Travelling from Shanghai (China) to Adelaide and then Sydney 6 years ago, Laura Liu – a Chinese girl has become a more and more active international student. When Laura arrived at Australia in 2009, she held an IELTS certificate scored 6.5. She did take it again and got overall band 7.5 by reading and listening to Australian news: “I suggest ABC News 24”, Laura said.
1. Foundation lesson: “Talk to people! Don’t be shy!”
Laura began learning English since she was about very young but her very first problem studying in Australia is eastern culture studying. She took a Foundation degree in Adelaide transaction period. Here is where she improved her language skills the most by talking with local people living in the area. They are super duper friendly and interested in talking with international students since there were not a lot of international students at that time. The course taught her ‘critical thinking’ and break the eastern culture barrier in studying: keep asking questions.
2. Bigger city – Bigger opportunity
Laura was born and growing in Shanghai, the capital of China, which is a very large, active and developing city. She acknowledged the opportunities a big city can bring out due to the comparison between Shanghai and other cities in China. Therefore, Laura decided to move to Sydney for an undergraduate degree. From 2011 to 2014, she did a Bachelor of Communication (majoring Public Relations) at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS). Despite the challenges this major towards international student in terms of language disadvantages, Laura was so eager to learn and here are her philosophies:
- Passionate with communicating to people and helping to solve the problems
- Communication is very practical: in everything, you have to communicate to transfer information or requests, to persuade, trade and achieve the goals.
- It is very rewarding in the third year of this degree in UTS: you will be received offers of internship via emails, UTS Online forum or UTS Career Hub –> You should subscribe to these media platforms and update the information regularly to get an appropriate internship.
Taking a chance, Laura applied for an internship position at the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet. She successfully got the position and after a month working, the organisation signed a contract with her for an official paid position. Since then, Laura was working with them for half a year and then stopped when she had to pursue her master degree.
Even so, Laura gained a lot of experience due to ‘big’ chance she found in Sydney through ‘big’ events from ‘big’ organisations located in Sydney.
During 2014, Australia held the G20 Summit and managed a series of government visits. Laura was the only mandarin speaking project assistant from DPC and she arranged numerous translations between the Chinese media representatives. She also assisted in translating English and interpreted their words through face-to-face communication.
Laura was invited to manage international and national media groups when the President of China arrived in Sydney using her bilingual skills, collecting foreign media’s feedback on the day and acted as a bridge between the state government and Chinese media. After the event, she approached Chinese media and collected their feedback and comments. Laura was also responsible for translating written Mandarin news stories into English and these have contributed to the State government’s database. As a result of her support work, the 2014 Leaders Forum in Sydney achieved worldwide media coverage and the Chinese delegation team was deeply impressed by the host city Sydney.
Laura also assisted by creating major time grids for the International Leaders’ activities within Sydney. They were instrumental in managing and allocating staff to manage specific events for each other. During the G20, she put five-time schedules for different international leaders into an integrated time chart. Since a lot of the activities were happening on the same day, she had to use her coordination skills to make sure schedules would not clash. She successfully merged them together and provided the team with a core file to work with. Her strong attention to detail and multicultural background has positively contributed to the success of hosting high profile events such as Australia-China State/ Provincial Leaders Forum in Sydney.
Prior to the arrival of the President of China, Laura attended preparation meetings with the Chief Management Staff at the host venue and made critical suggestions on the design of the venue to incorporate a pleasing cultural perspective. The level of detail was much appreciated.
3. “I wish I did…”
Laura did regret not to put all efforts in studying some skills that she thought it was so basic. You may be ‘good’ at computer skills such as Microsoft Words, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoints, etc. but the company will require they are professional. Sometimes, ‘good’ is not enough, and its term is true in most of the situations. Plus, if you are keen on working in Public Relations’ industry, learning how to use social media to administrate or manage the posts will be a strength and highlight point to put in a resume and appreciated by hirers.
And yes, she really meant it when she said: “I wished that I learned or used those tools before so it wouldn’t take more time to learn about them”.
So, here is a quite important reminder for Communication students!
4. A Proactive attitude
One of the most significant achievement of Laura for a whole time studying in Australia is her attitude: from a shy person and usually felt left over because sometimes she is the only international student in the class, Laura becomes more active and approaching. This attitude brought her positive Master of Management at the University of Sydney.
To those who are thinking of doing Master of Management, let’s also thinking of 3 key ideas Laura took from this degree and decide whether to take it or not:
- Global society: it is people that drive this world around
- Communication does matter: a rapid way to approach a conversation to get what you want –> Practical skills needed in every organisation.
- Apply networking: talk to your teachers/tutors/professors regularly to share your personal goals, ask for their advice/references/networking –> job offers, opportunities.
5. An intergration between working and studying
- how to talk and communicate with colleagues = experienced people, clients
- working as a team
- Attitude: obstacles to phone someone and listen to harsh words if they are not in the mood or have a tired day.
- Adaption: need to start changing yourself to adapt to new environment and be resilient
6. Earn experience and find a solution
Now: volunteer for NGO: Social Enterprise
- support the Human Sound Project: Business Development Plan –> interested in connecting people through sound
- collaborative experience
- volunteer = she saw the value of this project and was willing to help –> she contacted to the director of this organisation and asked to join the project.
Message: “Enjoy the fun”. Earn experience and find a solution.
“Success is not just about what you accomplish in your life, it’s about what you inspire others to do”.