Janice studied her Hotel Management degree at Griffith University, Australia. This is her story.
Janice has just turned 25 and is from Guilin in the Guangxi Province of China. She’s full of energy and optimism. Her openness to talk about why she studied her hotel management degree abroad is admirable. I asked her why she chose to leave China in the first place.
Why study abroad?
“I would say I have always wanted to study overseas. But what made it happen was partly the system in China. Back home, I would have had to study a major that I didn’t like, at a university I didn’t like, and even in a city I didn’t like!
“In China, the education system is quite extreme in terms of competitiveness because of the large population. I had a really tough time in year 12, and no matter how hard I worked I just couldn’t get a score that would get me where I wanted to go. You can study for 12-16 years for a college entrance exam which determines your university. If you’re not happy, you can’t change it unless you go back and do year 12 again. I was so stressed with severe anxiety and major issues with self-worth.
“Basically, I almost failed to get into any university, but eventually I got into one which I didn’t like. It felt like I had no choice but to study there and I just wasn’t enjoying life, so I quit. That’s when I started applying to universities overseas. Luckily, I had a good IELTS score which I took originally just because I wanted to improve my English, not apply overseas, but it became very useful.
“I knew I wanted to do a master’s abroad one day and I realised that the difference in cost between a master’s and a bachelors wasn’t that great. This made me see that I did have a choice, so I just changed my mind and my family fully supported that. It was the best decision I’ve ever made.”
Why study a hotel management degree in Australia?
“Well, I didn’t want to go to America or Canada because it was four years to finish a degree. And the reason I didn’t choose the UK was that (I don’t want to offend you) but I do like nice sunshine!”
I assured Janice that I wasn’t offended!
“Yes, I just thought that if I chose a rainy or gloomy place my whole mood would be heavily impacted, so I felt like I needed a place that’s got nice weather. Other factors that helped me choose Australia was the flexibility over changing courses, and the ability to work on a student visa. Here, if you apply for a hotel management degree at the beginning, it’s quite easy for you to change your mind. Also, universities here have strong connections internationally, so you can always do an exchange for one semester or something like that.”