The Melbourne International Student Conference (MISC) is an annual event bringing together local and international students, as well as industry, to learn, exchange ideas, innovate and collaborate to support young people in their personal and professional development.
The conference recognises that governments, not-for-profits, students groups, education institutions, business, alumni and industry professionals are part of an intricately connected ecosystem of networks and relationships, and invites wide-ranging participation and input in the development and delivery of the conference program.
The Melbourne International Student Conference was established in 2014 as a joint partnership between the City of Melbourne and Meld Community.
The conference follows the success of the City of Melbourne’s international student leaders program EDGE 2012, which was designed to enhance international students’ leadership skills and assist them in career management.
The acronym EDGE identified the four planned stages of the Leader’s Program: Experience, Develop, Generate and Execute. Twenty international student leaders were selected for the program, chosen based on their leadership potential in their given field, their strong advocacy for international students and the ways in which they have inspired other young people to accept new challenges.
By collaborating with Meld Community – a NFP organisation with strong grassroots connections to the international student community – the conference has been able to build on the EDGE leadership program, to provide students greater access to leadership and professional development opportunities, including local students.
The inaugural Melbourne International Student Conference was aimed at helping international students develop their skills and build the right connections to excel as a leader in their community and field of study both here in Australia as well as in their home country.
In addition to building international students’ business, entrepreneurship and professional development skills, MISC 2014 was also focused on encouraging creative problem solving and collaboration with young Australians to plug gaps in the community.
MISC 2015 touched on a question young people, educators and employers were all asking – what kind of experiences do students need to succeed in a global marketplace?
The conference in 2015 was focused on helping students develop the capability to relate and work effectively across cultures, gain insight to Asia’s growing influence, and how to acquire the experiences necessary to thrive in a globalised world.
For the first time, the conference also invited industry to be part of the conversation, as well as Australian students interested in exploring opportunities to travel and work overseas, develop their Asia literacy and network and build some useful contacts along the way.
The third Melbourne International Student Conference was by far the most successful to date. The conference theme, ‘The Future of Work’, struck a strong chord with student delegates, who were keen not only to understand job market and trends, employability and entrepreneurship, but engage in deeper questions around the meaning and purpose of work, as well as creating social impact through their careers.
A highlight of the conference was the Future Focus Forum which was featured as part of the City of Melbourne’s Melbourne Knowledge Week, and engaged students to lead the discussion using the Open Space Technology approach.
Students were also introduced to new skills including human-centred design thinking as part of a challenge to find ways to improve social resilience among young people in Melbourne.
The Melbourne International Student Conference in 2017 continued to deliver quality content and professional development opportunities for the international student community. With the ‘Next Gen Now’ theme, the conference invited students to cast a new vision for work and life, exploring topics such as working with meaning and purpose, career success, diversity and women in leadership.
Importantly, the conference was able to celebrate and showcase the achievements and contributions of students and alumni, and provide a unique space for students to work with the international education sector to improve student outcomes through the Design Your Education session.
The Professional Networking Night at the Melbourne Town Hall was a real highlight for many students, which topped their list of “Melbourne experiences”.
2020 was a different, and likely challenging year for everyone. That didn’t stop MISC – true to the ideas behind responding to changing needs in leadership development, MISC 2020 changed to deliver conference material in an accessible online format. For the first time we could reach international student delegates in Melbourne, to regional Victoria, to interstate, and even overseas.