in your studies and widens opportunities in the workforce. – Renato Jose Gabina Lazari (Brazilian, Master of Accounting)

2. Develop important soft skills for your career

In a competitive job market, it’s the ‘soft skills’ you gain through extraordinary experiences that make you stand out. According to a Deloitte Access Economics forecast study, soft skill-intensive occupations will account for two-thirds of all jobs by 2030.

Living abroad is linked to the development of confidence and ‘soft skills’ that employers are looking for which, according to global recruitment company Hays, most commonly include communication, organisation, adaptability and respect for the ideas of others.

reasons to study abroad
Helen Margarette Cortezano. Image Credit: City of Sydney (2018)

From a life perspective, studying abroad will push you to be more independent, and in the process you will get to learn more about yourself. You will realise that you are more capable than you thought, as you are exposed to new ways of thinking and doing things. – Helen Margarette Cortezano (Filipino, Master of Accounting)

reasons to study abroad
Divine Joy Santua Samson. Image Credit: City of Sydney (2018)

In this journey, studying abroad is bound to help us become well-rounded. We gain improved communication skills, exposure to a multicultural environment, and experience in a competitive work environment with varying leadership styles. We’re gaining skills just by living, studying and working in a different country. This experience also gives us a greater chance to achieve higher management roles in the near future. – Divine Joy Santua Samson (Filipino, Master of Accounting)

3. Experience growth through a different lifestyle

We all need to experience new and interesting things in life, in order to grow. Studies show that when you travel or go overseas, your brain is rewired to exercise the parts that are linked to your psychological wellbeing.

When you do something ‘big’ like moving abroad, you’re forming memories and experiences that turn you into a more well-rounded, happy person. Studying abroad in Australia, you’re also expanding your horizons by being able to learn and work with people from all over the world.

Kaplan Business School has a student mix of over 80 nationalities! * The opportunity to collaborate in such a multicultural environment can add an extra dimension to your study experience that you may not have expected.

reasons to study abroad
Sibyl Acuna Esperida. Image Credit: City of Sydney (2018)


I chose to study in Sydney because of the diversity, friendly people, and high quality of education. The main benefit of studying abroad is that I gain exposure to different cultures, and I can see things from a world perspective. I believe this is very helpful in my career and from a ‘life’ perspective.


The ISLA program will be a great opportunity for growth while studying abroad. The Careers Central team at KBS alerted me to this program and heled me greatly with my application. In this role I’ll be able to develop my leadership skills, create a local support network and discover career opportunities. – Sibyl Acuna Esperida (Filipino, Master of Business Administration)

reasons to study abroad
Thamara Pereira. Image Credit: City of Sydney (2018)

Studying abroad has really exposed me to a lot of new ideas. I’ve enjoyed discussing economic and global topics with students and professionals from around the world, which, especially as an MBA student, is helping to shape my mindset and the way I think – Thamara Pereira (Brazilian, Masters of Business Administration)

4. Develop international networks and a global resume

As we all know, networks are invaluable when it comes to your career. In Australia, it’s estimated that between 60-80% of jobs are ‘hidden,’ which means that they’re not advertised. Instead, applicants are sourced through existing professional networks and recruiters.

Going abroad to study with other international students is one of the best ways you can develop a global professional network. In ten years, you could be hiring your former classmates!

reasons to study abroad
Renato Jose Gabina Lazari. Image Credit: City of Sydney (2018)

It’s very important to build a network once you are in a new country, and to also respect cultural differences. I’m developing new skills while making friends and expanding my network of professionals from diverse backgrounds. – Renato

reasons to study abroad
Helen Margarette Cortezano. Image Credit: City of Sydney (2018)

Sydney’s diversity definitely played a big role in my decision. I thought that I can learn more from an international city with people from all around the globe than any other country providing the same quality education. And, I was right! So far, it has been one of the most rewarding experiences. – Helen

Are you ready for a career and life-changing experience? See here for more information on studying abroad in Australia and the courses we offer at Kaplan Business School. 

*based on average student and alumni numbers (2016–2018)

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