International students in the Australian news and media often carry the negative connotations of being “foreign”, “problems” that are “exploited”. Belle Lim is here to challenge that stereotype. Coming from Malaysia at the age of 17, Belle completed a Bachelor’s degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences with honours as the Gold Medallist, received the prestigious Victorian Premier Award for International Students of the Year in 2019, and is currently pursuing a PhD degree in cancer genetics. Driven by her personal experience, Belle is also a passionate advocate for international students and women of colour. She is the founder of Future Female conference in Victoria and the national president of Council of International Students Australia. Belle joined the So…Podcast to explore her journey so far. From a shy, reserved girl whose culture praised her for being obedient, to a young woman confident in her quest to empower other women from culturally diverse backgrounds. Belle shared the inner thoughts, confusion and breakthroughs that she had throughout this journey of discovering her real abilities, whilst also unpacking the cultural transition that international students are confronted with and how the burden of assimilating is placed solely on international students. Belle strongly believes in the power of representation and role modelling to expand what young people from diverse cultural backgrounds expect from themselves. On tips to ambitious women, she emphasized on the power of knowing your values and having the right attitude – adversities and challenges will come, but it is how you approach them that will ultimately define your journey.
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*Transcript of this interview will soon be available*