Q&A with Monash University Admissions VP, Sunny Yang

With more international school students looking to emerging destinations for undergraduate study, ISL Magazine interviewed Sunny Yang, Associate Vice President of Student Recruitment and Admissions at Australia’s Monash University to explore the opportunities it offers for international students:

ISL Magazine: Thanks for talking with us Sunny. Can you tell us a little about Monash University?

Sunny: Monash University is Australia’s largest and most international university. Based in Melbourne, Australia, we are consistently ranked in the top 100 universities in the world. The university is home to a range of world-leading facilities and technologies, giving it wide-ranging capabilities across many fields, sectors and industries. Monash works with a variety of industry, government and community groups, allowing its researchers to share their discoveries with the world. Monash is a truly global institution, with five Australian campuses, a campus in Malaysia, a joint graduate school in China, a learning centre in Italy, and a research centre in India.  Monash is ranked:

  • 75th globally in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020.

  • 73rd globally and third in Australia in Shanghai Ranking's Academic Ranking of World Universities 2019.

  • 58th globally according to the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings 2020.

  • Ranked 6th in world in the Times Higher Education Golden Age university ranking 2019.


We are proud to a wide range of undergraduate courses in both single and double degrees, and extensive international study experiences.

ISL: What are the typical challenges international students face when considering undergraduate degree options outside of their home country?

Sunny: International students typically ask the following questions:

  • Can I acquire the appropriate VISA to enter the nominated country?

  • Will the qualifications I gain be recognised in my home country? This is particularly so for those students who are seeking to study a professional degree e.g. Law, Medicine, Engineering etc.

  • How will I support my studies and living expenses?

  • Are there any opportunities for post study work rights and employment?

  • How will I cope without my friends and families (what’s the support network)?


ISL: Students are considering many more countries these days as possible destinations for higher education. Is this something that you are experiencing at Monash University and if so, how is this evidenced?

Sunny: Over the past few years, we have witnessed more students being attracted to Monash University due to our international focus, campus network, study and project opportunities we provide to our students globally. As a research-intensive university that works closely with both industry, governments and partner institutions across the world, this underpins our teaching pedagogy. Whether you’re an international student, or domestic, we do encourage all of our students to build intercultural competency and aim to become a global citizen.


ISL: Do you think international students who are learning (prior to university) at English-medium international schools are prepared for overseas undergraduate degree study in a different way to international students studying in their local public schools? How might their entry pathways differ?

Sunny: Monash University admit students from multiple channels and qualification pathways. Many students who studied in local public schools entered Monash University via Monash’s pathway program, with a small number entering direct.  Students who studied at English medium international schools are prepared to enter universities directly; with pathway as options if they need additional support.

ISL: What information do you think international students need at the selection stage to help them make an informed decision about studying an undergraduate degree course in Australia?

Sunny: Student’s might like to consider the selection stage across two phases:

Phase 1, you must understand

  • your curriculum entry requirements, pre-requisites, and English entry requirements

  • the courses on offer

  • documentation required in order to be selected into the course


Phase 2, relates to the lifestyle and support services, this includes the following considerations:

  • The Australian lifestyle and the city you will study

  • Accommodation

  • Cost of living and other living expenses

  • Scholarships

  • Student support services such as campus security, student services, airport pick up, clubs, communities, transport options


ISL: How does Monash University engage, inform and support international students during this selection period?

Sunny: My department actively provides a high level of support to international students. This includes:

  • Proactively contacting prospective students via emails and phone calls throughout the application/selection period

  • We also engage with students through online information sessions (such as webinars), campus tours and recruitment expos/events

  • We have a team dedicated to managing inbound student enquiries that relate to course information, entry requirements, the application process, offer acceptance and online enrolment


We also provide great support to international school college counsellors by providing:

  • Tailored advice and presentations, online support, webinars and video conferencing

  • Access to key academics for in-classroom presentations

  • Professional development days including counsellor experience weeks to tailored opportunities relevant to your needs

  • Career planning where you can gain access to videos of alumni and career fact sheets

  • Secured access to valuable information on Monash admission requirements, academic programs, and the application process 

Clayton campus

ISL: What support does Monash provide for its international students prior to them arriving in Australia?

Sunny: Monash is committed in helping to support student transition prior to an on arrival. This includes the following:

Pre- arrival:

  • On–boarding information for commencing new students including the publication “Destination Monash”, plus podcasts and videos presented by students to facilitate the transition of international students to Monash

  • Pre-arrival briefings in selected countries – in-country presentations and webinars

  • Amigo – a bespoke social media platform that allows commencing Monash students join faculty, campus and interest-based groups, make friends, and feel part of the community 


On arrival:

  • Free airport pick-up service to take commencing international students to their accommodation

  • Comprehensive orientation program, including workshops such as “New to Melbourne”, “Working in Australia”, safety presentations by Victorian Police, accommodation information and Wominjeka (the official Welcome to Monash event whereby students learn about Indigenous Australian culture, and engage in social activities).

  • Monash Essentials - an on-line module for international students to smooth their transition to Monash and help them prepare for orientation by introducing services and how to access them. 


ISL: How can college counsellors and parents guide students once their destination is selected and they are preparing to relocate overseas?

Sunny: It is important that counsellors and parents work closely with the institution and gather as much information as possible. At Monash, we actively facilitate information sessions relating to “pre-departure” through webinars, or email. It is important that all future students consider their accommodation options, subject selection and clubs and societies, part-time work, etc. well in advance of any arrival date.  In addition to this, Monash has created a landing page and app to support this transition to Australia. The ‘Get Started’ tool can be found at https://www.monash.edu/get-started?student=international  


ISL: How does Monash University support its international students once they are in-country, especially during the early months?

Sunny: We do a great deal to ensure our international students are happy and supporting during their time in Australia:

  • We encourage all students to participate in orientation week whereby they will be familiarised with the campus and university services, access to faculty relevant information and build life lasting networks through clubs and societies days.

  • A wide range of services and support are available to international students, from accommodation and advocacy, to IT, food, health and clubs. You can find out more here:  www.monash.edu/students/international

  • We offer the MonTRACK program: a peer to peer contact program where senior students call students in their first year (undergraduates) or semester (postgraduates) at Monash. The senior student advisors provide timely transition messages, advice and referrals for relevant services.

  • Peer mentoring programs. Faculty peer mentoring pairs commencing first-year undergraduate students with a senior student who can provide guidance and support, to help them settle and succeed in their first year at university.

  • 1,600 international students live on campus and have access to the Monash Residential Services support and a range of opportunities for social connections and leadership.

  • For those not living on campus, the non-residential college program is popular with international students. There are eight such colleges which provide members with support and mentorship from college advisers, a sense of community and a range of social and cultural activities.

  • English Connect is a free co-curricular program focusing on developing communication skills, and academic and conversational language in cultural contexts. For example, “Let’s Chat” is a 10-week program for students who are new to Monash and Australia. It aims to assist with transition and engagement, build confidence in English as well as developing linguistic and sociocultural skills suitable for Australia.

Sunny Yang is Associate Vice President, Student Recruitment and Admissions, Monash University. https://www.linkedin.com/in/sunny-yang-gaicd-720a4125/?originalSubdomain=au

Further information about Monash University can be found here: https://www.linkedin.com/school/monash-university/

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