About ESE

Equal Student Exchange (ESE) is a volunteer-based student network which provides free information about student exchange and study overseas opportunities.

Focusing on providing information to students from developing countries, ESE acknowledges the financial and organisational obstacles these students must often come to face. It is the belief of ESE that both universities and students can benefit through international engagement. A more culturally diverse range of international students will contribute to the continued exchange of knowledge, ideas and culture between different universities and countries.

The volunteers of ESE recognize the importance of establishing enduring educational, cultural and professional links through student exchange.

Follow this link for more in-depth information About Us.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Equal Student Exchange's 1st Anniversary

Our first year of Equal Student Exchange (ESE)
Today (August the 18th, 2012) is Equal Student Exchange's first birthday. After only a year, we have already established an international network of students who all share the values of Equal Student Exchange.   

Reflecting back on the last 12 months...
The (ESE) Community has already made a number of initiatives and activities of engaging with student groups and universities. 

The beginning, a vision of a more equitable system of international education
In essence ESE emerged from a simple vision: that students from developing countries should be able to gain the same opportunities to study overseas as students from any other countries. This vision for an equal exchange of students could be seen as a response to the disparity in purchasing power parity between developing and developed countries, the clear lack of information about study and scholarship opportunities, the difficulties in overcoming other obstacles such as visas and other organisational processes.   

An innovative approach
The idea to have student networks assist other students is not necessarily unheard of. What makes Equal Student Exchange unique is that it involves a grassroots, community-based approach in which students who have had the opportunity to study overseas and have joined our community, contribute back to both their host and home countries. 

The Equal Student Exchange Fair
On November the 19th last year, our network held its first event: an Equal Student Exchange Fair. Like ESE, the event was organised by students for students. Held at Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) in Indonesia, the event welcomed students from throughout the city of Yogyakarta to learn about international study and scholarship opportunities. Throughout the day, Equal Student Exchange (ESE) was represented by students from Australia, Egypt, France, Gambia, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, the Netherlands, South Korea and Sweden. All of these students shared information about their home universities with the many local Indonesian students who visited our information display throughout the day. Overall, the Equal Student Exchange Fair received great interest from the local student community in Yogyakarta. We hope that this Equal Student Exchange Fair will become an annual event as a part of UGM's international culture and food festival (GAMAFEST). 

Following the event representatives of Equal Student Exchange were invited to speak in various seminars and workshops about Equal Student Exchange, scholarships and study opportunities. ESE team members also helped to facilitate the Cross-Cultural Understanding Club (CCUC) at Universitas Gadjah Mada. Many acted as tutors and facilitators of the student society. 

For these positive contributions to the student community of Yogyakarta, Equal Student Exchange was presented with an Award of Appreciation. The award was presented by the Rektor of Universitas Gadjah Mada to ESE in appreciation for the student network's positive contributions to the student community of Universitas Gadjah Mada. 

Information through social media
Since the Equal Student Exchange Fair some of the key members of the Equal Student Exchange Committee returned from their studies to their home university, La Trobe University in Melbourne. Equal Student Exchange has continued to provide information through a wide range of social media. Equal Student Exchange can now be found on facebook through our Community Page, our Indonesia Group Page, our Malaysia Group Page,  twitter, LinkedIn and finally this ESE Blog

Other recent events
Throughout the year, Equal Student Exchange has continued to support grassroots student initiatives and in particular, those events which have supported students from developing countries. These events have included:

The 18th Asia-Pacific Model United Nations (AMUNC2012)
Equal Student Exchange was involved in the facilitating the participation of more than 100 international delegates in attendance at AMUNC2012. ESE was able to reach student groups from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, China, Thailand, Vietnam, New Zealand, Mexico and the U.S. Notably, it was Equal Student Exchange which was first able to reach the attention of the Pacific region. ESE successfully made contact with the student community of the University of the South Pacific (Fiji Campus). Because of ESE's contribution AMUNC2012 was the first Asia-Pacific Model United Nations Conference to engage with the Pacific.  

The Conference of Developing Countries Partnership's Scholars and Academics 2012
In collaboration with the International Students Association of the Non-Aligned Movement (ISANAM-KNB) and Universitas Gadjah Mada, this conference was held as a forum for the discussion of the wide range of issues which are faced by the developing world. As a partner of ISANAM-KNB, ESE was proud to be involved in the promotion and in support of the event.

The First ASEAN-Australia Youth Summit (AAYS)
The AAYS was the first event of its kind to be held in Australia. The event has opened a new pathway for dialogue and collaboration between the many different student councils of Southeast Asia in Australia. Overall the AAYS can be seen as beginning a process of building a strong foundation of cooperation between the Southeast Asian student representative bodies in Victoria and more widely throughout Australia. 103 delegates attended the event. 

