We are excited to announce the winners of this year’s ISANA NZ Awards for 2020:

ISANA NZ Award 2020 – Sarah Sung

Sarah Sung is the Manager Study Abroad at The University of Auckland. She has led the Study Abroad team at the University of Auckland for over four years. Sarah has been very successful in establishing programmes that enable student leadership and peer engagement. She partnered with Ngā Tauira Māori, the Māori Students’ Association, to develop and deliver a Noho Marae on Waipapa Marae (the University’s main marae). The Noho marae is run in the week before classes start to provide early opportunities to begin understanding Māori culture as well as to establish some early friendships with both Māori and other international students. It has been very well received by study abroad students and University of Auckland Māori students.

The second significant project helped students to make friends and enabled returned exchange students to ‘give back’ and to play hosts to visiting students. The Study Abroad Students’ Society (SASS), established under Sarah’s guidance, is a student-run organization for all inbound study abroad and exchange students and returned exchange students. The club is run by returned exchange students and delivers tailored programmes to help students feel at ease in Auckland, make friends and take advantage of cultural and travel opportunities. It has been a tremendous success in building extra-curricular programming for study abroad and exchange students. Sarah is an excellent manager of people who demonstrates a strong commitment to a student-centred initiatives.

Tracy Evans Scholarship 2020 – Lynda Sullivan

Lynda Sullivan is the Director of International Students at Rangitoto College and is a true professional of the highest integrity and competence. She combines the essential skills of compassion and caring, with business acumen, complex problem solving and her extensive career experience in the sector. Over the past 16-years, she has worked in every role in Rangitoto College’s international department, and currently leads the team of seven staff as head of one of NZ largest secondary school international programmes. The disruptions forced by COVID-19 in March this year were faced head on and dealt with in a positive and professional manner and Lynda worked tirelessly to repatriate a range of students as the pandemic spread. She was one of the first International Directors to start initiating activities and extra learning opportunities for those students who would be away from their families over the upcoming summer holiday period. She has organised meetings with other education providers to offer small fun programmes to give students life skills and greater opportunities to gain work moving forward. Lynda’s proactive responses to the pandemic further demonstrated her resourcefulness and outstanding commitment to international student welfare. 


Professionalisation Award 2020 – Cameron Lock and Arthur Chin

Cameron Lock and Dr Arthur Chin both work at UCOL and their nominations were of such a high quality that we have decided to award the Professionalisation Award to them both.

Cameron Lock is the Team Leader Student Engagement at UCOL. He has worked tirelessly not only in the support of international students but in the wider community to enhance the wellbeing of international students. Cam has worked closely with the Palmerston North City Council and Welcoming Communities in particular. He was a key member in the team that devised and implemented The Exchange Network, a programmed funded by the Ministry of Education. Launched at the start of 2020, UCOL’s Exchange Network is a peer network and mentoring programme for international students. It is designed to counteract the feelings of loneliness and isolation that international students often deal with, and help them adjust to their new environment. 

His hard work and dedication was most apparent during lockdown earlier this year. When lockdown was announced Cam immediately organised his team to provide outstanding support for UCOL’s international students. The most affected students were contacted daily and a register was made of immediate, medium and long-term needs. This ranged from explaining situations with landlords to working with Palmerston North City Council’s Emergency Welfare team. Cameron has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to professional learning in 2020 with his participation in ISANA NZ events and offerings.

Dr Arthur Chin is the Executive Director Business Development at Universal College of Learning (UCOL). Dr Chin has an unwavering commitment to international education and equity for international students with a vision of internationalisation that is beyond economic benefits. Dr Chin’s continued desire to learn and innovate is shown in his 2017 thesis A Cross-Cultural Study of Country and Bank Selection by Asian International Students: A New Zealand Perspective. During New Zealand’s COVID lockdown, Dr Chin continued to support international students and the sector. He worked with individuals to solve wellbeing, food, accommodation, and immigration issues. Wanting to do more for international students beyond New Zealand, Dr Chin also organised an international webinar during the lockdown on ’The future of International Education during Covid-19’.

Special ISANA NZ Commendations also go to:

Yolanda Stander, Administration Manager at Middleton Grange School

Max Rideout, Associate Chaplain  at Victoria University 

Thank you to everyone who nominated a colleague and a big congratulations to the award recipients and all those that were nominated.

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