From Philippines to Melbourne — CPA Ambassador Opportunity and Endless Possibilities

Updated November 2019.

Application status Student (subclass 500): Granted. Congratulations! This must be one of the happiest emails that I have received from the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs. Welcome to the land down under where I would be studying a Master of Professional Accounting at CQUniversity. Exciting, isn’t it?

I would come to face a new environment, live independently, meet new people from diverse cultures, advance my career through study and a lot more. But, what does it really feel like when you leave home to experience all these things that await you?

A new way of living

I did a lot of research as soon as I got my offer letter from CQUniversity, Melbourne campus. Trust me, the CQUni website has been very helpful, especially to an international student like me.

I highly recommend reading every section in there — from planning your arrival, orientation to enrolment and most importantly, print the pre-departure checklist where you’re informed of the things to do before leaving home, arriving in Australia and when you arrive at CQUniversity.

My first day in the country is a productive one already!

I’ve been in Melbourne with my husband for a year now. It was a winter season back then.

The first thing we needed to do was adapt to the cold temperature as we do not have this kind of weather in the Philippines.

Melbourne’s Flinder’s Street station.

We found four seasons in a day is a reality! But, we survived it. Kudos to us. Again, thanks for the useful information posted on the university website.

When someone is new to a place, the curiosity is to the highest level. Count me in! I met an Australian elder in a shop and we had a small talk.

Guess what? I addressed him as “Sir”, as a sign of respect. Then he told me to just refer him by his first name. I was surprised. In our home country, referring to someone who is a lot older than you by their first name is not a common practice and rude.

Let’s see what the reaction of my elder relatives will be when I call them by their first name when I come back!

I am really amazed at how people here show their friendliness. They always say “Hi, how are you?”, “No worries” and “See you”.

Australians have a lot to say: fantastic, lovely, beautiful, amazing, well done, and good job are some of the words I hear. They smile and greet all the time as if you have met each other before.

The city is safe with multicultural and harmonious society. I’ve seen a lot of great infrastructures and totally attracted to the train stations such as Flinders Street.

There are a lot of beautiful spots that I’ve been to such as the Yarra River, Federation Square, Hosier Lane, St Kilda Beach and many more via public transport.

Indeed, all these experiences has convinced me that it is one of the world’s most livable cities.

Hosier Lane.

Getting involved

It’s been 9 years ago since the last time that I had sit in a classroom and study. Yes, it’s been ages!

But, what excites me more is to further my study overseas. I had chosen Australia as my study destination due to a few reasons. First, it provides a unique learning style that encourages me to be innovative.

Second, Australian qualifications are recognised by employers and leading companies worldwide.

Third, as English is the main language used, I can improve my English-speaking skills. Lastly, it is nearer to my home country unlike other countries that offer high-quality education such as the US, UK and Canada. It is more accessible for me to visit my family during holidays and school breaks.

While there are lots of schools in Melbourne that offer accounting courses, I chose CQUniversity because I believe that it is the best University that will give me the knowledge and skills to prepare me to meet the demands of our changing world. 

There are a lot of experiences and services that I am enjoying at CQUni. One of these is taking advantage of the Academic Learning Centre where they provide academic support, advice and resources to assist students to meet the study requirements.

It is through them that I learned that it is the organised students who pass, not the smart ones.

Secondly, the students are well-informed of career opportunities and worthwhile activities to hone interpersonal skills such as career fairs, social innovation, seminars, networking events and a lot more. I have attended events such as:

  • Readygrad Graduate Recruitment Simulation Program
  • Melbourne Campus Internship Networking Event
  • Chat with the VC – Student Forum
  • International Student Café – Social innovation session

The University supports students to join leadership conferences at their own cost. I took advantage of such opportunities.

I won a free ticket to attend the Melbourne International Student Conference (MISC) 2019 held last May with the theme “Failure Future Focus”. MISC 2019 is an awesome experience that enables one to acknowledge and reflect many things especially in the concept of failure. 

I  also won the ticket to join the Aspire Student Leadership Conference 2019 to be held this November at CQUni Rockhampton North. Ticket, accommodation and meals are free.

Ask me how? Expression of interest is the key. Hence, make it a habit to regularly check your CQUni email!

The Vice Chancellor, Nick Klomp and I.

The University also facilitates a vibrant and active campus life for all students and staff.

It is through the updates of the unit coordinators that I come to know of the opportunity in my field of study to become a CPA Australia ambassador. What an amazing opportunity it has been!

CPA information session.

Becoming a CPA Australia ambassador has been a great opportunity for accounting, business, and finance students to enhance their employability skills by having the chance to join networking events, meet employer partners and be supported and guided in your career aspirations.

CPA Ambassador Induction Day 2019.

It is a good training ground for practising public speaking skills. Since I joined they have helped me to plan and achieve my strategic goals for 2019.

I was given the opportunity to be featured in the University newsletter. There are lots of CPA events that you can attend to meet fellow ambassadors and potential employers. What more can you ask for? If you are interested to know more about this, CPA Australia is just one click away.

