My Melbourne with Anna Song

January 12 / 78

What is your unit? 

International Relations Office

What is your job title?

International Liaison Officer

How long have you been with the University of Melbourne? 

More than four years (from March 2007)

How did you come to work at the University?

I began working for the University at Asialink as a graduate of Arts (hons) at the University.

Describe your typical day

My days when we are hosting the University’s international visits and events and days when we’re not are quite different. On visit and event days, I’m out of the office, walking all over the campus for really diverse meetings ,which can range meeting the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Global Engagement to a tour of the neo natal Intensive Care Unit at the Children’s. On these days, my ‘people person’ skills are in overdrive, I have to be prepared to manage anything that comes my way, and to do it with a smile.  

On other days, I have the routine of a fairly typical white collar worker in a big organisation. I’m on emails and phone, reading and writing documents, and working on logistics.

It’s a good balance of both.

What is it about your job that holds your interest or is particularly satisfying?

The learning never ends in this job, that’s what I enjoy the most. I meet incredibly interesting and accomplished people, and am able to learn more about the internationalisation of the higher education industry and the art of diplomacy through them – be it the Australia’s ambassador to Kuwait, or the Chairman of Foreign Affairs Committee in the Chinese Congress. 

At the risk of sounding really corny, I love the collegiality of my unit. What we do is achieved through teamwork, and I am incredibly appreciative of that. The boys might kill me for saying this, but sometimes we find ourselves breaking into a Beyonce singalong that cheers everyone up.

What is the best piece of advice you have received?

Never live to regret.

What is something about yourself that most of your colleagues wouldn't know

I co-founded a NGO for women’s human rights, especially for the survivors of the so called ‘Comfort Women’ issue, formally known as military sexual slavery by Japan during WWII. Through this I interpreted for the Korean survivors at the US Congressional Hearing in Washington DC. 

 Where do you buy your coffee on campus?

I love coffee, but my stomach can’t take it very often, so I buy my decaf soy latte wherever they will make it without making fun of me.

What do you like most about the University? 

I’m coming up to 10 years at the University, since I decided to leave home (New Zealand) to pursue studies here. What I like most about this university is that, in my experience at least, it’s a nurturing environment for anyone who really wants to learn.


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