The 2024 Mayor’s Student Ambassadors are from 13 countries, representing 11 Gold Coast education and training providers in what is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Over the year the Ambassadors will encounter a range of activities which will see them grow academically, personally and professionally within a program that’s designed to build a deeper understanding of themselves, their fellow students and the wider Gold Coast community.


What does it take to become a Mayor’s Student Ambassador? Read on to discover what makes the 2024 contingent such an exceptional group of young people and remember. , if you’d like to share their journey with them, just follow their amazing experiences on social media.

Chauncey Hachero

Chauncey Hachero (Philippines)

Diploma of Health Sciences pathway to BS Biomedical Sciences, Griffith College

I come from the Philippines, specifically the capital city of Manila. I came to the Gold Coast because I wanted better opportunities. My course is the pathway to work in the healthcare industry as a doctor. In the Philippines, people who take courses similar to mine are limited to studying animals and plants, yet here in Australia I get to observe real human specimens. There is a big financial contrast between the two countries, especially in education.  

I also wanted to study here to spend more time with my grandparents. They have been living in Australia for 45 years now and ever since I was a kid I would visit them and take trips to the Gold Coast. I thought I was going to be lonely, knowing that the Filipino population in my desired field is low I thought that I would keep to myself most of the time. But that was just wrong; my two closest friends are from Bangladesh and Indonesia. 

I wanted to become a Mayor’s Student Ambassador because I’m in love with what the program provides; the people you get to meet, the places you can go, and the opportunities that await. I was told I was the first one to apply this year!  I’m really looking forward to the Civic Ceremony. Being from outside the country it is a struggle to identify yourself with the country you moved into. But meeting the Mayor will make me say to myself, ‘I am here and I belong here’. Because who gets to shake hands and be inducted by the Mayor? That doesn't happen every day.  

Charlotte Stent

Charlotte Stent (Australia)

Student, Benowa State High School and Certificate III in Business, Aurora Training

I was born in Townsville, Queensland - a military child. My father was posted to Enoggera a few years after I was born, so my primary school years were actually spent in Scarborough, north Brisbane. Our family then chose to move to the Gold Coast for my high school years as I had won a cultural scholarship into one of Benowa State High School’s wonderful excellence programs.  

The school’s wide range of opportunities, its diverse mix of different cultures and motto of Many Pathways, No Limits encouraged me to try new things. I chose to pursue a school-based traineeship as it gives me more career options and avenues to explore; when I graduate, I hope to continue working within the film and TV industry, and ultimately secure a corporate leadership position within the arts or tourism.  

The great thing about life on the Gold Coast is the balance; you get to choose both lifestyle and study. I applied to become a Mayor’s Student Ambassador because I wanted the opportunity to represent our student community within the Gold Coast, to utilise my leadership skills and to add to them. Having seen the calendar of events and activities planned for us all, it’s amazing! I’m feeling very grateful.  

Dennis Nguyen

Quach Khang Dat (Dennis) Nguyen (Vietnam)

Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science, Griffith University

I was born in Ca Mau, a seaside town in the far south of Vietnam. I relocated to Ho Chi Minh City  at VNU-HCM High School for the Gifted, where I discovered my passion for biology. My Uncle told me about the Gold Coast - he was living in Melbourne before visiting the Gold Coast for a vacation; he fell in love with the city and chose to relocate here. He called and asked if I wanted to come here and study abroad for the first time in my life. I answered ‘yes’ right away.  

My dream career is to use emerging technology, such as artificial intelligence, to develop new treatments for diseases and improve medical devices. I researched Griffith University's educational offerings, specifically the degree I am pursuing. I had faith that the Gold Coast would be the next place that would greatly assist me in my personal development and, gratefully, I was correct! The Gold Coast turned out to be one of my life’s best experiences.  

Every day is filled with so many new lessons and journeys. I am excited by the opportunity to engage in unique experiences with other Mayor’s Student Ambassadors, to improve my social skills and to meet and connect with new people from many different backgrounds. 

Reshma Joshy

Reshma Joshy (India)

Master of Business, majoring in Event Management, Griffith University

I was born in India and raised in the Middle East. During my early years of schooling my family was based in Saudi Arabia; later we moved to Oman, which is where I graduated from high school. Growing up in the Middle East I was always surrounded by other expatriates, and this exposed me to a multicultural environment from a very young age.  

