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Student Stories

Alisha wasn’t happy with her Queensland uni, so she switched to CDU

What’s it like to switch from one university to another after you’ve already begun your degree? CDU graduate Alisha Chapman has a few words of advice for anyone who’s thinking of doing just that. Read on to learn how Alisha switched gears and found the path to her passion.

Peta’s altruistic goals are inspired by a Disney heroine

Peta Lewellin says that her ultimate dream is to become the Mary Poppins of the postnatal world. What does that mean? And how is Peta able to pursue Charles Darwin University’s Bachelor of Midwifery when she lives thousands of kilometres away? Read on to find out more about Peta and her commitment to excellence in maternal care.

People her age were “settling down” but Pat followed her dream of living and studying in Australia

Pattarawadee Chatleelawat—Pat for short—made the move to the quiet city of Darwin from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok to study a Certificate III & IV of Commercial Cookery and a Diploma of Hospitality Management with Charles Darwin University. This experienced hotelier has her sights set on a career as a hospitality entrepreneur, but as an international student, wanted to formalise the skills she’s honed during her career in the hotel industry before embarking on this exciting new life stage.

How do you wrangle a brachiosaurus? Just ask Rory, the Australian Apprentice of the Year

Overseeing the move of Big Kev the dinosaur may not be the most important recent event in Rory Milner’s life, but it’s right up there. “Big Kev is a Territory icon. People ask me, ‘How’s Kev? Will he be safe?” says the Charles Darwin University graduate.

From China to Galiwin’ku: Coco’s passion for positive change

Studying a Master of Teaching at Charles Darwin University’s Casuarina campus, with the aim to graduate in 2021, Coco Chan has embraced her new life in Australia. Listing watching the sunsets from Darwin’s Mindil and Nightcliff Beaches and camping in Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks among her favourite pursuits, Coco has been taken by the veritable cultural melting pot that is Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory. Hear more of Coco’s story below.

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Research: Can Indonesia’s unique batik artistry be protected by copyright?

Dina wanted to find a way of safeguarding and protecting the cultural assets and traditions of her Indonesian homeland. So, she moved from the bustling city of Yogyakarta to Darwin to pursue a Higher Degree by Research (HDR) at Charles Darwin University. Read Dina’s story to find out where her journey led.

Sweta is following in her family’s footsteps at CDU

The person I am today as a student in my final semester is completely different from who I was in my first semester. There’s a lot to be said for family traditions, particularly when it comes to selecting a university and choosing a career path. International student Sweta Maharjan is the fourth member of her family to study at Charles Darwin University, pursuing her dream of becoming a chartered accountant like her dad. Family is everything to Sweta. Her drive to study accounting bloomed as a child growing up in Nepal, where she witnessed her father’s passion and professionalism when going about his work as the chairman of a cooperative. “I’ve always seen my father wearing a proper suit to work,” Sweta said. “I remember him giving speeches at annual general meetings in his role as chairman, and he’s still the chair, delivering speeches each year!” As a little girl, Sweta would picture herself as an adult, following in her father’s footsteps as a chartered accountant, a dream and tradition her dad was delighted to support by encouraging Sweta to study a Bachelor of Accounting. Sweta’s aunt, uncle and sister had wonderful experiences as students at Charles Darwin University and were quick to recommend it to her. “My aunt, uncle and my sister have been living in Darwin for more than five years,” Sweta said. “They told me all about the city when I was making up my mind about where to study. “Some things, like the weather, are very similar to Nepal, which made it easier for me to adapt to life here.” Until making the move to Australia to study with CDU, Sweta had lived her life under her parents’ wings and it took a while to get used to her new life as an international university student, where she would have to fend for herself. “The reality of my first day of university did not meet my expectations,” Sweta said. “I was feeling homesick, I didn’t know anyone, and because English was my third language, I struggled with communication barriers.” “Everywhere I looked, I saw strangers and I started really missing my friends back home. I was too shy to ask questions in class, and it took me some time to adjust to the pace of university study. Plus I had no idea how to balance study and work. There were just so many adjustments I had to make in my life.” By talking to her family about how she was feeling and learning from their similar experiences, Sweta said her confidence began to grow.   “After the first semester, I had learned how to manage my time better and I was able to keep on top of my study load,” Sweta said. “I’d developed the confidence to ask questions in class when I was having trouble understanding. I’d also made some great friends and by having a support network at university I was coping better with feelings of homesickness.” By Semester 2 of her first year, Sweta had joined the ranks of CDU’s Student Ambassadors, where she made lifelong friends and helped new students make the transition to university life. “The person I am today as a student in my final semester is completely different from who I was in my first semester,” “I feel more confident because of everything I’ve experienced along the way—the good and the bad—and I know I can do things that used to scare me.” Ready to start or advance your accounting career? Study Accounting online or on campus at CDU to find your new world, your way. Choose from a Certificate, Diploma, Bachelor or Master of Accounting. Explore our courses.

