25 Apr 2013

An Aussie Boost Towards a Dream Career

Two JCU students talk about how their Australian education in Singapore will prepare them to take on the world.

With a practical and reputable education system, as well as a vibrant and friendly culture, Australia has always been an attractive education destination for students. However, for those who are concerned about living expenses, potential communication barriers and cultural differences, there is an equally appealing alternative right here at home.

Since 2003, James Cook University Australia has been providing high-quality education for both local and international students at it’s JCU Singapore cCampus. The programs follow the same curriculum as the Australian campuses but are contextualised to the Asian environment. This winning combination is what attracted Tricia Tam and Alvin Ganesh to opt for James Cook University when furthering their studies.

Aussie education, Singapore style
For Tricia, the choice was straight-forward. She wanted an Australian education but didn’t want to move overseas. James Cook University in Singapore provided her with the perfect solution. She is now in the honours year of a Bachelor in Psychology, which she knows will be useful in her dream career of working with children.

Tricia’s love for working with children is obvious. After her GCE ‘O’ levels, she went on to attain a certificate and diploma related to pre-school teaching. JCU Singapore was then the next platform for the 24-year-old to fuel her passion in the field of child development.

For Alvin, the university was where he successfully made the switch from IT to Business. He graduated with a Diploma in IT in 2008 from one of the local pPolytechnics but felt disconnected with the fast-changing world of technology after spending two years in the army.

When he became interested in business, specifically the tourism and hospitality sector, he decided to pursue his new passion without delay. The fast-track program at James Cook University was his vehicle for doing just this.

Unlike most degree programs, students at James Cook University finish their courses more quickly because they complete a trimester academic year. This means shorter breaks and an additional trimester starting in October . In addition, with his previous diploma, Alvin was given some credit exemptions which allowed him to finish his Bachelor of Business (Tourism Management and Hospitality Management) in less than two years.

Quality Education
Though both Tricia and Alvin joined the University for different reasons, both agree that education quality was the primary draw.

Alvin says, “Even though the total time taken for the degree is shorter, the study requirements and quality are not compromised. James Cook University is in the top 5% of research universities in the wWorld. , ”So why not? It’s a great opportunity for me to study here.”

Tricia agrees, “I chose to do Psychology because it is accredited by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC). The degree I will get here will be recognised worldwide.”

The two students are also full of praise for the unique teaching methods at the university. It iIt’s a very hands- on inclusive approach which allows students to fully appreciate and apply the skills and concepts taught.

“Lecturers share their academic knowledge in a manner which. gives us a world’s perspective beyond the classroom. “Lessons and concepts are Australia-based but they are always related back to the Asian context,” said -said Alvin. “This allows us to look at issues from all perspectives.”

Tricia, on the other hand, appreciates the way lessons are interactive and hands-on. “It’s a very inclusive way to learn.”

“I came from an environment where teachers give out assignments and spoon-feed students with information and guidelines. But when you come here, you will really have to do that for yourself. ” “This encourages us to really understand the material,” Tricia elaborates.

Though studying is made more fun and effective by this approach, both Tricia and Alvin have had their fair share of challenges.

Tricia initially had problem adjusting to the university curriculum as she was confused by the number of subjects she had to take. Fortunately, the helpful staff and classmates were there to guide her.

“The staff here are all very helpful, and as for classmates, they are now my friends. It feels very homely here. The lecturers are always willing to help.”

Alvin, too, is taking the challenges in his stride. While he sometimes struggles with the variety of cultures, he looks at it in a positive manner. “This will certainly help me in the future because in tourism, you meet people from all over the world. You have to understand the different perspectives and cultures, so this actually gives me a head start.”

He muses, “It’ll be a good experience if we know how to make use of it. If we can overcome the difficulties and learn from each other, the synergy we create will be powerful!”

Bright Future
Looking into her future after graduation, Tricia says that she has set her mind on working in pre-schools. After gaining some experience, she plans to further her studies and go for a Master’s.

Unlike Tricia, Alvin is still exploring his career options, though he hopes that his interest in the tourism industry will somehow lead him to a pilot position with Singapore Airlines. Regardless of his future, Alvin is eager to make his mark in the working world.

“I believe I’ve become more confident by studying at James Cook University. I can put my views across to people and I’m not afraid to do so. I know I stand a good chance in the real world,” he says.

By Becky Lo

Contributed by JobsCentral Pte Ltd