Having completed my Diploma in Event Management and then working in the events industry in Dubai for 5+ years, I wanted to take the next step in my career by pursuing higher education. I chose Griffith University because of its affiliation with the Institute of Managers and Leaders Australia and New Zealand (IML ANZ), offering fast-tracked access to Chartered Manager status. 

The decision to enrol at the Gold Coast campus was easy, because my best friend from high school moved to Brisbane and was always talking about how great the Gold Coast is and asking me to come visit. She was sure I would love it and she was absolutely right! As a Mayor’s Student Ambassador I hope to become part of a larger community and to represent international students on the Gold Coast. The many one-of-a-kind experiences and networking opportunities are an added bonus! I feel very fortunate.  

Oksana Itpekova

Oksana Itpekova (Russia)

Adult Migrant English Program, TAFE

I’m from Siberia, one of the coldest places in Russia, where the winter temperature can drop to minus 45 degrees Celsius! Just after I was born my parents moved from Russia to Germany. We lived there for four years, and I could even speak German - now I don’t remember a single word! After we returned to Russia, I finished school and received a Diploma in Accounting. I met my future husband and he shared with me his dream of moving to Australia. This dream became ours but, with a lot of work and very little time to learn English, it was challenging. 

I am now a TAFE student, learning English in the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP). Before we moved I didn’t speak English. It is very important for me to be part of society, so it was my first goal when I moved to Australia to learn it fast. The education system in Australia surprised me. Unlike Russia, where training is very strict, in Australia the teachers love to joke and learning is fun. 

 A year later, I have many friends who are from Russia and Ukraine, and I am so happy because we really help each other. But now is the time to move on. I want to step out of my comfort zone and take up new opportunities while meeting amazing people. This year's Mayor’s Student Ambassador program is a chance for me to grow personally and professionally. My next step is to get a degree or certificate in an area such as social media marketing or video production, or maybe even both!  

Meiyi Li (china)

Meiyi Li (China)

Master of Social Work, Southern Cross University

I come from Wuhan, China, which is also the hometown of Mulan, the legendary woman whose story was made into a classic animation by Disney and whose spirit I grew up with.  As the only child in my family, my parents gave me unlimited love and support as I grew up. I was free to study painting, piano, dance, film and philosophy without considering whether they would bring financial benefits, which also allowed me more life experiences. 

The challenge of life has always attracted me to pursue and I have traveled to nearly 20 countries where I have: earned an adventure sea diving certificate in 'God's Aquarium' in Indonesia; explored the love legend of Ramses II in the Egyptian Museum; touched the historic Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia, felt the early morning serenity of Japan’s Mount Fuji at a shrine; and talked to the local elderly in the old city of Dubai. I know that the world still has many unknown surprises waiting for me to discover. 

In China I completed a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master of Philosophy, however I’ve been doing social work for the last three years in China and I deeply love this profession. It not only supports people, but also fills my heart. 

My enthusiasm for applying to be a Mayor’s Student Ambassador stems from my love for this city. I hope to build a stronger interpersonal network here to support my future career. The experience of working as a travel blogger for many years drives me to explore more travel-related pleasures on the Gold Coast, and this program will undoubtedly support me in developing more possibilities in the field of social work and travel blogging. I want to share my culture and learn about the cultures of other countries through my ambassadorial role. I want to be a spokesperson for my community and advocate for intercultural communication. This project is an opportunity to amplify my voice, which I hope will enable me to give back and make a positive impact in any way I can. 

Shinya Kamata

Shinya Kamata (Japan)

Commercial Cookery and Kitchen Management, Imagine Education

When I was a child growing up in Tokyo I was absorbed in playing soccer for more than eight years. I was a little introverted, but I enjoyed it a lot and made many friends. I entered Rikkyo University in Tokyo after I graduated from high school, majoring in sociology and specialising in media communications and contemporary cultures. Now I am studying cookery because I have a passion for cooking a variety of cuisines. 

What surprised me most about the Gold Coast is that the people here are very friendly and kind. I feel more comfortable spending my time in this city than I expected. Besides this, I discovered that the Gold Coast is a multicultural city where I can communicate with people from many different backgrounds. With its subtropical climate, this city enables me to try a wide range of outdoor activities, such as stand up paddle boarding and beach volleyball. I often go to Burleigh Heads and chill out there with friends over a coffee to relieve my stress.  