The AAYS was driven through a joint effort from the South East Asian student council bodies of Victoria and Australia. This included the Malaysian, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Singaporean and Thai student councils. For more information, visit our article on the post-summit coverage of the event.

Final reflections and thoughts for the future:
Through this past year, Equal Student Exchange has been proud to contribute to the international student community and especially those student groups from developing countries who hope to study overseas. We have been glad to expand our networks, in gaining partnerships, affiliations and awards.  We hope that we can continue to make these positive contributions. 

Stay tuned for upcoming events and how to become further involved in Equal Student Exchange. For further information see the about us section or simply contact us.

AAYS Post-Coverage

The First ASEAN-Australia Youth Summit 
Youth Leaders of Today, Nation Builders Tomorrow 
Official AAYS coverage and outcome of the Summit - Nicholas Metherall 

The First ASEAN-Australia Youth Summit (AAYS), held in Melbourne on the 28th of July, opened a new pathway for dialogue and collaboration between the many different student councils of Southeast Asia in Australia. The event involved raising awareness of ASEAN-Australia relations, the introduction of the ASEAN Student Council of Australia, thought-provoking discussion, cultural performances and the chance to meet many new friends from across the ASEAN region. Overall the AAYS can be seen as beginning a process of building a strong foundation of cooperation between the Southeast Asian student representative bodies in Victoria, and more widely throughout Australia. On the day 103 student delegates attended the event. There were large delegations from Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia, each bringing more than 20 students from their respective student organisations. Medium sized delegations from Singapore (with 12 students), Thailand and the Philippines (6 and 7 students respectively) were also in attendance. The multicultural diversity of the summit was reinforced by modest delegations from Brunei. Australia was represented by the peak body of all tertiary students in Australia, the National Union of Students (NUS).

The organizers of the AAYS came primarily from the student representative councils of Southeast Asian Nations. The first rotational host of the AAYS was the Malaysian Student’s Council of Australia, Victoria (MASCA Victoria). The organizing team was also made up of the Indonesian Students Association of Australia, Victoria (PPIA Victoria), the Melbourne Overseas Vietnamese Student Association (MOVSA), Singaporeans of Victoria (SOV) and the Thai Students Association of Victoria (TSV). Alongside the AAYS Organizing Committee were a number of strategic partners who also made the event possible. These included the City of Melbourne, Contact Singapore and Brady Property Groups.

While in essence a youth summit run by students, the efforts invested in organising the event culminated in the presence of a number of distinguished guests ranging from high diplomatic officials and representatives from ASEAN Governments, to Academics from various educational institutions and student leaders. The list of attendees included the following guests and many more.
1. Australian Ambassador to ASEAN, H.E. Ms. Gillian Bird
2. Indonesian Ambassador to Australia, H.E. Mr. Primo A. Joelianto
3. Acting High Commissioner of Brunei Darussalam, Ms. Rohayaty Yassin
4. Third Secretary of Indonesian Embassy, Mr. Dhani Eko Wibowo
5. Minister Councillor of Vietnamese Embassy, Mr. Quang Trung Nguyen
6. Consul of Indonesia for Victoria & Tasmania, Mr. Irmawan Emir Wisnandar
7. Indonesian Vice Consul for Victoria & Tasmania, Mr. Vitrio Naldi
8. Consul of Malaysia for Victoria, Dr. Mohd. Rameez Yahya
9. Second Secretary (Political) of the Singapore High Commission, Ms. Fiona Zhang
10. Director of Education Malaysia Australia, Dr. Jumiati
11. Melbourne City Councillor, Mr. Ken Ong
12. ASEAN Secretariat Representative, Senior Officer Deborah Tomasowa
13. Director of the Monash Asia Institute, Monash University, Melbourne, Dr. Max Richter
14. Manager, Applied Research and Analysis of Asialink University of Melbourne, Dr. Sally Percival Wood
15. National Union of Students (NUS) President, Donherra Walmsley
16. Council of International Students Council (CISA) President, Mr. Aleem Nizari
17. Council of International Students Council (CISA) Treasurer, Ms Charlotte Wong
18. Australian Federation of International Students (AFIS) Secretary, Beryl Xu

The commonality found among all AAYS guests and delegates was a support for the ASEAN-Australia relationship. As Australia’s first Ambassador to ASEAN, Ms Bird emphasised the importance of the relationship. ASEAN’s “Emerging economies are predicted to experience a sustained long term growth.” As our immediate neighbour this makes ASEAN “enormously significant to our [Australia’s] economy…” 

Many of those speakers at the event also emphasized the importance of connections at the ground level. According to Ambassador Bird, the importance of “people-to-people links” also becomes crucial in strengthening the relationship between Australia and ASEAN. This idea of people-to-people connections is becoming increasingly relevant amidst the growing numbers of international students coming from Southeast Asia to Australia. 

