Studying overseas is about more than classroom learning – it’s about building real-world experience that can help you make the most of your degree.
Just ask La Trobe graduate Shuo Jiang, who travelled from China to study a Bachelor of Media and Communications.
The idea of starting his degree was a bit nerve-wracking for Shuo, who was joining an undergraduate class as mature-age student speaking English as a second language. But any concerns soon dissolved thanks to La Trobe’s student support programs.
‘English is not my first language, so I did some research across different universities and found out La Trobe offers great learning support, as well as support for mature age and international students,’ says Shuo.
He found help with assignments, studying and settling into life in Australia through services like Career Ready, International Student Services and the Peer Mentor Program which connect students with academic support and more experienced students to help foster a sense of community.
‘We had access to a free peer learning support system that was open to all students. Whenever I had a problem with proofreading, I used their support service.’
As a student, Shuo gained essential knowledge of media and communication. But it was La Trobe’s volunteering opportunities that gave him the key ingredient to a successful career: human skills.
‘First, I signed up for volunteer opportunities for Open Day as a camera operator, then as part of the La Trobe International Host program, La Trobe Student Union and a few projects with my lecturers,’ says Shuo.
La Trobe Open Day’s provide a range of opportunities for current students to get involved in promoting campus activities, leading tours and making new students feel welcome. Each semester students can also become hosts for commencing international students during the two-week registration and orientation period. These volunteer opportunities were the perfect opportunity for Shuo to boost his communication and media skills.
‘I learned all kinds of skills: not only professional skills, but human skills as well like teamwork, customer service, leadership, troubleshooting – the list goes on.’
Equipped with practical experience and essential career skills, Shuo was able to turn his volunteer role at La Trobe International into paid casual work.
‘I actually started to get paying jobs in 2016 during the second year of my degree. The first casual job was from La Trobe International – I worked as enrolment staff to help new students with the enrolment process.’
More than just study support
Taking part in La Trobe’s range of practical experience opportunities were some of the best parts of Shuo’s student experience.
Since graduating in 2018, Shuo has continued to work for La Trobe University, using his video, photography and design skills to capture on-campus events such as Open Day, media announcements and student activities.
‘The most important thing is La Trobe offers great campus life experiences for international students, not just career and study opportunities,’ he says.
Feeling inspired? Find even more reasons to study arts, social sciences and communications at La Trobe.