I am passionate about participating in the Mayor’s Student Ambassador Program because I want to be closely involved in the local community and build new networks. I’ve been living on the Gold Coast for about nine months so far, and I feel that it’s a very comfortable place to live. Having said that, I sometimes feel that the cultural differences and language barriers can be challenging. Up until now I’ve been hesitant to attend networking events here, but I really want to step out of my comfort zone and try to make new connections throughout this program. 

I want to grow personally and professionally through this program by taking on a variety of challenges with no hesitation, though I cannot speak English very fluently. Also, I hope to build strong connections with other students and learn diverse perspectives from them. Eventually I would like to start a new career as a chef in Australia from the skills I’ve learned here. My ultimate goal is to own a restaurant that serves modern Japanese cuisine. 

Elnaz Pourandalibi

Elnaz Pourandalibi (Canada)

Bachelor of Law (Honours), Griffith University

I was born in Tehran, Iran. I lived there until I was nine years old, and then my family moved to Caracas, Venezuela. After three years there, we moved to Vancouver Canada and have called it home since. Life in Tehran was filled with vibrant cultural experiences and a strong sense of community; the transition to Caracas was both exhilarating and challenging, while moving to Vancouver brought its own set of opportunities and struggles.  

I first heard about the Gold Coast when applying to university here. In Canada, I was studying a Bachelor of Science at the University of British Columbia. I decided that I no longer wanted to pursue a career in healthcare, so I took my chance with law, applied to Griffith University and absolutely fell in love with it!  

The Gold Coast has exceeded my expectations in terms of both academic and professional opportunities, as well as quality of life. Here, I’ve embraced every opportunity with open arms! In return, I wanted to become a Mayor’s Student Ambassador to make my mark on the Gold Coast. I am passionate about our community and believe that active engagement and representation of student voices is crucial for fostering positive change. I see these opportunities as pathways for personal growth and skill enhancement and in the process I'm eager to embrace new experiences and push myself beyond my limits.  

Anika Kalalo

Anika Kalalo (Philippines)

Master of Business with a Human Resources Major, Griffith University

I was born and raised in Manila, a city that blends fast-paced modern living with traditional Filipino values. Growing up in Manila with my supportive family was a wonderful experience, especially being surrounded by the diverse and delicious cuisine of the Philippines. I have a background in HR, particularly in learning and development, that has fuelled my passion for continuous learning and working closely with people. 

I first discovered the Gold Coast while researching the best universities in Australia for my degree and came across testimonials from international students. When I found out that Griffith University had a campus here, I immediately fell in love with the idea of studying and living in such a beautiful place. The stunning photos of the Gold Coast captured my heart, and I knew this was the perfect location for me to pursue my studies. 

I wanted to become a Mayor's Student Ambassador because I was determined to step out of my comfort zone and embrace the risks for personal and professional growth, and to inspire those who may doubt themselves by showing that if I can do it, then they can too. Additionally, I want to showcase the beauty of the Gold Coast to the world - the vibrant community, stunning beaches, and everything else I love about this city. 

Nick Hill

Nicholas Hill (Australia)

Student at The Southport School

I am originally from the Gold Coast, but for a year I had the unique opportunity to live in Serbia and attend a local school. It was a profoundly enriching experience, connecting me to my mother's Serbian heritage; I learnt the language and immersed myself in local customs and traditions, which have left a lasting impact on my view of the world.  

Becoming a Mayor’s Student Ambassador aligns perfectly with my passion for the Gold Coast and my active involvement in our community. Throughout my time at The Southport School, and in my personal life, I have been deeply involved in community service—from volunteering with organisations like St John's Crisis Centre and Rosie's to participating in local events and initiatives. Given the Gold Coast’s unparalleled mix of academic opportunities, vibrant community spirit and enriching lifestyle, it’s easy to feel connected and part of something larger.  

I’m excited about the chance to interact and collaborate with a diverse group of fellow ambassadors from various backgrounds, to build international friendships, understand different cultural perspectives and develop skills that will aid in my personal and professional growth. It’s also a chance to give back to the community that has enriched my life and to help others discover and enjoy its many benefits. 

