Living on the EDGE: Shumin Sabrina Zhao

WHAT do you like to do in your spare time? Sabrina Zhao from China is passionate about learning from different cultures, and she does so through voluntary work.

What’s your name, and how old are you?

My name is Shumin (Sabrina) Zhao. I am 22.


Where are you from? Where and what course or program are you doing?

China. I am pursuing a Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Melbourne, majoring in accounting and finance.


How long have you been in Melbourne for and why did you choose to come to Melbourne?

I have been here for two years. I chose Melbourne because I have heard that Melbourne was a great place to live and study.


Did you come alone or with family?

I came alone.


What got you into the EDGE program? And what are you expecting to get from the program?

While volunteering at the International Student Service of the University of Melbourne, my coordinator introduced this program to me. I believe that EDGE provides a good opportunity to discover my potential. I am looking forward to improving my leadership skills as well as exploring my career possibilities through this program. I would also like to form long-lasting friendships with other leaders and learn from them.


What does leadership mean to you?

I regard a leader as more than a delegator, but also a motivator of his or her team members to be involved and working effectively as a team, in order to complete a task efficiently.


What or who do you draw inspiration from, and why?

I am frequently inspired by my family, friends and people I interact with. My family and friends are always there for me during difficult times. They have encouraged me to be confident about myself, strive for excellence and never give up my dreams.


If you could champion one cause for international students in Melbourne, what would it be?

A friendly, inclusive environment where people of different cultures can meet and interact.



What, in your opinion, is the most common misunderstanding/stereotype that people have of international students in Melbourne?

They are apathetic towards the local culture and hence will not take the effort to adapt to it.


What do you like to do in your spare time?

I enjoy sports such as jogging and badminton, as well as attending group fitness classes.


What are your other talents/hobbies outside the classroom?

I am passionate about learning about different cultures and I do so through various voluntary work. For example, I was a volunteer in Thailand, where I worked with the locals and learnt more about their culture.


Where is your favourite spot to hang out in Melbourne?

Restaurants – I have an endless passion for yummy food.


What song gets you pumped or excited? Think Eye of the Tiger or Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor”  or any Bon Jovi track.

Doraemon theme song.


If I had a million dollars I would…. spend a proportion of it studying abroad; donate a proportion to various charitable organisations that help needy students pursue higher education, and another proportion on investments.

If I only had $5 I would…. buy a two hour tram ticket and explore a suburb that I have never visited before. Or I would use the $5 to print out my resumes and cover letters, which might help me obtain a part-time job. Or if I were starving, I would cook a big meal for myself. $5 is enough to buy some vegetables and eggs.


Sabrina is among the 20 international student leaders selected to take part in the City of Melbourne’s EDGE 2012 program.

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