Our Learners: Success Stories

Every human we work with is excellent. Not everyone knows what they can do to create the future they want. Our programs and experience help them uncover their true potential. Read these stories to see how we transform young people by teaching the skills demanded by our uncertain future.

Alexandra Bonilla: Design for Diversity

Alexandra is a Colombian student living and studying in Australia. When we met her she had already studied at amazing places, and worked in great organisations. This fuelled her curiosity and regular great questions.

When she came to our Victorian Government supported Design for Diversity program, she was not so confident. Alex did not know the best way to connect with the diverse people in the room.

Through our program she gained the confidence to create her own path. Alex met a lot of new people to share and explore with. Together this new community gave her the range of insights to know where to grow next. 

In her own words “I am more aware of the different culture or thoughts of who is listening to me when I need to communicate my ideas”. 

Since finishing, Alex has successfully completed her Australian studies and gained a full-time job. She works with one of Australia’s biggest insurance companies called BUPA

Keep up with their story on LinkedIn.

See the program here.

Desmond John: Design for Diversity

Desmond is an Australian who speaks Spanish, French and can get by in plenty of other languages. When we met him, he was working as a tour guide for almost 5 years. This makes sense – he loves cultures and is a friendly human. 

When he came to our Victorian Government supported Design for Diversity program, he was quick to try and connect with others. It was tough for him to get past the surface and work on complex challenges together.

Through the program Desmond soon learnt new approaches and applied them. He excelled at bringing the diverse co-design team together. Through a Human Centred Design approach, he delivered a truly convincing proposal.

Desmond shared this “helped [him] develop a mindset to step back and use [his] peripheral vision to make decisions”

Since finishing, Desmond now works with the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry full-time. Everyday he communicates with their global clients, applying problem solving skills and continuing to evolve his cross-cultural influence. 

Keep up with their story on LinkedIn.

See the program here.

Imana Sabrina: Crash Course on Cross Cultural Leadership

Imana is an Indonesian young entrepreneur and recent graduate of University of Melbourne. She speaks four languages and has won many awards for outstanding study and community achievements. 

Imana joined us for the Monash University supported Crash Course on Cross-Cultural Leadership. Despite being so amazing, Imana was struggling to find her community and tackle big challenges at work.

Throughout the program she learnt with peers and developed new strategies to tackle real issues. She learnt to trust her curiosity and new friends. Together they learnt how to communicate their own ideas and truths with impact.

Imana said to us “we talked a lot about community and connection… and I found that very valuable… [and now] I feel more connected to my own community after this program“. 

Now Imana is finding new success in her startup Bridging Us having recently secured a government contract. She also is a City of Melbourne Ambassador, a full-time Data Analyst and importantly still keeps in touch with her program friends. 

Keep up with their story on LinkedIn.

See the program here.

Henry Ye: Talk to Me: Build Better Networks

Henry is a Chinese Australian student living in Australia with his family. When we first met, he shared it was frustrating his university is not teaching skills for the future of work.

This left him not feeling confident to connect with others. He was curious and wanted to explore so he signed up for our online course Talk To Me: Build Better Networks.

Through our program he gained the key skills to network with diverse people. He shared “I feel like I’m having more fruitful conversations, not running into as many awkward silences because I can pinpoint little things I can ask”. 

Since finishing, Henry has reached out to more people than ever. He brings these skills to his work leading events with Future Minds Network – a leading youth organisation.

Keep up with their story here.  

See the program here.

Matthew Ziccone: Translation Club

Matt is an Australian that speaks Chinese. In 2018 he joined Translation Club to step away from textbook Chinese and see the language in action.

By joining Translation Club Matt has become a confident speaker. He is building cross-cultural skills through co- translation. His curiosity with this language influences the way he speaks and writes in his studies and work. 

In his own words “the club has really made me realise… we can not just follow paths that others make, but [need to] learn how to make our own, and… you can’t do that alone”. 