Dayoung Yun

Dayoung (Diane) Yun (Korea)

Bachelor of Nursing, Griffith University

In my hometown there was a U.S. military base and many American soldiers lived in my apartment complex, which led to numerous community exchange programs. My high school was partnered with a school on the military base, which occasionally offered student exchange opportunities. I've even done language exchanges in English and Korean with friends I met there. Additionally, because my school focused on internationalisation and English, we hosted exchange students from various countries. Mentoring international students, helping them adjust to Korea, and communicating with them not only improved my English but also broadened my global perspective. 

The name ‘Gold Coast’ sounds like a dreamy escape to someone who has never lived by the seashore. The weather, lifestyle, and city vibe are amazing here. I used to fall asleep dreaming of surfing in Australia since my high school days, but after arriving Australia in 2020, I spent most of the three years working inland to save up for my university tuition, which left me with only a few opportunities to surf. That’s why I was determined to study on the Gold Coast. Now, I can say I’m living my dream. 

Becoming an Ambassador is a fantastic opportunity to meet passionate, ambitious, and open-minded friends with whom I can share the rich variety of experiences international students can have while studying on the Gold Coast. I'm eager to vividly showcase the vibrant and diverse life of an international student, especially here on the Gold Coast. By sharing the incredible adventures and activities alongside the fantastic students I've met through this program, I aim to capture the essence of this amazing journey. 

Afreeda Germea

Afreeda Germean (Sweden)

Bachelor of Government and International Relations, Griffith University

I was born in Erbil, in the Kurdish region of Iraq and moved to Gävle, Sweden with my family later in life. Growing up, we moved back and forth between the two countries, which is why I have a profound love and appreciation for both. I really enjoyed living in Erbil as I felt closer to my Kurdish origin and culture. The Kurdistan region is known for its mountainous landscape, beautiful nature, and hospitable people. Spring in the Kurdish region was filled with cultural celebrations like Newroz and picnics with friends and family. Life in Sweden on the other hand, was quiet and peaceful. Sweden is known for its white winters with Lucia celebrations around Christmas time and flourishing summers by the lakeside where the sun barely sets. Nothing beats the beauty and peace of Swedish summers, although they only last a few short months. 

I’ve always been fascinated with the effect that international relations has on our day to day lives as citizens of different countries. Growing up in two different parts of the world, with one being more politically tense than the other led to my fascination with what creates this difference and how to solve it. Being able to pursue a career in such a broad field that allows me to create positive change on a global scale through many different career options is also one of the many reasons for choosing my degree. 

Deciding to study on the Gold Coast was an easy choice as life here feels like living on an endless vacation, with the added bonus of pursuing my goals while enjoying the relaxed atmosphere and sunny shores. The locals here are welcoming and outgoing, making it feel like a second home. Since arriving, I have been pleasantly surprised by the many leadership and career development opportunities offered to students. It is truly a fulfilling environment that allows for a balanced lifestyle where I can pursue my career aspirations while also enjoying the city.  

My goal is to grow both personally and professionally throughout the duration of the Mayor’s Student Ambassador Program. I would love to improve my leadership as well as my communication skills. I also hope to build on my networking skills, learning from industry professionals and leaders in our local community, while also building friendships with fellow Gold Coast students from diverse cultural backgrounds.  

Lachlan Goldie

Lachlan Goldie (Australia)

Bachelor of Construction Management & Quantity Surveying, Bond University

I was born in Mandurah, Western Australia - a small town an hour south of Perth. I grew up there until age nine, when my family moved to the Gold Coast. We stayed here until I completed high school, before returning to Perth, where I started an Architecture degree. I made the decision to change my degree to Construction Management & Quantity Surveying, because I wanted to be part of making the designs come to life - managing the construction and the people and numbers involved in building. 

Studying on the Gold Coast appealed to me because Bond University offered an accelerated program for my degree. I was also familiar enough with the Gold Coast as a school student, but not as an adult, so there was a good balance of the known and unknown! 

I applied to become a Mayor’s Student Ambassador because I love the Gold Coast and really missed it when I was in Perth. I love the active lifestyle, the weather, and the amazing people I’ve had the opportunity to share my time and energy with, especially when they come from much farther away. I’m looking forward to sharing what I love so much about the Gold Coast, and being genuine about how I live my life, my passions, and the people I bring along the way. 

