Why The Lord Mayor Of Brisbane Is So Good At Making Friends
Forget friendship bracelets, no one celebrates friendship better than the Lord Mayor of Brisbane, who showed his appreciation of international students at Griffith University by awarding them with a certificate for making such decision in choosing Brisbane as their adopted city.
Social media reporter Hannah Sbeghen attended the Friendship Ceremony last Friday night at Griffith University’s Nathan campus where she was captivated by traditional Indigenous dances and good company as she had the pleasure of meeting students from all over the world, who shared with her why they are so crazy about studying in Brisbane.
What draws people together as friends – common interests, values, what about a city?
Brisbane is buzzing with more than 75,000 international students who share a special bond with the city, by sharing their culture and in return learning more about Brisbane’s culture.
Lord Mayor, Graham Quirk, in partnership with Study Brisbane said he is grateful to all international students who pick Brisbane as their place of study and he offers them ongoing support.
“They [international students] are making our world stronger.” The Lord Mayor said.
Kenzoku, is a Japanese word which suggests a strong bond or a deep connection of friendship – but is it possible to feel this bond, a word described by Kenzoku in a city like Brisbane?
The word Kenzoku may ring a bell to Haruka Fujihiru, an international student from Japan who defines it well.
“The best friendships are not only between friend, but also a city,” she said.
“Moving to Brisbane was a life changing phase, it was the best time of my life,” Haruka said.
“Although I was only supposed to be here for six months I was motivated by other international students to stay,” she said.
“I have a secret spot in Brisbane that I love. I’m not going to tell you too much, but it’s in Bulimba on Oxford Street. It’s a hidden local spot with beautiful architecture.”
With international education creating more than 20,000 local jobs, The Lord Mayor says he is connected to businesses who will support students with real world experience.
“I am continually talking to businesses about offering opportunities in this city, offering internships, trainee ships, opportunities to gain some of that real life experience in Australia.”
Griffith University has been dubbed a quintessentially Australian campus as it allows students to engage in worlds of different cultures, 130 different cultures to be exact.
International student Shirley Kaupa from Papua New Guinea is doing her masters in International Relations and admits she has an undeniable passion for understanding the world.
“I wouldn’t mind being a policy maker, but I’m really interested in becoming a diplomat,”
“I feel very strongly about human rights issues and in particular exploitation of natural resources and the treatment of native peoples in Papua New Guinea.”
Shirley who was invited to attend a Young Leaders Forum says she is not only focused on understanding her own country, but has a more global perspective.
The Lord Mayor says Brisbane can be Australia’s new world city through innovation, economic and social advancement and understanding the environment.
“At Griffith University there is strong emphasis on the environment and upon Asian studies.” The Lord Mayor said.
Brisbane Marketing Manager, Trish Hannan says the current student ambassadors of Study Brisbane have up to 30,000 social media connections.
“They use those connections to tell people about life in the city and what students can do,” Ms Hannan said.
“The work the ambassadors do connects them with the potential for internships and then potential jobs later down the track, and that’s what it’s all about.” She said.
Ms Hannan says Study Brisbane has been running since 2009 but the program endeavours to stay in touch with students after they leave each year.
“We have an alumni dinner each year to celebrate their involvement,” Ms Hannan said.
“We also keep in touch to find out where they’ve gone and what type of jobs they’ve got.” She said.
Through Facebook and other social media, The Brisbane Mayor wants to form a lifelong friendship with international students studying in Brisbane and urges them to stay in touch.
“For those of you who leave Brisbane to pursue careers – please stay in touch. We want to know how you’re progressing and how you’re making our world a better place,” The Lord Mayor said.
“We ask you that when you leave to take something of Brisbane in your heart.” He said.