Gavin - China

Being an international student in Australia is a great way to build your networks and develop the skills you need to forge an exciting career path. Here’s how Gavin settled into life in Australia and used extracurricular activities on campus to boost his career prospects.

Gavin from China

From China to Australia 

I am from Guangzhou, China, and I completed a Bachelor of International Business at Monash University in Melbourne, Victoria. I picked the course due to the unique workshop-style instruction and Monash’s strong global reputation.  

Australia itself was appealing to me. It’s a very multicultural country. I knew it would allow me to interact with diverse people, but also celebrate my own cultural identity.  

The Australian study experience 

I loved my student experience in Australia. The people are so friendly and welcoming. 

The style of my course took some getting used to because it required students to be very independent. However, I enjoyed the learning process so much. The experience simulated a real work setting, where no two days are the same. You needed to be very proactive to succeed.  

Getting involved on campus  

While at university, I took full advantage of extracurricular volunteering and internship opportunities.  

When I first arrived in Australia, everything was totally new and, at times, a little confusing. Once settled, this experience made me want to volunteer as a peer mentor to others. In this role, I helped new students acclimate to campus and find ways to conquer study and career challenges. My mentoring efforts were recognised by my university, and I was selected as a Monash Global Ambassador.  

In my final semester, I was invited to do an internship with Monash Business School in the student recruitment team. In this role, I contributed to developing an events strategy, organised events, conducted research and wrote reports about different issues to improve university processes. Monash saw that I worked hard and invited me to be in a commercial video for the university. 

The benefits of getting involved on campus 

I am a firm believer in using the university experience to build skills and explore passions outside of study.  

By participating in campus events, I made many friends and broadened my network. I also joined leadership programs which developed my public speaking skills and confidence. This kind of active involvement gave me exposure and unlocked employment opportunities I could never have predicted before becoming so involved in university life. 

In this competitive world we now live in, it’s important to show people what you’ve got rather than waiting for someone to discover it.  

As an international student, I never saw myself at a disadvantage due to difference. Rather, I utilised my cultural perspective and my trilingual skills to bring value to the people around me. I found that when I do that, opportunities come naturally. 

Where to find opportunities 

The best place to start finding out about these kinds of opportunities is in student emails. Campus events and programs are also a great place to network.  

Make sure you interact with everyone around you. Make a good impression and network with them. Connecting through social media, particularly Instagram and LinkedIn, also provides a fabulous way to market yourself and attract opportunities. 

Starting my career 

Having completed my degree, I now work at Monash University as a staff member. I believe that my professional and volunteering experiences during my studies helped me build an impressive profile and set me apart from other job candidates.  

During my studies, I gained not only vital employment skills but also developed a proactive mindset for seeking opportunities. 

When applying for my current job at Monash, I researched the faculty and reached out to the manager to identify the challenges and expectations. I then showcased how my skills could solve their problems and bring them value. Being confident about myself and knowing what I can offer allows me to ‘work with’ rather than ‘work for’ the team.  

In the future, I plan to complete a postgraduate degree in marketing to combine all the practical knowledge I have gained from my employment so far. Then I’d like to work for a global company to study their team management and how they interact with the world. Eventually, I’d like to set up my own company to help people and businesses build their brands and feel confident about who they are. 

Advice for other international students 

It’s ok to make mistakes! Don’t worry about feeling silly, just grow from it. 

During my first attempt at public speaking, I almost fainted from nerves! However, I kept practicing and can now confidently speak in front of others and present my best self. My ‘can-do’ attitude comes down to my desire to continually learn and improve myself. 

Life is a constant process of breaking through, then eventually looking back and feeling ‘that was easy’. So why not give something challenging a try? You will be surprised how much potential you’ve got!  

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