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Australia has become a popular destination not only for tourists but aspiring international students as well. Apart from its scenic sites, students are attracted to the easygoing atmosphere that is perfect for pursuing an academic degree.
Mentor Charlene moved to Australia after graduating from a private high school in Taipei, Taiwan. With the help of an agency that connected her with a mentor, she was able to deduce the best option for her to get into a university in Australia. Charlene took a series of tests like
Charlene completed a degree in Media Communication and International Relations at the University of Melbourne (UM). Although she had travelled to different countries before like England and the US, Australia seemed like best option suited for her personality. She decided to go to UM because of its degree programs. Location was also a deciding factor.
According to Charlene, her first year in Australia was tough. She wasn’t so keen on student housing. Some international students would opt to find housing within the city instead of spending on transportation fees. Thus, the living situation was crowded.
Charlene had no scholarship so she needed to settle with sharing a two-bedroom apartment with six other people. However, being able to find extra income allowed her to eventually find a room just for herself.
Other than housing, Charlene also had difficulty communicating with her peers. There were few Asians taking the program she was pursuing so it took time to find people she can easily connect with. Although discrimination was not apparent, she still felt that there was still a gap between local students and international students.
However, this did not discourage Charlene from making new friends and connecting with people. After all, it was only her first year and she was still getting to know her new environment.
Charlene encourages those who are interested in studying in Australia, as well as other similar countries like the US or New Zealand, to brush up on how locals communicate. Since Australia is known for its slang, Charlene listened to radio programs and watched television shows in order to catch up and to pick up these terms.
According to Charlene, your intellectual ability is already a given so what aspiring students should work on is their ability to communicate among students. With this, it will be easier to gain friends.
Transitioning from student to young professional
After graduation, Charlene was able to work for two companies in Australia. Although, as expected, it can be challenging especially if you’re a non-citizen since companies have to spend or invest more (i.e insurance fees or visa sponsorships) for you. However, this shouldn’t be a hindrance since there are many organizations that help international graduates look for work.
Charlene is currently working as a Digital Marketing Executive in Taiwan. Her stay in Australia has truly allowed her to stand out among her colleagues but also gain experience which she was eventually able to share and apply in her hometown.
Charlene speaks Mandarin, Taiwanese, and English. She completed a bachelor’s degree in media communications and international relations at the University of Sydney. She has experience working as a project manager in Sydney and is currently a marketing executive at AdAsia (Digital Advertising) in Taiwan.
If you want to ask Charlene a question about studying media communications and international relations at the University of Sydney or student housing in Sydney, please register as a student on afriendabroad.com and visit her mentor profile page: https://afriendabroad.com/profile/charcharkuo
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