NSW International Students of the Year - Graduate Bijay Sapkota named co-winner

Mr Bijay Sapkota from Kathmandu, Nepal, has been named as a co-winner of the 2016 NSW International Student of the Year – Higher Education award by StudyNSW under the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet, recognising his ongoing efforts to build strong connections between Australian and Nepalese communities.

Nominated by UTS:INSEARCH, the pathway to the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Mr Sapkota attended the prize ceremony at the Sydney Opera House on 11 October 2016 where he was announced as a co-winner with Ms Sumiya Sultan, a Bangladeshi student from Macquarie University. Ms Sultan was recognised for working to raise the profile of women in engineering, organising events and for initiating and leading a Women in Science and Engineering initiative.

UTS:INSEARCH Managing Director, Alex Murphy says UTS:INSEARCH is proud of the organisation’s network of alumni which includes outstanding individuals such as Mr Sapkota. “Each year, UTS:INSEARCH helps thousands of students develop the skills and confidence needed to succeed at university and then in the workforce,” says Mr Murphy. “Bijay is a high-profile member of the UTS community who has shown maturity and leadership, taking on many extracurricular activities while studying in Sydney.”

Mr Sapkota completed UTS Foundation Studies and the Diploma of Engineering at UTS:INSEARCH before progressing to UTS where he is currently studying civil engineering.

“Whether representing students on the UTS:INSEARCH and UTS Student Councils or connecting Australian and Nepalese, Bijay shows a genuine passion for helping the community.

“UTS, UTS:INSEARCH and the wider Australian and international communities congratulate Bijay and Sumiya on winning this award,” said Mr Murphy.

Mr Sapkota, took on a very active role supporting students following the devastating Nepalese earthquake in April 2015 which killed and injured thousands. At that time, a large Nepalese cohort of students was understandably very concerned for the welfare of their family and friends, and Mr Sapkota assisted in facilitating close interaction and support for these students. He also coordinated fundraising efforts which raised more than $40,000 for Nepalese families.

Mr Sapkota said he was honoured to be named as a finalist and co-winner for the 2016 NSW International Student of the Year Awards, crediting his success to the support he has received from the Nepalese community and education supporters.

“I would like to thank my family, UTS:INSEARCH, the UTS Nepalese Society, Help Nepal Network and all the communities, especially the Nepalese community in Australia, who have worked with me,” said Mr Sapkota.

“This award encourages me to continue empowering youth and helping to enhance multiculturalism in Australia and this would not be possible without support from my peers and community,” he said.

Another UTS-supported winner

joiningthedots, a community group which runs the Welcome Dinner Project was named the NSW International Student Community Engagement Award winner: Business/Community Group at the ceremony last night. The Welcome Dinner Project connects those who are new to Australia with locals for an evening of cultural exchanges and new friendships. UTS International works closely with joiningthedots to help international students feel more at home by participating in these dinners to encourage a two-way interaction which share stories and food.

In announcing the finalists in September, NSW Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres said international students are making extraordinary contributions to their communities while completing their studies.

”The NSW International Student Awards acknowledge that while receiving the highest quality education, international students are making a huge contribution not only to life on campus but across the wider community.” Mr Ayres said.

UTS:INSEARCH Graduate Bijay Sapkota