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Student Stories

Why I moved to Darwin to study Psychology

Victorian native Matthew Cartwright was on a road trip from Darwin to Katherine in July last year, when he saw a sign on the road for Charles Darwin University. At the time, Matt was in his final year of a Bachelor of Psychology down in Melbourne, and was planning his next move.

A 'once in a lifetime' summer interning at Harvard Law School

In 2017, CDU Bachelor of Laws student Paul Larder travelled to the USA, to work as a Legal Intern at Harvard Law School; specifically, its Immigration and Refugee Clinic (HIRC).  The program, which sees one high-achieving CDU Bachelor of Law student selected to travel to Harvard each year, is now in its fifth year. It represents an exceptional opportunity for CDU Law students to develop their migration law knowledge and skills, while working and studying at one of the most elite Law Schools in the world. Paul Larder was selected for the prestigious four-week placement in 2017. Here’s his story.

I'm living my best life at CDU Sydney

Sydney is Australia’s largest and most famous city with a lively and vibrant buzz that makes it the ultimate destination year-round. The city always has plenty of things to do no matter what the season and it's the perfect place for those students coming in from overseas to study here. We took the opportunity to speak to Bachelor of Accounting student, Ashweeta Paudel about her CDU Sydney experience so far.

I went back to uni at 55 to better understand human behaviour

Darwin-born Cathryn Doney had a professional IT consulting career before she decided to study Psychology at CDU. Cathryn plans to draw on her life experience and skills to succeed. She is aiming to pave her way to a future in research, academia, applied learning, or in a consulting capacity at the junction of technology, organisational design and psychological science. 

Studying Science to become an ecologist: Alana's story

CDU student Alana de Laive has developed a keen interest in wildlife and herpetology. She has worked in various roles as an ecologist and wildlife keeper and wanted to further her career by undertaking a part-time Bachelor of Science (Ecology) degree with CDU. Alana is continuing her studies with an Honours project focusing on the conservation of the giant Amazon River turtle.  

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Shoring up her industry skills: Emma’s postgrad study story

As the humanitarian aid and disaster management sector evolves, keeping up with best practice and new ways of responding to crises has never been more important. That’s exactly why Emma Kettle chose to return to uni to take on a postgraduate degree. Having worked in the humanitarian aid sector for more than 15 years, Emma enrolled in a Master of Disaster and Emergency Management at CDU to shore up her skills. She’s now the Director of Capability at RedR Australia, a not-for-profit organisation that provides humanitarian response training and assistance to alleviate suffering in post-disaster and emergency situations. Studying online gave me the freedom to continue working Why Emma chose to invest in her professional development After spending many years working in the education and development sectors in the Asia Pacific and Middle East, Emma moved into the humanitarian sector. Her job at RedR Australia involves providing training for first responders to disasters and emergencies in Australia and overseas. She teaches aid workers about the technical and soft skills they’ll need in the field, along with how the humanitarian system works globally. In 2014, Emma decided it was time to invest in her own professional development and enrolled in her Master’s degree. At CDU, I could tailor my Master’s degree to suit my professional needs and interests “Although I had worked in the sector for about 15 years, I didn’t have a formal qualification in my field,” she explains. “My undergraduate degree was totally unrelated to humanitarian work. I was looking for a postgraduate degree that would consolidate my skills and add depth to my practice.” “At CDU, I could tailor my Master’s degree to suit my professional needs and interests. I chose to specialise in cultural competency, which is a huge part of my job at RedR. I completed some fantastic units that taught me so much about how people understand, communicate and interact in culturally-diverse contexts.”   How Emma balanced studying online with work and travel As she’s based in Melbourne and travels extensively for work, Emma completed her Master’s mostly online, with a few short trips to Darwin to complete intensive units in disease and health control. “My experience at CDU was really positive. I enjoyed getting back to study after such a long time away from uni, although there were some surprises along the way,” she says. “Students are a lot more independent now than they were 15 years ago. Most of us were studying remotely and logging onto lectures virtually.” “Studying online gave me the freedom to continue working. I logged on to the online learning platform a few times a week, carving out time when it suited me. And one of the best things was regular and easy access to the course coordinator. She was really responsive and any time I had a question it was just a case of shooting off an email.” On travelling up to Darwin, Emma says: “It was only ever two weeks away from home and a good dose of face-to-face time. The opportunity to work alongside my peers gave me that great sense of collegiality.” I enjoyed getting back to study after such a long time away from uni Why Emma chose CDU “There are so many courses on offer now. I chose CDU because I travel so much in my job, so it was a huge advantage to be able to do a lot of the study remotely,” Emma said. “In some ways, the mode of study – whether it’s online or in a classroom – is just as important as the course content. The course content at CDU was exactly what I needed and I found it really valuable to be able to learn the way that I wanted to.”

Studying to start a career in humanitarian aid: Cecilia’s story

Cecilia wants a career helping people, so she’s studying a Bachelor of Humanitarian and Community Studies at CDU. After travelling for a while and spending some time working with children, she’s upped the ante and is completing her degree so she’s prepared to work with refugees and special migrants. Read on to find out how she’s finding the course, getting job-ready and managing her studies.

