03 November 2014

Chee Wan

For the second year running an international student from UniSA has won the ‘Excellence in Community Engagement’ prize at the South Australian International Student of the Year awards.


Malaysian born student Chee Wan Tan (Jerad) jointly won the prestigious award for his contribution to community work both locally and internationally. Jerad, who studied a Bachelor of Management (Marketing) degree at UniSA, says he was surprised to receive the honour.


“I didn’t acknowledge my name being called until the MC mentioned Malaysia. In Adelaide I’ve been calling myself Jerad Tan rather than my full name. I felt overwhelming and couldn’t believe it,” he says.


The community engagement award is presented to an international student for their involvement in volunteer work or community engagement in South Australia. Since arriving in Adelaide, Jerad has regularly engage with the local community, volunteering at events such as Clean-up Australia, contributing to charities including World Vision Australia, and working at a local thrift shop. 


“My goals in Australia include breaking cultural barriers, enhancing sustainable social engagement and promoting volunteering,” he says.


“My principle aim is to inspire, encourage and empower people to serve together for a better future.”


During this time at UniSA, Jerad was also an ambassador for UniSA’s Global Experience (GE) program. As part of the program, he volunteered in Tanzania and Kenya to teach English and also helped raise $6,000 for WellWishers, an organisation building hand dug wells in Ethiopia. Jerad attributes the GE program to helping him develop the capacity for personal and professional growth.


“When I enrolled into GE, the course matured me and extended my exposure to global understanding. The learning environment changed m y perspective toward community engagement,” he says.


While Jerad believes the award will build his confidence, he is also determined to remain humble. He hopes to continue on this path of community engagement by either studying a Masters in Social Work next year or working for a not-for-profit organisation back in Malaysia.


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