Krystal Agourram
A Holistic Education Experience

International students, especially those in ELICOS programs, want more than just the classroom experience. They expect a holistic educational experience that prepares them not only with academic skills, but also culturally and socially so that they can confidently engage with, and integrate into, the university and the wider community. ELICOS students in particular need English to communicate, but without confidence in their ability to engage with those outside their language and cultural groups, they risk isolation and disappointment with their educational experience.

To equip Deakin University English Language Institute (DUELI) students with the skills necessary for this, we offer an extracurricular program aimed at developing and enhancing leadership, communication, teamwork and social skills. The program is multilayered to provide a variety of opportunities to students dependent on where they are in their academic lifecycle. The training undertaken, skills developed and role requirements increase in complexity along the journey from student volunteer to graduating professional. Those students not wishing to participate in these programs are still able to benefit by attending the weekly social program run by the student leaders and student volunteers. Through this program we have been able to observe students’ progress from student volunteers, to student leaders, to confident professionals who feel better equipped in both their academic and professional lives and who, in turn, want to give back to the university community.

Krystal Agourram is the Student Experience and Engagement Coordinator at the Deakin University English Language Institute (DUELI). During her four and a half years in the role she has worked to develop a non-academic program to enhance the sense of student community for English language students while also increasing their sense of connectedness with the wider Deakin community. Her focus is supporting students to develop strong social support networks and to encourage help-seeking behaviour. Prior to this role she worked overseas as an ESL teacher and managed the Student Rights and Support Service on a number of Monash University campuses.