Study in Australia? Challenge accepted

Hello everyone, I am Sandra Lioe from Jakarta, Indonesia. I am currently studying a Master of Teaching (Primary/Early Childhood) at Deakin University. Before starting my master’s degree at Deakin, I completed a Bachelor in Architecture Engineering from the University of Indonesia and a Diploma in Instrumental Teaching from the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM). However, teaching has always been my passion.

I was working as a music teacher in Jakarta when I decided to pursue my dream of studying and living abroad. No one believed me when I said I wanted to study in Australia. I had a great job and a great life in my home country. Back in Indonesia, my husband Bernard was a reputable musician and had a business in music education. Moving to Australia was a difficult decision for both of us since we knew that we would have to start our lives in Australia from scratch. Yet, we decided to take the challenge and simply put our trust in God.

Moving to Australia was a difficult decision for both of us since we knew that we would have to start our lives in Australia from scratch. Yet, we decided to take the challenge and simply put our trust in God.

Bernard and I at Mornington Peninsula, Victoria

Bernard and I at Mornington Peninsula, Victoria

At the beginning my journey was not smooth-sailing, but it became truly amazing as it continued to unfold. Before starting my master’s program, I studied an English for Teaching (EFT) course at the Deakin University English Language Institute (DUELI) as I did not meet the 7.0 score required in the IELTS Writing test. At first, I was disappointed that I did not get direct entry into the master’s program, but in the end studying at DUELI turned out to be one of the best experiences I’ve had in Australia.

My five-week course at DUELI not only improved my English, but also prepared me for the internet-based, student-centred learning in Australian classes. Additionally, it helped me to develop a number of essential study skills, including problem solving, critical thinking, referencing, and research skills. And best of all, I made friends with many international students, and many remain my closest friends right to this day.

Having fun while working at DUELI trip to Puffing Billy

My friend from DUELI and I on a trip to Puffing Billy

After I graduated from DUELI, I was accepted into the DUELI Leadership and Internship Program, where I have been working part-time since last December. This paid internship has not only helped me to pay my rent, but it has also provided me with opportunities to uncover my hidden talents, including speaking in front of hundreds of international students, representing Deakin in front of international guests, organising a half-day trip to many beautiful places in Victoria, and organising social events for hundreds of students.

Organising a half day trip for DUELI students to Healesville Sanctuary, Victoria

At Healesville Sanctuary as part of one of the half-day trips I organised for DUELI students

But the most exciting part is yet to come! This July, DUELI will send me to Darwin as an ambassador for the 2016 Council of International Students Australia (CISA) National International Students’ Conference. So exciting!

In addition to working at DUELI and studying, I also work as a Deakin Students Help Students (SHS) Hub Mentor, and volunteer in music ministry at a local church.

Conducting a choir for the 2015 Christmas celebration at Bethany International Church, Melbourne

Conducting a choir for the 2015 Christmas celebration at Bethany International Church, Melbourne

I have never regretted my decision to come to Australia. Deakin has provided me with knowledge, real teaching experience, professional development, and work opportunities on campus. I’m also thankful for receiving a $10,000 scholarship as part of the Deakin University International Scholarship Program (DUISP).

I am very excited to see how I can employ my talents, knowledge, and experience in Australia to educate young minds in the future and give back to my community.

For further information about studying at Deakin and to view the many degrees on offer, visit our international student page.

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