Since joining, Matt has traveled to China as a representative of RMIT and has achieved HSK4 Hanban ranking. These language and team skills help him in his other work. He has embarked on numerous successful theatre and writing projects with a focus on culture. 

Keep up with their story here.

See the program here.

Marwa Chatila: Work Integrated Learning Online

Marwa is an Australian-Lebanese student. Before becoming a youth worker, she needed to learn to engage diverse youth. She was nervous learning by delivering her first ever program.

She came to the Marco Polo Project Work Integrated Experience Online not confident she could actually develop any useful skills. In particular, Marwa could not imagine an online placement being more useful than in-person. 

Through the program she learnt with and from new friends. In 6 weeks, Marwa learnt to design and deliver an interactive workshop – and and at the end she did it for a live audience. 

In her own words “I learnt it is okay to be nervous… with Marco Polo Project I got to become more confident”. 

Since finishing the course Marwa has become clear on her future study goals. She is applying to study Diploma of Youth Work at RMIT. In the future she hopes to be a youth worker that truly engages diverse young people.

Keep up with her story here.

See the program here.

Robert Speirs: Talk To Me Online

Robert is an Indonesian Scottish student at Nagoya University of Commerce & Business, Japan. He is a successful and global Gen Z – in Indonesia he completed IGCSE and International Baccalaureate Diploma, Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award, and is an emerging writer. When we met, he was unsure how to uncover deep insights with diverse people. 

He joined the Talk to Me session hosted by the JUMP! Foundation excited to connect with others. Robert was struggling to work through the complex and hard to penetrate Japanese culture barriers – he wanted to genuinely connect with locals during COVID19. 

Through the program he learnt how to have better conversations with diverse people. He learnt how to speak with purpose, ask great questions and set himself up for more meaningful connections. 

In their own words, “I am able to engage with people in more meaningful ways and to regularly self-reflect on what I’ve done well and could have done better” 

Since finishing, Robert has started in a jewellery company while juggling university and life. He looks forward to mastering Japanese to connect better with locals.

Keep up with their journey here.

Kim Ly Nguyen: Digital Gathering Training

Kim Nguyen is Vietnamese Australian graduate lawyer and social entrepreneur. When we met, she was unsure how to facilitate and run interactive workshops. Kim was aware more could be done to gather people online and in-person. She wanted her programs to be more inclusive for the migrants, refugees, and international students she supports. 

Like a lot of young leaders, Kim did not have a lot of training to bring together these diverse people. She found that a lot of training is expensive or does not meet her needs. 

The Marco Polo Project Digital Gathering Training is different. Kimmy learnt how to plan a workshop, facilitate groups, be more intentional, build team energy not force with power, and create safe spaces for all learners. 

In their own words, I have “a deeper confidence in my ability to deliver workshops, presentations and to seek out more public speaking opportunities”.  

Since finishing, Kimmy has delivered more than 20 programs with multicultural entrepreneurs. These skills have been pivotal for growing success online with her start-up People of Purpose. She is now delivering the Catalysr/YGap First Gens Accelerator program.

Keep up with their journey here.

Shintia DW Randall: Crash Course Cross Cultural Leadership

Shintia is an Indonesian Master of Marketing Communication student at University of Melbourne. For 4 years, she worked across South-East Asia with a major e-commerce platform but was still not sure how to make an impact in Australia. 

She came to Crash Course: Cross-cultural Leadership struggling to find work in Australia. She believed improving communication skills and expanding her professional network would help to get into the Australian job market. 

By doing this program she learnt it takes more than hard skills. Shintia learnt that understanding diverse perspectives and practising empathy are the keys to truly communicate and connect with diverse people. 

Shintia shared this program “expanded my professional networking and boosted my confidence”.

Since finishing, Shintia has used these new skills to grow her professional networks. She has secured 2 internships with leading Australian organisations. Shintia has successfully transferred her skills and knowledge into education and AI technology businesses.

Keep up with their journey here.