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

Beth is a proud Wiradjuri woman from Canberra. In 2017, Beth took the first step in her journey to becoming a lawyer, by completing CDU’s free Tertiary Enabling Program. These days, Beth is well on the way to achieving her dream; she’s finishing her Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Law degree online, while working as a legal intern at a law firm in Brisbane.

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From Arts to Accounting: Vicky’s international student journey

Huijia Liu (Vicky) describes herself as a woman who loves sunshine, smiles and exploring the world. We think she can also describe herself as a resilient and adaptive learner, having made the courageous move from Bachelor of Arts graduate to Master of Professional Accounting student in 2019. Read more to learn Vicky’s story about being an international student at Charles Darwin University’s Waterfront campus in the Northern Territory.

Rural Indonesia to nuclear NSW: Bijay's Engineering expeditions

For Nepalese student Bijay, studying engineering at Charles Darwin University has been a family affair. And as an external student who’s now pursuing a Master’s degree, his studies have taken him from a rural village in Indonesia to a nuclear energy site in NSW. Read on to find out about Bijay’s experience as a CDU student—and where he hopes it will lead. Where I’m from, Nepal, there’s still a lot of work in civil infrastructure that needs to be done. My thought was to study engineering and hopefully contribute one day

Ben found his tribe as an international student in Darwin

Ben’s journey as a Charles Darwin University international student started in a slightly unconventional way. He had failed his English exams in the fourth year of his finance degree in his home country of Colombia. He needed to build his language skills to resit his exams and graduate. A cousin living in Darwin suggested that Ben join him to learn English, so Ben threw caution to the wind and did exactly that. Find out how Ben went from learning the English language to becoming an award-winning international student advocate and Bachelor of Accounting student at CDU.  

International scholarship for Elinor’s Indigenous policy study dream

Elinor’s focus on her studies recently paid off when was awarded a Vice-Chancellor’s International High Achiever Scholarship to study a postgraduate degree at Charles Darwin University in Darwin. At 22-years-old, Elinor is one of the youngest students in her class, but she’s on a decidedly advanced study path—a Master of Public Policy that she’ll use to address Indigenous disadvantage.

Studying nursing online with a full-time job: Paramjit's story

Taking a trip to the hospital for a health problem isn’t usually a way to find inspiration. But in Paramjit Kaur’s case, it’s what led her to study nursing at Charles Darwin University. Read on to learn the source of Paramjit’s inspiration and how she manages to juggle a full-time job as well as family responsibilities while studying as a part-time external student.

Leaving my home country for the first time to study: Tatenda's story

For Tatenda Simbarashe Mapuranga, moving to Darwin to study a Business degree at Charles Darwin University was a series of firsts. He’s the first in his family to study at university and the first to travel abroad in pursuit of education. It was also the first time he had left his home country, and the first time he’d been on a plane. Read on to find out how Tatenda coped brilliantly with the huge adjustment that comes with studying as an international student.

Why I changed careers at 30

Daniel had a career in banking, but after eight years he realised that it wasn't the career for him. He shares how he decided to put passion ahead of profession and instead study his hobby.

Taking the next step in my early childhood career: Tannille's story

After a few years in the big smoke, Tannille moved back to the regional, coastal town of Elliston in South Australia with her husband and young family. It was the perfect opportunity to take a new professional direction. She started a family day care centre and with her business underway, the mum of three decided it was time to gain her bachelor's degree in early childhood education. Here's her story. 

Why I'm finally doing a teaching degree: Wendy's story

After a decade or so of working in a range of jobs and raising two daughters, Wendy show us it's never too late to follow your passion. She's studying a teaching degree online at CDU from her home in Victoria, while juggling family and work. Here's how giving herself permission to do something she loves is preparing her for a challenging and rewarding career.  

Why I changed careers to become a teacher: Sallie's story

After 15 years as an event manager, Sallie decided it was time for a change after her second daughter arrived. She took the plunge and applied to study a teaching degree online at CDU, which she'd been thinking about for a while. Here's how she's putting her creativity, organisational and time management skills to task as she juggles her teaching degree, family and three jobs. 

My two weeks in the Amazon protecting turtles

As part of her Bachelor of Environmental Science, CDU student Erica Smith seized the opportunity to cross Brazil off her travel bucket list as she took part in the two-week Brazilian Amazon Field Intensive (BAFI) offered by CDU's College of Engineering, IT and Environment. Erica is currently half-way through her degree and determined to major in Wildlife Conservation.  For the past five years, Erica studied part time so she could fit in her work schedule. Last year, she moved to Darwin from a remote community in East Arnhem Land to transition into full time study at Casuarina Campus and make faster progress toward completing her studies.