Lastly, I met an army of friends that makes studying fun and balance. Being far away from home is challenging, hence, support from each other is helpful.

Whenever someone faced with adversities, I always remind them with the famous saying “A quitter never wins – and a winner never quits!”

November update — what’s happened since…

Student Leadership Conference

Through my stories, I can inspire and influence others!

I would like to thank CQUniversity, program developers and facilitators for the amazing opportunity to be sponsored to attend the Student Leadership Conference in Rockhampton, which was such a life-changing event.

With the theme, “Storytelling for Leadership — The Power to Inspire and Create Change”, I have discovered more about myself and gained valuable experiences from the wonderful speakers and fun workshops.

Here are my key takeaways from each of the activities:

What is your story: Memory is made best on emotion. The activity brought me back to my childhood memories and let me choose those that are important to me. I realised that storytelling builds a relationship, familiarity, and trust.

Reframing for resilience: Resilience is a key fundamental skill. Looking back at something, it can be an event or experience of hurt, and can also contribute to career growth. By brainstorming and sharing our stories, skills such as leadership, teamwork and open-mindedness are incorporated in the workshop.

Curating the stories of others: I learned interview techniques, editing systems and the key points in video-making. For the first time, I saw a studio and how interviews were being administered. It’s a fantastic one. The elders had meaningful stories to share in our activity.

The hero in my own story: Through the word cloud activity, I started to think of what it is supposed to be a hero. The Hero’s Journey framework establishes that we are the hero of our own story. I realised that my story is unique and we’ve all dealt strongly with each of the steps in the framework and rewards were achieved from stepping out to the known world going to a completely unknown world. Everyone did a great job!

My personal & professional brand: This workshop led me to believe that I am a key person of influence. We all have the potential and capabilities to drive change. Finally, I created my pitch and reflected on what my purpose was. Light has been given to the grey area of what problem I feel inspired to address.

We were privileged to have the fantastic and inspirational guest speakers, Dr. Melinda Mann and Josh Worley.

Through Dr. Melinda’s inspiring story, her message to us is to be our authentic self. To know what we are passionate about. We should lead from our hearts and not our hurt. Be unapologetic about who we are and what we do but we need to be open to feedback from the right people.

Josh Worley’s story is exceptional and motivating as well. According to him, storytelling is the most powerful tool for leaders. We should focus on the things that will help us and not on the things that will give us worries. Anxiety is a good thing but it becomes problematic when you can’t control it.

Furthermore, the entrepreneur panellists shared their amazing stories and how they overcame their challenges being an entrepreneur. The session was engaging and everyone asked questions.

Also, the honouring ceremony of the elders was a bit emotional. Utmost respect was given through standing ovation and a round of applause. We carried in our hearts their precious advice of always giving gratitude to our elders and parents wherever life takes us.

This Student Leadership Conference let me tick additional items in the ’60 things to do before you graduate’ bucket list, and that includes going to this conference and taking a selfie with our mascot Birdy McBirdface.

Moreover, storytelling is something that I am already doing but I am unaware that it is a skill and a powerful tool until I attended this event.

This conference does not only enhance my public speaking skills but my listening skills as well. It was also a great opportunity for me as an international student to be given the chance to be interviewed, featured and to speak on behalf of my fellow international students by local media such as Seven News and Win TV.

I can share this story to inspire others as well to continue reaching their long-term goals and aspirations. This was unforgettable, indeed.

Take a leap of faith

Studying overseas is one of the biggest decisions I had ever made. Mixed emotions of fear and excitement, that’s what I felt exactly.

Maybe, some of you are wondering what made me decide to recommence study. The answer is simple: CHANGE. I felt the need to upgrade my expertise and to pursue career advancement due to the awareness of the ever-changing reality of the business world.

Even if it was completely moving out of my comfort zone as I left my stable job back home, I hold on to the vision of who, what and where I want to be someday.

It takes a lot of courage to leave your family to pursue career development and to reach your goal. For a first-time mother like me, it’s heartbreaking to leave my 11-month old child as I will somehow miss some of her milestones as she grows.

However, I always try to train my mind to see the good in everything as I’ve heard from an inspirational speaker, Bob Proctor. In this way, I felt motivated to keep ongoing.

To my fellow students, facing a lot of challenges is a normal part of the process: how to survive the student life, how to get a part-time job, how to handle homesickness and how to live independently…

Believe me, it’s not that easy, but it is always possible to overcome all these if you change the way how you see it.

Maximise the resources given by the University, build your network, get involved, stand up whenever you fall and most importantly, believe in yourself.

“When a man really desires a thing so deeply that he is willing to stake his entire future on a single turn of the wheel in order to get it, he is sure to win”.

Napoleon Hill

Want to contact me? Feel free to reach out to me via LinkedIn: Cindy Wisco.

Enjoyed this? You might enjoy Nepalese student, Krishna Sen’s experiences in Sydney or European student, Sara Manka who studied a Bachelor of Accounting in Melbourne.

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