From Europe to Melbourne — Making Dreams Come True

Sara Manka, CQUniversity Melbourne

Hello, my name is Sara Manka. I grew up in a small family with lots of laughs and love in a small village in Albania. My mum always motivated me to study abroad and experience life in another country, and I always dreamed of living in a big and busy city.

I was about to finish my high school studies when one of my relatives offered to help me come and study in Australia. I always dreamed of becoming an accountant because I really enjoyed maths and I was interested in economics.

Yes, dreams do come true! Soon I found myself in Melbourne studying an Advanced Diploma in Accounting.

I thought if I start with a diploma I would have the chance to improve my English and get an overview of the accounting industry in Australia. It was a good start but I wanted to go further with my studies to become a qualified accountant, and that is when I started to look for the right university.

Choosing CQUniversity: After I had a close look at a few universities, I decided to apply to CQUniversity and study a Bachelor of Accounting. The process was quick and smooth, and I also received credits from my previous studies!

Before accepting my offer letter, I had a few questions so I went to the university to learn a little bit more about the program and get my questions answered. I met the lovely Alison, who explained the process to me and gave me more information about the course.

I felt very welcomed and, after meeting with her, I was very confident that I made the right choice.  If you ever have any question in relation to your application, please get in contact with CQUni staff, they will definitely help you.

What really impressed me was the enrolment process. CQUni staff are very friendly and CQUni students who helped us during enrolment totally made a difference.

Orientation day is a day not to miss, I had so much fun and really enjoyed all the activities, which gave me a better understating of how the classes were organised, and I learned a lot about Australian culture and wildlife — we even got to meet some native animals on campus! Find out more about orientation.

CQUniversity Melbourne Orientation

Week one… The first week was very exciting, the classes were not too big and the lecturers were quite friendly with us. One of the things that I value the most at CQUni is our relationship with lecturers who are very understanding and answer all our questions.

Coming from another background is not always easy to adapt to the Australian study system but the help that I have received from all the lecturers has been very valuable.

CQUniversity Melbourne

What I have found very interesting is the International Student Café, which is organised almost every week — it’s a great activity for international students who want answers to their questions.

I did attend it a few times and I have to say that Alejandro was very helpful with all my questions. I would say that it’s quite helpful to attend, especially in the first weeks. It is also a great way to make friends and learn more about different cultures.

During my first semester, I realised that CQU had a few job vacancies and all the students were encouraged to apply. This was a great opportunity for me, and I didn’t hesitate to apply for the position of International Student Ambassador.

After the interview, I was told that I was successful with my application. This made me very happy and motivated to participate in more uni activities where I would get to help all the new students who would need my help.

I know the feeling of moving to a new country and starting a new life, it makes me feel good to be able to help all the new students who have just moved to Melbourne, give them my support and motivate them the same way I received it when I arrived and needed it.

The beginning is always hard but while you studying at CQU you will realise that you are not alone, we are a big family who understands the challenges you may be facing.

Final year… Now I am on my last year of studies and I am so glad that I chose CQUni for my studies. I have enjoyed every single subject and class. I feel sorry that this journey will soon come to an end.

During this time, I have had the opportunity to make friends from different backgrounds and learn a lot about other cultures. This made me realise the similarities that exist between cultures and I am impressed by the harmony of this multicultural society.

CQUniversity Sara Manka Melbourne

University is a very important chapter in our lives and it’s very important to enjoy it.

While studying at CQUni you will realise there will always be special events organised in the Student Lounge including delicious food and different games.

Internship… One of my goals for 2018 was to be able to get an internship and after a few online applications, I was quite lucky to get an internship in a small accounting firm.

It was a great opportunity for me to practise all my knowledge that I got from university and work with professionals. I feel like this experience has grown me professionally and given me a better understanding of how it is to be an accountant.

After finishing the internship, I was offered to work on a part-time basis as an Assistant Accountant for the same firm.

Living in Melbourne… is quite exciting. Coming from a small country like Albania it’s a big change but I soon became very familiar with the city and the lifestyle.

CQUniversity Sara Manka Melbourne

There are always different festivals organised where you have the chance to experience a little bit of every culture. What I found fascinating was the support every community receives.

Even though the Albanian community in Melbourne is not too big, on our Independence Day the Albanian flag was raised in Federation Square. This made me feel like home and I felt quite emotional.

Albanian flag Federation Square, Sara Manka CQUniversity Melbourne
Albanian flag raised at Federation Square, Melbourne

During this time, I have had the chance to visit a few Melbourne tourist attractions like the Great Ocean Road, which has amazing ocean views, and the Mornington Peninsula, which is one of my favourite places to visit during summer time.

Arthur’s Seat, Mornington Peninsula

I also had the chance to go and explore the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland and the magical Whitehaven Beach. That was one of the most beautiful things that I have ever seen. The water was crystal clear and the white sand made it even more special, the beautiful corals and colourful fish were amazing.

CQUniversity Sara Manka Melbourne

On a final note: choosing the right university is always a big decision and moving to a new country makes it a bit more challenging. While studying at CQUni I realised that getting the right support and motivation is always a good start to a journey of success.

My advice to any student considering study in Australia is to never give up your dreams and believe in your intuition.

Sometimes it may seem hard to be able to get an offer letter and a visa to study in Australia but there are so many amazing people in different universities who work very hard to make our dreams come true.

And the most important thing is to know that you are not alone, everyone is ready to help in any situation.

Watch my journey:

Enjoyed this? You might enjoy Carlos Bravo Ocampo’s journey in studying a Master of Human Resource Management in Melbourne or
Mongolian student, Bella who also studied the Master of Human Resource Management at CQUni Sydney campus.

Find out more about international scholarships at CQUniversity.

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