Four students from Griffith University have been named by Lord Mayor Graham Quirk as 2013 Brisbane International Student Ambassadors.

“Brisbane has 33 passionate new advocates from 29 countries. They will share what it’s like to study and live in our city,” Cr Quirk said at the City Hall ceremony.

“The Griffith University ambassadors include the first student from Libya to participate in the program and a student from Germany,Marlene Kastner, who served as an ambassador in 2012.

A second-year international business student, Marlene believes the program represents a great opportunity.

“It gives me the chance for personal as well as professional growth,” she said.

“I am in a team with students from 28 other countries which allows me to broaden my horizon by learning so much about different cultures and perspectives. I am promoting Brisbane as the ideal study destination and I can share my own experiences as a Griffith University student to help and advise current and future international students.

“I am passionate about engaging with the student community on campus to gain as much experience as possible during my time at Griffith and to provide support to my fellow students.”

Along with Marlene, the other Griffith students are Emad Elbabaa, an environmental engineering student from Libya; Mun Yee Debbie, an international business student from Singapore; and Sungsil Kim from South Korea who is studying commerce.

“As well as coming to grips with navigating unfamiliar campuses and a new public transport system, they will see the Brisbane Broncos play, feed dolphins at Tangalooma, visit the Gallery of Modern Art, tour the EKKA and much more,” Cr Quirk said.

Exciting opportunity

The ambassadors will also participate in media interviews, volunteer at multicultural events, and assist with the hosting of official visiting delegations, particularly from Brisbane’s Sister Cities.

The 2013 ambassadors were selected from 178 applicants; a 140% increase since the program began in 2009.

“International education is our biggest export industry, injecting $5.1 billion into the local economy and generating more than 20,000 local jobs,” Cr Quirk said.

“These enthusiastic international student ambassadors will help us grow the industry even further by promoting Brisbane as a leading study destination in their countries of origin.”

The 2013 program includes students from countries including China, India, Vietnam, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Singapore, Brazil, Colombia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iran, Japan, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Spain, Sri Lanka and the USA; and for the first time in the program’s history, students from Bosnia, Cambodia, El Salvador, Italy, Libya, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

Cr Quirk said the honorary appointments were for one year. In that time, the ambassadors will use a variety of social media and digital tools, including Facebook, Twitter and the recently relaunched Study Brisbane website, to communicate their real life experiences.

“International students contribute so much to Brisbane and not just on an economic level. They help create a cosmopolitan, vibrant city and strengthen our network with cities around the globe, creating lifelong relationships,” he said

The student ambassador program was established by Brisbane Marketing’s Study Brisbane program in 2009 and is open to both domestic and international students in Brisbane.