Huong’s Swinburne University of Technology – A Life-Changing Journey

Huong’s Swinburne University of Technology – A Life-Changing Journey
Working in Melbourne as a Student
“I had paid work while a student with my student visa. I worked at Sofitel Melbourne on Collins on a part-time basis and I did the same work as Club Attendant at the Executive Club Lounge. I also worked freelance on a marketing project for KOTO Vietnam while volunteering for KOTO International. At this point in my student life, I was more engaged in fields outside hospitality. Working in marketing while studying gave me a lot more exposure in the business world, building more networks and (especially through working for KOTO at that time) I met a lot of nice people. An example of that was my first post-graduation boss in Melbourne, who I met at one of KOTO’s events – another KOTO alumna. I consider working while studying is extremely important: it provides a great opportunity to connect with other people and build formal networks after graduation.”

Awards, Extra-curricular and Continued Engagement

“I joined the Community Engagement Program and Leadership Program where I had an opportunity to engage with other friends. I also participated in the Swinburne Cup and I was lucky enough to win the Swinburne Achievement Award which brought some scholarship money to pay toward my tuition fees. This gave me such encouragement and motivation but it also came at a time when I was really struggling financially, so was a great help.

“I guess I made the most of my university life and that I built a strong network within the university, so that to this day I am still quite involved with them. Every time I go back to Melbourne, I go to visit them on campus. We do a lot of partnerships together. My ex-lecturer Rosemary still links me up with Swinburne people to help me with my own current social enterprise, HopeBox. 

“While working in Vietnam for KOTO, I hosted over 20 students from Swinburne to KOTO Vietnam to work on some projects for a few weeks. We also hosted their alumni events and continue to collaborate in many ways. I speak at Swinburne recruitment fairs in Vietnam and stay connected in other events. Lots of my close friends are now working for Swinburne, so it is always great to be involved.”

My Top 4 for Swinburne

  1. The coffee – I miss my coffee on campus!
  2. Friends & Lecturers 
  3. Knowledge and experience. 
  4. Opportunities to participate in so many events. 

My Top 4 for Melbourne

  1. The coffee!
  2. Arts and festivals/events
  3. Friends & Australian families. 
  4. Community 

Considering Swinburne? Some advice from a happy alumna

    • Go for it and grab the opportunities with both hands: they may never come back. 
    • Although study can sometimes be stressful and seem overwhelming, you come through it and know it has been worth it; now, as a grown-up woman, I look back and have to say that student life is still the best – so make the most of it. 
    • Make friends and really build a relationship with the lecturers and get involved in events. 
    • Always have a thirst for knowledge and new experiences, because in Swinburne there are inspirational people who can satisfy that thirst.
    • As someone who moved from TAFE to a university environment, I was overwhelmed at the beginning: with the way, essays were written, expectations from professors and research methodology. Everything was more formal, so for those who move from a more intimate environment to uni, be prepared and stay focused. Comparing BHI to Swinburne is an example. The BHI environment was smaller, I went on a scholarship from KOTO and most of the people there knew where I came from, so it felt like home, was more intimate. The learning environment was different too, with smaller class sizes, making it easier for me to start with.  It set me up with the perfect foundation for my subsequent studies and it was so important I landed at BHI first. Swinburne then developed and sharpened my mind and enriched my dream to be a social entrepreneur. Without the knowledge and skills I learnt from Swinburne, I would not have dared to create a social enterprise myself. 

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