Top Reasons to Study Abroad: Experience from Sydney, Australia

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Graduation ceremony at UNSW Australia

“Choosing a major, profession, career, and eventually committing to a job are all significant steps. One of the questions that someone might get asked most often: “How does someone choose the right career path?”. In this article, Gabrielle shares her journey from deciding to pursue a higher degree overseas and how it opens up so many incredible doors for her to explore her career.”

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Why did you decide to study overseas?

Once, I heard a quote that says, “Whether you like it or not, sometimes the best moments in life come from doing the things that scare you the most.” Growing up, I have always had a dream to study abroad, but the questions that stuck with me for years were: When? Where? How? Can I survive? I finally took a leap of faith to leave my comfort zones (families and friends) and went to the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, in 2015. I honestly never regret that decision. It was one of the most important life-changing decisions I made.

Gabrielle in Sydney, Australia
Gabrielle in Sydney, Australia. Source: Personal Documentation

If you are currently considering to study a Bachelor’s degree abroad, and it makes your eyes sparkle, then I would definitely encourage you to pursue your dream. But if you still have some doubts and need some convincing reasons, here are some of the reasons that will worth thinking through:

1. Top-quality education – this is definitely everyone’s dream – getting the highest possible quality of education. Becoming an international student can greatly broaden your study options. With unlimited resources, you can experience highly regarded higher education systems in various countries.

 

2. Personal development – a challenge to become independent and to learn more about yourself. I was 19 years old when the first time I studied abroad. I had never been to Australia before, I had never flown alone before, and I had never lived for a long time with someone else than my parents before. Studying abroad is a great way to accelerate your personal growth and become more independent. It may not be necessarily easy, but the unique challenges that come along the way will make the whole experience so valuable and worthwhile.

3. Traveling and new experience – when you study abroad, you really get the chance to explore a new country and see things that ordinary tourists would never experience. Every day offers the opportunity for new adventures, and because you only live once – you need to make the best out of it! See the world, explore and visit new places, and immerse yourself in a new culture.

4. Career opportunities – employers appreciate employees with excellent language skills, international understanding who are willing to take on new challenges – and studying at a well-known prestigious university can really stand out on your CV. Several studies show that students who have studied abroad are more attractive on the job markets – they are less likely to stay unemployed for an extended period of time, and their initial salary is higher than local people.

What are the things that should be considered before choosing a major?

1. Plan thoroughly – this means doing the research, study the university’s admission processes, what qualifications you need to have before applying, budgeting, and discussing it with your families, friends, mentors. Do not ever let your finances stop you from doing what you are called to do. There are so many scholarships available for you.

2. Think about your passionsYour passions can perhaps still be vague. If you are still figuring out your passion, it is okay too. Think about where your time is focused. Ask yourself, “Where do you spend your time? If you had a free day where you could do anything you wanted, how would you spend that time?”

3. What are you good at? – think through your technical abilities. You can also take various tests that determine your strengths. This can be a great starting point to decide your major.

4. Consider the job market – it is important to know the career prospect before pursuing a specific major. Do some research around the job demand, and learning what kind of opportunities that will be offered after graduating.

For me personally, I am passionate about Mathematics. Since I was a kid, I have always loved working with numbers. I sought advice from my family, friends, and teachers and took several personality tests before I decided to pursue Actuarial Science. At that time, Actuarial was still a new major, and not many people knew about it. Hence, I did extensive research, including what university I should go for.

How was your life as an Undergraduate student in Sydney, Australia? Anything exciting during your university years?

Gabrielle during summer exchange at UCLA. Source: Personal Documentation
Gabrielle during summer exchange at UCLA. Source: Personal Documentation

As a full-time student, my life revolved mostly around studying. I had packed schedules every week from Monday to Friday, from the morning to the evening. However, the good thing I love as a university student is that I could pick classes and schedule my semesters based on my preferable times. I usually tried to fit all classes in the morning and afternoon, so I could start revising or doing assignments in the evenings. As an international student, I also could work part-time for 20 hours a week. So I decided to work as a Mathematics Tutor and had a total of around ten students. I absolutely love the experience from earning my own money to discovering my passion for teaching.

University of California, Los Angeles. Source: Personal Documentation
University of California, Los Angeles. Source: Personal Documentation

During my final year at the university, I had a privilege to go on a student exchange at the University of California, Los Angeles, in 2017. I even got selected to receive a scholarship, which helped a lot in terms of finances. As I mentioned before, growing up, I really love traveling. And I have always dreamed of studying and traveling to great universities. Little did I know, it became a dream come true! Not only I got to explore Australia, but also I could even experience a top American university and their learning culture. I would definitely say this exchange was the best moment I had during my university years. And I want to encourage every one of you who is currently reading this – there is no dream that is too big. You can achieve whatever you want if you put your mind to it.

How did your study experience help your career progression and took you to the next level?

Right after graduation, I started job hunting in the financial industry. It took some time until I landed my first job as a Data Analyst in one of the world’s leading reinsurers. After several months, I got offered a job as an Actuarial Analyst in my dream company. Fast forward two years later, I am now an Assistant Actuarial Manager working in a big and well-known insurance company in the world. My Bachelor’s degree has helped me to get a prestigious role in the market and opened up so many amazing opportunities. I believe that a good education will be the most significant asset, and that is why you should invest the best in your future.

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Editor: Yogi Saputra Mahmud

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Gabrielle Kosasih
Gabrielle Kosasih is an Actuarial graduate from the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia and recently completed her further study with Macquaire University majoring in Actuarial Science part II. She was born and raised in Jakarta and moved to Sydney, Australia in 2015. She is an Actuary, a profession that uses past data in order to quantify risk and uncertainty in the future. In simpler way, Actuary evaluates risk and opportunities – applying mathematical, statistical, economic, and financial analysis to a wide range of business problems. Actuary is needed everywhere, some of the more readily recognized fields in which actuaries work are insurance, reinsurance, superannuation, wealth management, investments, health financing, banking, data analytics, consulting, and even executive positions in the operational management of financial institutions. She loves travelling, teaching, singing, and playing sports such as basketball, tennis and swimming. You can reach her at gabrielle.kosasih@gmail.com