Theresa Joachim wasn’t confident she had made the right move when she shifted to the city. Here’s how she made it work.
Upping sticks is never easy, least of all when you’re headed into the unknown. For Theresa, an Associate Degree in Business student, it was a daunting time.
“I came from the country where I had a lot of friends and making the big move to the city was extremely tough,” she said.
But Theresa settled in quickly and found a supportive community to help her transition easier.
“The RMIT culture and atmosphere makes you feel right at home,” she said.
“Through the support network at the Ngarara Willim Centre I was able to settle in well after the first semester.”
Staff at the Centre help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students engage with education and provide guidance with study, living and cultural needs.
“I gave myself a month to stick it out being in the city and it paid off. I’m so glad I stayed,” Theresa said.
“I was lucky enough to make regular trips home to visit family and friends which made the transition easier.”
“Receiving these scholarships was a huge help each semester,” she said.
“With those funds I was able to afford text books and study expenses throughout the year.”
Theresa’s first job was at a local supermarket, followed by positions at food factories and later as a customer service representative at the Commonwealth Bank. While studying at RMIT she completed an internship at multinational Honeywell.
“Honeywell was one of the greatest companies I had the privilege to work for,” she said.
“I worked on the largest construction project in Victoria as an administrator for project directors and a part of the procurement team.
“I gained knowledge and experience from project management, engineers, site managers, cost controllers, law and contracts workers, directors and human resources.”
She now works at the Ngarara Willim Centre and aims to use her studies to help own her own business one day.
“The best aspect of the Associate Degree in Business is that the courses complement each other and expose students to all the different elements of an organisation,” she said.
“It gives you the foundation and outline of what you need to consider when starting your own business.”
Her advice to others, particularly students moving from the country, is not to be afraid of facing the challenges of university.
“If I could speak to my past self as a student, I wish I could tell myself that there is nothing scary when it comes to university,” she said.
“Education doesn’t stop when you finish high school. Always follow your dreams and never let anyone belittle you.”