Matri Chan

Maitri Chan (Malaysia)

Bachelor of Biomedical Science, Griffith University

Malaysia is a culturally diverse country where multiple ethnicities coexist harmoniously. Growing up in such an environment gave me exposure to various festivals, religions, languages, and food. We would learn about different religions and respect each other’s beliefs; seamlessly switch between English, Malay, Mandarin, and Cantonese within a conversation; and appreciate different cuisines. This upbringing made me more appreciative of cultural diversity.  

I chose to study at Griffith University due to the modern facilities and its well-known reputation in health. The hospital right across from the university was another thing that contributed to my decision in studying on the Gold Coast, it is a great opportunity for practical learning and community engagement. In fact, I did volunteer for a year in the hospital a few months after I arrived on the Gold Coast, and I benefited a lot from that experience.  

Becoming an Ambassador allows me to experience the Gold Coast in a unique way while contributing to the local community with likeminded individuals. As an international student, I understand the importance of fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment for students from diverse backgrounds and I value the opportunity to connect in such a purposeful way.  

I’m really looking forward to collaborating on initiatives that promote cross-cultural understanding while creating lasting memories with my fellow ambassadors. This journey of self-discovery is not just stepping out of comfort zone but also about redefining my own potential and embracing the boundless possibilities that lie ahead.

Angelo Gomes

Angelo Gomes (Brazil)

IT Business Analysis, Mindroom Innovation

I grew up in a small fishing village in the south of Brazil near the beach. I used to go for a swim after classes during the summer with my friends and cousins and we would play in the streets until late at night. For me, it was great growing up in a place like this because it was safe, calm and quite beautiful.  

I heard about the Gold Coast from other Brazilians who had fallen in love with the city and its wonderful lifestyle. Studying here has been a great experience for me. We’re surrounded by so much natural beauty and I’ve made many friends. 

I joined the Mayor’s Student Ambassador Program because I wanted to represent my school while helping other students to realise their potential. During the program I want to learn as much as I can about the Gold Coast while opening my mind to new ideas, broadening my cultural horizons and developing professional relationships through the program’s professional networking opportunities.   

After graduation I’d like to get a job in which I can develop my analytical skills and become an excellent leader for IT projects while making a positive impact and contributing to the local community.  

Barsha Dahal

Barsha Dahal (Nepal)

Masters in IT, Southern Cross University

Growing up in Nepal was an enriching experience surrounded by the beauty of the Himalayas and the rich tapestry of diverse cultures and traditions. Nepal taught me resilience and the value of embracing diversity.  

My decision to pursue my studies at Southern Cross University stemmed from a desire to turn my passion for user-centred design into a fulfilling career. Arriving on the Gold Coast exceeded my expectations – from the beauty of the blue ocean and clean environment to the genuine warmth of the people. It really felt like stepping into a paradise, a place I had only imagined in my dreams. While I was initially anxious about moving to a new country without my family, I found the experience to be quite the opposite. Instead, I've been embraced with love and warmth, making me feel right at home. 

What I love most about living and studying on the Gold Coast is the balanced lifestyle it offers - peaceful yet lively. The university's support system, from academics to personal guidance, ensures students feel valued and supported.  

Becoming a Mayor's Student Ambassador aligns perfectly with my passion for community involvement and supporting fellow international students. This year’s program excites me as I look forward to personal growth, skill development, and making a positive impact on student well-being.  

Ultimately, my career aspiration is to excel in UI/UX design, leveraging my skills to contribute to projects that provide a positive social impact through enhancing product accessibility and fostering inclusivity to make a difference in people's lives. 

Jiajia Dong

Jiajia (Dinah) Dong (China)

Bachelor of Laws, Bond University

While I was at high school in China I developed a keen interest in law during my politics classes and through active participation in a debate club focused on moot court proceedings, where I served as president. When I decided to pursue my degree in Australia, studying the country's legal system seemed like an exciting and immersive way to learn more about the country. 

Hailing from Tianjin, China - a charming modern coastal city much like the Gold Coast, I found the transition to this beautiful Australian destination to be an easy one. The relaxed and humorous nature of the people here is similar to the people back home.  

