Linnea Wastberg leads life at a dizzying pace. In addition to her full-time studies, the Bachelor of Arts in Communication (Social Inquiry) student works part-time in disability support, interns with the City of Sydney and fits in some occasional nannying.
She’s also involved in a raft of programs on campus, including the Peer Network where she welcomes new students and helps them find their way at UTS during Orientation.
It was this experience that stimulated her interest in other extracurricular programs.
“The Peer Network opened my eyes to how many different things you can do at UTS. All the people I met there were involved in so many things, it’s insane. It’s just such a vibrant program, they got me going, ‘Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!’ And I wanted to do more.”
Wastberg is now an active member of BUiLD (Beyond UTS International Leadership Development) and volunteers as a student mentor to help international students practise their conversational English skills through HELPS (Higher Education Language and Presentation Support).
As an international student from Sweden, Wastberg was recommended for a student representative position on UTS’s International Student Liaison Committee by one of her first semester lecturers.
Meeting twice a semester, the committee gives students a chance to discuss issues, voice concerns and explore ways of improving the international student experience at UTS in collaboration with UTS International staff and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International and Advancement).
“One of the problems for international students is the lack of internships or work opportunities. Quite often the internships offered by the bigger firms are targeted for Australian citizens or permanent residents.”
The City of Sydney international student internship program is providing much-needed professional opportunities as part of its broader strategy to engage and support international students.
In her role with the council, Wastberg has contributed to their international education action plan, which addresses questions such as: “How do we attract more international students? How do we make them feel comfortable and safe? How do we help them enjoy their time in Sydney?”
Despite the demands on her time, Wastberg radiates calmness and composure. Having just completed the UTS Accomplish Award – a year-long skills development program run by the Careers Service – she is already on the lookout for new ways to contribute.
“I’ve been in contact with the International Student Collective, in the Students’ Association. Now that I have a bit more time, I’m hoping to be more engaged with that.
“I think while you’re studying, it’s such a great opportunity to get involved in things.”
Wastberg is now in the final year of her studies, and has no immediate plans to return to Sweden.
“When I finish my degree, I can get a two year post-study work visa in Australia, so I’ll probably pick up on that. It would be a waste if I don’t take it – it’s an opportunity I’m never going to be given again.”
She’d also like to see more of the world and is keen to pursue an internship with Amnesty International.
“I went to Vietnam with BUiLD earlier in the year, and some of the organisations we met there do such an amazing job for disadvantaged youth and children. That’s another area that I would really like to get into.”