Professional Development Program 2021

Collage of 8 International Students
Professional Development Program Members

!n Term 3 2021 the Music Performance Unit will again deliver an online Professional Development Program for students based in Sydney and abroad. This term we are hosting 2 groups, one with Alex Siegers and one with Alice Hu.

Starting a career as an international student in a new country can be challenging, which is why the Student and Careers Success (SACS) Team created the Professional Development Program! Explicitly designed for international students, this program covers workplace communication skills, recruitment tips, employer expectations, and provides international students the opportunity to participate in Group Consulting Projects hosted by various units across UNSW. 

To help us get to know the eight International students who will be working with us over the next few months, we asked them what they hoped to learn during the program, what their impressions of Australian workplaces were and what instrument they play!

Team Alice

Thu Trang Kelly Dao


Thu Trang (Kelly) Dao I’m currently a third-year student doing a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring Accounting and Finance. I’m an international student from Vietnam but have been living in Australia for 5 years. Currently, I’m in Sydney. As English is not my mother language, I hope I can improve my communication skills and gain confidence to communicate effectively in the workplace. In addition, by working with people from diverse cultures, I will be able to practise teamwork skills and learn to become an active team player. I don’t play an instrument, but I love to listen to instrumental music while studying because it helps me to concentrate. If I have time, I’d love to learn violin because I love the warm sound of violin!

Yunshan Su



Yunshan Su but you can call me Susan. I am from China and study law at UNSW for my master’s degree. I am in the third year of my degree and am currently in Sydney. In this program, I want to gain teamwork and presentation skills. In addition, I hope to make some friends and meet some MPU Alumni. I played the violin for a few years and dabbled in keyboard when I was in kindergarten. It is great to meet you!



Vamsi Krishnaa Ravi Kumar



Vamsi Krishnaa Ravi Kumar but you can call me Vamsi. I’m currently pursuing my Master of Engineering Science, specialising in Mechanical Engineering. I am from India but am currently located in Sydney. This is my last term at UNSW, and I’ll be graduating soon. I hope to learn how to work on a real-life project and more about Western Music, which I don’t have much exposure to except when listening to songs in English. I don’t know how to play any instruments, but I wish to learn to play the ukulele or the guitar!

Nihitha Sudarsan




Nihitha Sudarsan I'm an international student from India. I'm currently pursuing my Masters in Telecommunication Engineering and will be graduating in May 2022. Having been trained in classical vocal and violin for 15 years, I'm passionate about music and am so excited to get to know community members from the MPU and be a part of the UNSW Orchestra.



Our participants span from Sydney to Lahore!


Map of Asia showing location of PDP participants



Team Alex

Abhishek Shyam Wandhare


Abhishek Shyam Wandhare I"m from Nagpur, Maharashtra, India, and currently completing a Masters in Manufacturing Engineering & Management, and this is my last term at UNSW. Due to COVID 19 situation, I’m finishing the program from my home country. My first impression in Australian workplace culture was about punctuality. I notice that for most people abroad, the workday starts at 9 am or even later. Not in Australia, though. Here people usually get to work earlier and start around 8:30 in the morning. However, this doesn’t mean that they also get to leave earlier in the day. On the whole, Australians tend to work longer hours than people in other cultures. In Australia, I noted that people here are sticklers for punctuality. The workplace culture in this country values time above all else. People here appreciate our sense of humour as we use it in our daily lives and work. The last thing the workplace culture in Australia is subject to a lot of rules and regulations. These exist to ensure everyone is safe and comfortable in their workplaces. I don’t play any instrument, but I have an interest in playing the guitar in future.




Marwah I’m a final year Aviation Management student. I’m from Pakistan, but I was born and raised in Saudi Arabia (so I’m bicultural). For me, choosing Australia to study from has been easily one of the best decisions I’ve made. It has enabled me to live and interact with people from different cultural backgrounds. Australian workplace, however, is very different from what I’ve seen in Saudi. It is very laid-back and chill. In my country, however, it is the opposite. That is also why in my country, work feels more like a job than it does in Australia because there’s a lot of workplace hierarchy in place and certain assertiveness applied but I have never witnessed that in the Australian workplace. I think I admire having a little freedom to be myself at work here. Also, I used to play the piano when I was a kid. I was not very good at it but my mum used to clap every time so I guess that should count! 



Gunjan Chaudhari I’m currently in my final trimester studying ‘Master of IT’ at UNSW. I’m from India and have been living in Sydney for about 2 years. Australian work culture seems very ideal because of its relaxed and less formal nature. One of the major differences is that In India, you are most likely to work overtime to meet the strict deadline, but here more work is done in the working hours itself.  I have always been fascinated with the Piano, and I appeared till the Trinity Grade 4 but after I shifted to Sydney, as a lockdown hobby, I learnt to play the acoustic guitar and now I wish to improve on my singing.

Clover (Xinyue) Luo


 Clover (Xinyue) Luo I am doing a Bachelor degree of Actuarial Studies in UNSW. Growing up in China, I have been in Sydney for two years and this is the final year of my degree. My first impression of workplaces in Australia was the high demand for critical thinking and team collaboration. In my home country, as an intern you may not be assigned in a group and sometimes your supervisor would assign the tasks directly and individually to you. But in Australia, the workplace is usually group-oriented. Therefore, verbal communication skills are more significant for international students whose mother language is not English. I also notice that working overtime is more common in China than in Australia. I used to play the piano and I had learned it for 7 years. To be honest, I did not enjoy playing it when I was little, but years after I quit, I realized it would be a great talent. I may consider to pick up this skill when I can afford a piano. Also, I learned a little bit about Guzheng, a Chinese instrument, and guitar just for fun. 


You can find out more about the Professional Development Program and other initiatives for international students on the Current Students website