ASEAN Secretariat Member, Ms Tomasowa spoke for the ASEAN member states when she said “We want to send our bright students here for a good education.” Indeed, Ms. Tomosowa emphasised the role of student exchanges as important in order to “establish a strong future relationship” between ASEAN and Australia. These ideas have already been clearly reflected by events such as the AAYS.

“The Youth summit is an excellent example of the power of education to bring people together.” stated Ms Bird. The ambassador expressed her hope that the AAYS would become an annual event.

The student representatives were also given voice throughout the day. There were a number of short introductions from some of the student councils represented within the organizing committee at the summit. There were a number of student bodies present at the AAYS:
1. The Malaysian Students’ Council of Australia, Victoria (MASCA Victoria),
2. The Indonesian Students Association of Australia, Victoria (PPIA Victoria),
3. The Melbourne Overseas Vietnamese Student Association (MOVSA),
4. The Singaporeans of Victoria (SOV)
5. The Thai Students Association of Victoria (TSV).
6. The Council of International Students (CISA).
7. The National Union of Students (NUS)

After the introductions, Ashley Toh (chairperson of MASCA Victoria) proceeded to present the ideas and vision of the ASEAN Students’ Council Australia (ASCA). Some of the purposes of ASCA included helping other Southeast Asian-based student communities to establish state and national level councils. Through doing so, ASCA hopes to establish a strong community of Southeast Asian student leaders in Australia.

To facilitate the discussion about education in ASEAN, the AAYS was privileged to have access to the insights of Dr Max Richter, Director of the Monash Asia Institute at Monash University.

Topics covered included current issues in education, how can these educational systems be improved and finally how can ASEAN students contribute toward building their own nations. After the cultural performances Dr Sally Percival Wood, Manager of Applied Research and Analysis at Asialink, University of Melbourne, led the next round of discussion. Some of the topics included Track II diplomacy, perceptions of Australia and ASEAN held at the ground level and also youth leadership. For some, the event represents the beginning of a significant “paradigm shift” in the words of project Team Leader, Afif Norzal. The shift can be seen as transforming the way in which international students in Australia interact and collaborate, especially those students coming from a Southeast Asian background.


  • The ASEAN-Australia Agenda is now spread from the South-East Asian-based councils to the grass-roots level. This includes affiliated SEA-based university societies. ASCA will work closely with SEA-based councils to facilitate the communication between societies in different universities.
  • Integration of the Bruneians and Filipino student communities. These groups were not the members of the ASEAN-Australia Agenda at the time of its founding due to the small number of students in Victoria. However, they have already taken the first steps towards integration. ASCA has been in close communication with these groups to assist the formation of state councils for these two ASEAN student communities.
  • This has resulted in the establishment of Filipino Australian Student Council, Victoria (FAStCo Victoria) for the Filipino students in Victoria.
  • The Summit also catalysed the enactment of a regular meeting of ASCA to be held on a fortnightly basis.
  • Relationships were deepened not only between student groups but also between the ASEAN students and the respective ASEAN embassies and consulate general offices.
  • The announcement of the 2nd ASEAN-Australia Youth Summit to be held in Melbourne in 2013. The 2nd AAYS will be opened up to all states to allow the ASEAN-Australia Agenda to spread more effectively across Australia.

While the next ASEAN Australia Youth Summit will not be held until 2013, the sense of ASEAN solidarity remains strong with a number of upcoming events.

About Me

My photo
"Equal Student Exchange" (ESE) - non-profit/grassroots community, is a student network made up of students who want to help make international student exchange a more equal process. We hope to do this by assisting students from developing countries gain access to information and opportunities about studying/vocational experience overseas. Our audience is primarily students who want to study/travel overseas. The information we provide may include advice about: *International Universities, *Costs and fees (travel/living/study), *Procedures for obtaining Visas, *Possible support through scholarships and grants, *General tourism information, *Other study overseas opportunities Programs and conferences overseas. *international conferences Benefits and Opportunities: This is an opportunity to bring local and international students together, make new friends and give students from developing countries the same opportunities that are enjoyed by students from advanced developed countries. The group also encourages international students to contribute back to the university and community which is hosting them.