Margo's advice for Year 12 students

Making it through Year 12 and deciding to take the leap from high school to uni can feel overwhelming at times. If you’re feeling nervous about your Year 12 final exams or still deciding what would be the right step after high school for you, try not to worry! It's more common than you may think to not have all the answers.   Third-year CDU Law student Margo Hi can relate. She shares some advice on how to approach this important time in your life.

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Studying to support the refugee community: Esther's story

Meet Esther Canmue. A refugee herself, she’s passionate about providing support for new refugees arriving in Australia. She’s investing in her career by studying a Bachelor of Humanitarian and Community Studies at CDU – while working full time as a refugee and asylum seeker support worker and raising a family. Read on to see how she’s balancing study, life and work to reach her goals. 

Unraveling the mystery of northern Australia’s most elusive mammal

Alyson Stobo-Wilson is an Environmental Scientist completing her PhD at Charles Darwin University. Alyson participated in the Three Minute Thesis Competition (3MT) and was the runner up with her topic Unraveling the mystery of northern Australia’s most elusive mammal. 

Coming home to give back to the environment: Alyson’s PhD story

Alyson Stobo-Wilson is an Environmental Scientist completing her PhD at Charles Darwin University. Many of her days are spent traipsing through the tropical savannas of northern Australia collecting data on a new species of marsupial glider. Ultimately, Alyson’s research will form the basis of knowledge on this particular species and help with its conservation, as well as inform management of other tree-dwelling mammals in northern Australia. But Alyson’s remarkable experience as a higher degree by research student at CDU hasn’t been without sacrifice – read on for her full story.

Ten study tips for surviving your uni degree

Unless you’ve studied at university before, it can all seem a little overwhelming. Between attending lectures, doing assignments and readings, and fitting in the odd coffee or run, life can get busy. We asked some CDU students what their ultimate study tip is for those who are just starting their uni journey. Read on to learn from the best. 

Sustainability, socialising and studying abroad: Shannon’s story

As an NT local, Shannon always had her sights set on CDU for when she finished Year 12. She’s now in her fourth year of studying a Bachelor of Engineering/Master of Engineering (Civil & structural) at the Casuarina campus in Darwin and plans to graduate in 2019.  Shannon will be graduating with great memories from her time at uni: she’s travelled to Indonesia on a humanitarian research trip; made new friends; started one of CDU’s most active social clubs; been an Engineers Australia Student Ambassador for CDU; won three awards (so far) for outstanding achievement and commitment; and received a few scholarships, proving that hard work does pay off!

Zarah shows us it's never too late to become a lawyer

After moving to Australia, trying her hand at a range of jobs and starting a family, Zarah Tenorio's dream of becoming a lawyer is finally becoming a reality. She's just started her Bachelor of Laws and is already kicking goals. Just recently, she received an Outstanding Academic Achievement Award. Read on to see how she's navigating life as a law student and working mum. 

Balancing study and a great social life

Muriel Scholz moved from Katherine to begin studying a  Bachelor of Science at CDU and has chosen to live on campus at  International House Darwin (IHD). She loves to socialise with the domestic and international CDU students who also reside at IHD  and shares her experience about making life-long friends at uni, and tips about how to balance study and social life with us. I was born and raised in Katherine, just down the road. Darwin and CDU seemed like a good place to start off, being so close to home and something I was comfortable and familiar with. Initially, I discovered IHD by staying here briefly on a high school excursion but rediscovered it myself through researching accommodation options once I'd decided to move to Darwin. 

Burpees for mental health awareness: Bridie’s story

Burpee master, 2017 Northern Territory Young Australian of the Year and CDU Alumni, Bridie Duggan, is on a mission to raise awareness about mental illness prevention, and to spread the word about the positive impacts physical activity can have on mental health. She candidly shared with us how a personal tragedy inspired her to set Australia on the path to mental health wellbeing, all while gaining incredible success along the way.   

Back in the saddle to further my career

Emma Host is a Darwin local who left high school 20 years ago. She’s had a successful corporate career but some roadblocks on her way to the top of the ladder challenged her to take a new path. Emma is currently completing a Bachelor of Accounting full time at the CDU Darwin Waterfront campus with the goal of furthering her career. It was an obvious choice for Emma to stay in Darwin to pursue her degree. She explains to us why she is determined to enjoy what she considers the time of her life studying at CDU.   

I'm the first in my family to go to uni

Beth Cooper is a proud Wiradjuri woman from Canberra; passionate about Australian history, design, communication and solving community development issues. Last year, she moved to Darwin to pursue her life goals; kick-starting her study dreams with CDU's free Tertiary Enabling program. Coming from a line of strong women, Beth is the first person in her family to go to university and is currently pursuing a combined Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws degree in the hope to become a workers’ rights advocate. We caught up with her to celebrate her first High Distinction grade and to hear about her story.   

A remote-area Nursing student in the Outback

With a passion for improving the mental health outcomes for people living in remote and rural communities, Rachel Ashton has proudly completed her last two clinical placements in the Northern Territory as part of her Bachelor of Nursing degree with CDU.  We asked Rachel about what motivated her through her study journey as well as her experiences on placement, and the challenges she faced along the way to become a Registered Nurse.