Celebrating our NSW International Student of the Year Award finalists

Recognising our remarkable international students
Ashrika Paruthi and Olaitan Temitope Ogunbodede have been named finalists in the NSW International Student of the Year Awards – Higher Education. Learn about their wide-reaching impact and contributions to our community.

Olaitan Temitope Ogunbodede has been named this year's NSW International Student of the Year. 

The University of Sydney Business School's Job Smart Program has won this year's NSW International Engagement Award – Education Providers. 

Two University of Sydney students, Ashrika Paruthi and Olaitan Temitope Ogunbodede, have been named finalists in this year's NSW International Student of the Year Awards. The annual Awards recognise and celebrate the contributions made by individual students to communities in NSW.

We hear from Ashrika and Olaitan to learn about the impact they're making in their local communities and what it means to be an international student at USYD. 

The three finalists of the NSW International Student of the Year Awards. From left to right: Ratih Arruum Listiyandini (UNSW), Olaitan Temitope Ogunbodede (USYD) and Ashrika Paruthi (USYD)

Ashrika, Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Advanced Studies (Honours) student, is a passionate advocate for our international student community.

She has taken on numerous roles at the University, in the Student Representative Council (SRC) as an International Student Officer, as well as with our student publication Honi Soit and on the Dalyell Scholars Liaison Committee. 

Ashrika Paruthi

Ashrika represents the Indian student community in the Australia India Business Council, advocating for better educational experiences for Indian students in Australia.

She is also a keen advocate for international students' health, supporting the design and delivery of the International Student Health Hub as a consortium member as well as regularly voluteering at the Hub. 

Olaitan Temitope Ogunbodede 

Growing up in Owo, a region in the Southwest of Nigeria, Olaitan saw first-hand how disease impacted his community. New and emerging diseases, including Malaria, Lassa fever and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, are common in the region, and some, like new types of cancer, have become endemic and remain difficult to treat, control or eliminate. 

However, in the face of community health challenges, Olaitan was determined to make a positive difference. He obtained a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, from Obafemi Awolowo University, and took on numerous volunteering activities which focused on public health in the region. 

Now he's a PhD (Medicine and Health) candidate at our University, is a keen advocate for international students' health and has remained an avid volunteer, this time in Western Sydney.

Being able to contribute to the health outcomes of people, particularly at their most vulnerable state, is well and truly inspiring
Olaitan Ogunbodede

When he's not studying, raising awareness of the impacts of COVID-19 on sexual health and sexually transmitted diseases or volunteering with the Great Lakers Agency for Peace and Development (GLAPD), he's providing clinical care at Blacktown Emergency Department.

The Department is one of the busiest in the Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD). In 2021-22, Blacktown Hospital saw 18,334 patients presenting to the emergency department, which is an average of around 50 people a day (source: AIHW National Non-admitted Patient Emergency Department Care Database). 

But, despite the challenges of working in a busy emergency department, Olaitan feels rewarded and grateful to have the opportunity to impact so many lives each day.

"Being able to contribute to the health outcomes of people, particularly at their most vulnerable state, is well and truly inspiring," said Olaitan. 

"My work is made remarkably seamless as it's being done in a well-supported environment, with contributions from highly passionate staff and co-workers, and where patient safety and care is at the centre of every decision and policy." 

Olaitan Temitope Ogunbodede 

Being an international student himself, Olaitan knows how daunting it can be to live and study in a new country. He recognises that a welcoming and supportive environment at university can make all the difference, and he's thankful to have experienced this at our University. 

"I've attended a number of School organised events where international students have been able to showcase their culture and personalities in very diverse and unique ways, which speaks to how our institution welcomes everyone, regardless of their background," he said.

In all that Olaitan does, in his studies, advocacy, volunteering and healthcare work, he hopes his contributions to both the University and his local community make a lasting impact. 

"Particularly in the wake of the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to lives and communities all around the world, I hope to inspire the next generation of scientists and passionate scholars to make a difference and advance their careers through world-class education." 

The University of Sydney Business School Job Smart Program is also a finalist in the NSW International Education Engagement Awards – Edcuation Providers

The Job Smart Program supports international students studying Business to overcome challenges in finding jobs and connecting with communities in NSW. More than 3000 students have completed the program, accessing networking and coaching opportunities, as well as work experience. 

Updated: 2 November 2023.

23 October 2023

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