How Manfred found his voice at CDU
Arriving in to study in Darwin as a shy Estonian, Manfred Mletsin has become a representative voice and advocate for the education, health and wellbeing of international students connecting with the decision-makers in Canberra, Australia’s capital city.
After several years of travelling, and a range of different jobs across the world, Manfred found himself in Darwin working for a local pearling company.
Out of all the places I’ve been, I chose Darwin because it was the complete opposite of my home country Estonia. The weather and laid-back lifestyle is definitely something very different to what is at home.
"I’ve been always fascinated by economics," says Manfred. "In high school, we had an elective unit to choose, and I went with economics. I’ve always told myself that finance skills will be handy when I enter the professional world."
As a StudyNT Student Ambassador, Manfred has worked hard to rise into mentoring and leadership positions where he can positively advocate for international students.
"In 2017, I was given the change to travel to Canberra for the Council of International Students Australia (CISA) conference where I was elected to be on the executive board as the VET/TAFE Officer.
"This has given me the opportunity to collaborate with Technical and Further Education (TAFE) Directors Australia, the Department of Home Affairs and the Department of Education and Training to advance the interests of international students," explains Manfred.
Advocating for students’ wellbeing
"I am also part of the University Mental Health Framework Advisory Group – something that is very important to me," says Manfred.
It is through these roles that Manfred left that shy student behind and has become a leading voice in the international education sector at CDU and across the broader Northern Territory.
Now, while continuing his studies at CDU, Manfred runs his own business Mindful Minder as well as working as Client Liaison for a local education and training company. He also runs mental health workshops for international students.
"As an advocate for mental health, I have been running workshops for international students on how to seek help locally and nationally with CISA. They have been successful and very well received by the student community," he explains.
Not bad for a shy kid from Estonia.
I have used the CDU Equity services and the support I’ve gotten from my CDU Counsellor has been immense. I’m very glad that I reached out to her.
So, what does Manfred say to other students who might be a bit anxious about getting involved?
"If you are shy and unable to speak in front of people, you just need to put yourself out there. Get involved. But everyone has to remember that nothing is handed to anyone on a silver plate, took me years of hard work and dedication to reach where I am today. You can even come to me and maybe I can help you," says Manfred.
Learn more about studying at CDU as an international student.