I first became aware of the Gold Coast during my childhood when my sister relocated here and my decision to study in Australia was motivated by a desire to broaden my international experience. I chose the Gold Coast because of its peacefulness and beauty. Its less noisy than a big city, and yet it has everything a modern city should have. 

Becoming a Mayor's Student Ambassador was not only about exploring and enjoying the Gold Coast more, but also about personal growth while creating opportunities for future success. 

Braeden Middleton

Braeden Middleton (Australia)

Advanced Diploma of Screen and Media, New York Film Academy

As a student ambassador for the Gold Coast, I bring a unique perspective shaped by my background and aspirations. Hailing from the small towns of Texas and Clifton in South West Queensland where pursuing a career in the arts was unconventional, I forged my path towards the New York Film Academy on the Gold Coast. 

Since arriving here two years ago this city, with its beautiful natural environment, diverse culture, and welcoming community has become my home away from home, providing an environment that fosters my creative growth and determination. 

I wanted to become a Student Ambassador to give back to this city which has given me so much. It's an opportunity to share my experiences and showcase what makes the Gold Coast such a great place. I am most excited about this year's program for the chance to grow personally through new experiences and mentoring opportunities, as well as making friends and lasting connections within the community. After graduation, my aspiration is to establish myself as a full-time actor in Australia, with ambitions to eventually move to America to further my career. 

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Yashi Bhardwaj (India)

Bachelor in Psychological Science, Griffith University

India is a country rich in culture and diversity where literally every corner tells a story. Growing up in India shaped my values and morals and that’s very humbling to me. Indians are warm and hospitable; you can really feel it in the way they treat you. In India it’s a mix of old and new. You've got ancient traditions mixing with modern life, creating a unique atmosphere. The festivals and the food are like nothing else in the world and they bring people together from all walks of life and you can't help but feel a sense of belonging and togetherness. Growing up I had always witnessed a spirit of resilience and hope that runs through Indian families and it's shaped me in more ways than I can count. 

My father had a dream to give his family an atmosphere to grow more in life, for better opportunities, facilities and education, which is how we came to the Gold Coast. After watching almost all existing YouTube videos of what Surfers Paradise Beach looked like a night before catching my flight, I was fully convinced that all I would do is lay in the sun on a beach all day.  This was until I realised Gold Coast is more than just beaches. I hadn't realised just how dynamic and diverse the city would be. It's a place that continues to surprise and make me happy, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to experience all that it has to offer. I love that something is always happening on the Gold Coast and how it is mostly bright and sunny. It's a place where people come to grow and become better people all while having fun, exploring and making memories. The Gold Coast is the place TO LIVE, not just exist. 

Serving as a 2024 Gold Coast Mayor Student Ambassador will be an opportunity to give back to the City of Gold Coast as it will allow me to represent the student community. I want to be the change I desire and this program offers me with the same by helping me step out of my comfort zone and challenge myself. This is a golden opportunity to contribute to shaping and promoting the city's values, objectives and initiatives by enhancing my understanding of the city's dynamics. I am also very excited to form long term connections. But mostly, I want to inspire others and show the transformative strength of community and togetherness. I wish to empower young adults of this community. Making a positive impact on the city and leaving a lasting legacy will be extremely fulfilling for me. These are core reasons that drive my desire to be part of this program. 

Jin Gwak

Jin Hyeok Gwak (Korea)

Bachelor of Computer Science, Griffith University

Many parents are extremely passionate about their kids’ education in South Korea, and my mum was one of them. I was smart as a kid, had good grades throughout elementary and middle school (year 1 to 9 equivalent), giving me access into a special high school, which was famous for having a high number of students going into medicine after they graduated. However, what my mum and I didn’t know is that I had undiagnosed ADHD. In my high school in Korea, classes go from 8am to 5pm and students were required to stay until 11pm for “self-study sessions”. Weekends are always fully booked with private tutoring or private schools. Due to my ADHD, I had hard time concentrating and hated studying, and I was burnt out with such tight schedules every day. Some say growing up in Korea and having so many education opportunities is a privilege, but to me it was very painful and difficult. 

