Three years ago, Selina Liu swapped her working life in China’s bustling Shang Hai for university student life in Melbourne.
Recently completing a Bachelor of Commerce, Selina says it’s an experience that’s delivered a new environment with fresh insights and new friendships.
‘The multiple cultures of Melbourne, as well as the friendly environment in Australia, are fascinating to me. Every day I have the opportunity to interact with people from diverse cultural backgrounds which has allowed me to learn and experience many different traditions, cuisines and customs.’
Deciding on Melbourne as the city in which to base her Australian university experience, Selina says the stand-out reason for choosing Deakin was its teaching resources and strong industry-relevant programs.
‘The other aspect that drew me to Deakin was its friendly learning environment and the academic and university-life support that’s offered to international students.’
In Shang Hai, Selina worked as a customs-declaration officer for the China Eastern Airline Company before taking a position as assistant to the chief operating officer of the Shriro Trading Company. In both these roles, she displayed a natural aptitude for ‘numbers’ which encouraged her to build her skills and knowledge in accounting.
‘My previous study and professional experience reinforced my interest in commercial industry. From the time I was worked as a custom declaration officer, I found myself very good at dealing with numbers so to develop my professional expertise I decided to pursue a commerce degree with a major in accounting,’ she says.
For any new student, adjusting to university life and the rigours of academic study can be demanding but for international students there are often extra hurdles to overcome.
‘During the first trimester, studying at Deakin was quite challenging for me due to homesickness and heavy study load,’ she recalls. ‘However, I received much academic and emotional support from Deakin. By participating in different social activities run by Deakin University Student Association (DUSA) I have also made a bunch of friends which alleviated my homesickness.’
Selina adds that the extra support provided by Deakin’s Peer Mentoring Program has also provided her with invaluable assistance.
‘This has helped me with note-taking, time-management and research skills as well as suggestions for activities to improve my English language skills. As a result, I’ve adapted well to studying in Australia.’
To boost her academic skills with practical experience, Selina completed an internship with a Melbourne-based bookkeeping firm as part of her studies.
‘This work experience allowed me to acquire practical bookkeeping skills and improve my ability to utilise advanced accounting applications,’ she says.
By reinforcing the theories she learned in the classroom, the internship provided Selina with valuable, hands-on experience in a professional environment.
‘It was also a great platform where my soft-skills - such as interpersonal and communication skills - have been enhanced. I strongly believe that these skills and the expertise I obtained from the internship will improve my employability,’ she explains.
Now a member of Deakin’s invitation-only Golden Key International Honour Society (which recognises high-achieving students), Selina has also been working as a peer mentor in the Faculty of Business and Law.
‘The main responsibilities of this role are to deal with students’ enquires regarding enrolment and study skills and tips. I’m honoured to have this role and am also grateful for admission to the Golden Key which recognises my hard work during this course.’
Looking to her future beyond graduation, Selina is now considering the possibility of further studies.
‘My undergraduate study has been such an enjoyable experience that I may undertake Deakin law degree in the future. Commerce has given me basic legal knowledge and I now have strong interest in reading cases and analysing and applying legislations that I’d like to pursue through further study.’