When I first came to Australia, my brother was a university student on the Gold Coast and he had a great experience, so it influenced my decision to also study here. I’m now in my sixth and final year at university and yet I can’t think of what I did or the moments where I was proud of myself. I want to explore more about myself, learn new things, and experience things that I’ve never even thought of trying. One of my closest friends, Ellen, who is a former Ambassador, highly recommended me to apply for this program, telling me it was one of the best choices she’s ever made and I was really inspired by her. 

After discovering that the Mayor’s Student Ambassador Program provides a safe space for students willing to step out of their comfort zone and try things they've never done before I realised that this program is exactly what I was looking for. I love new challenges, but when the opportunity comes I tend to be a bit hesitant due to occasional anxieties. After the introductory session, I thought this program could really help me to grow as a person, and that really motivated me to apply. 

I believe this program will introduce me to new perspectives and to think differently, which is crucial for personal and professional growth. I’m really looking forward to trying out things I've never done before while learning about myself during the process and making profound connections with my fellow Ambassadors to build lifelong friendships. 




Jasmine Hawkins

Jasmine Hawkins (Australia)

Bachelor of Psychological Science and Exercise Science, Southern Cross University

I was born and raised on the Gold Coast – one of the greatest blessings of my life. My childhood consisted of all things ocean, surf, nature and sunshine. I guess that explains why I have grown up to be increasingly more in love with the ocean and nature every day! I attended King’s Christian College for all of my schooling years and was very involved in sport and leadership – I loved it. If I wasn’t at school or training (skipping), I was definitely at the beach – surfing, swimming, watching the sunrise and sunset with my family and friends or sitting at a coffee shop, enjoying the fresh air and sunshine. My life has been spent learning about and loving nature, while also learning the importance of hard work and discipline - with people who have spent their life doing the same.  

Growing up in the most beautiful place in the world with opportunities at my fingertips has not been taken for granted. I am so aware of the beauty and treasure of the Gold Coast. I have been blessed to travel all around the world for my sport (skipping) but nowhere I have been compares to home. I have never even questioned moving to study somewhere else. Three years in and I wouldn’t change it for a second. Looking out of my lab class window and seeing a whale breach out of the water would be a dream for so many and I’m so thankful that I can say it’s my reality (this is a true story!).  

What I love about living and studying on the Gold Coast is that I can have balance. As an athlete competing for Australia at an international level, training can get intense. With this commitment of being an athlete and coach, on top of full-time study, work and social life, I can get very busy. But the environment I live in and the values that have been instilled in me from a young age, somehow still allow me to live a calm life. I’m able to go to the beach before uni, attend a class, work in the afternoon, and then have training all in one day. The dream!   

I wanted to become an Ambassador because I love the Gold Coast and I truly believe that as a student, I have the capacity to live the best and healthiest lifestyle in the world. I want the world to know about what a treasure the Gold Coast is. On a personal level, I wanted to challenge myself. I’m always looking to challenge myself in some regard, whether it be in competitive sport, academically or socially. I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to grow as a young leader – being surrounded by so many inspiring and high-achieving people. I’m looking forward to connecting with such a diverse group of individuals and the times where I’m challenged and stretched. This is a fantastic opportunity to learn about myself, other people and how to function in new environments. I am excited for the challenges.  

Maadhav Maheshwari v2

Maadhav Maheshwari (India)

Master of Marketing and Master of International Tourism and Hospitality Management, Griffith University

Growing up in Gurgaon, India, a modern city known for its development, I was initially a shy child but thrived in hands-on activities. Supported by my parents, I learned the value of relationships in a diverse environment.  

I was drawn to study on the Gold Coast by its reputation for abundant career opportunities and its captivating natural beauty, highlighted by stunning beaches and scenic trekking spots, which promised a unique lifestyle combining academic excellence with quality of life. I’ve found the Gold Coast to be an active city with diverse cultures, innovative industries, and a welcoming community. 

I’m pursuing my masters’ degree due to my passion for guest interaction and creating exceptional experiences. Beyond academic life, Griffith University offers a range of excellent extracurricular activities that has provided me with valuable opportunities and personal growth.  

I became a Mayor’s Student Ambassador because of the remarkable personal and professional growth I have experienced on the Gold Coast. The opportunities provided by my university boosted my confidence and overall development, inspiring me to share my life experiences with future students. I'm passionate about showcasing our vibrant student community and supportive environment that make studying and living here truly exceptional.