But there were also practical reasons. For example, I’d say it was the most cost-effective within Sydney’s biggest unis: UTS, Sydney University, the University of New South Wales and Western Sydney. Among these, in terms of price, it was the best option. The third factor, and also one of the biggest reasons, was that they offered scholarships for international students, apart from the public scholarships. It was like any university thing: I could just apply and try to be the lucky one, which I was! To read more about Ligia’s inspirational story as to why she wanted to study abroad, click here.
Another important factor in choosing Western Sydney was my contact with Isis Kowaliauskas. She has become a colleague, but at the time it was through seeing her Facebook post in one of the Brazilian communities that I met her. She is a Brazilian, who works in the international department at the uni. After looking at her Facebook post about Western Sydney, I wanted to go there and see what she has to say. That was when everything started and after that we became colleagues. In the beginning, it was just the hook because I didn’t know anybody else. She was so sweet and helpful: she introduced me to the whole university and the whole course and everything. And then I said, yes, that’s where I want to do my masters.
The MBA internships: tipping the balance in favour of WSU
There was another very important factor in my choice: the internships that the university offered. You could choose between internships which ran for the last six months of the two-year course, giving you the opportunity to actually work for a real company. I saw this as a good opportunity for me and it was something that was different from the other unis, for sure. It became one of the biggest factors for my decision. Click here to read more about Ligia’s internship opportunities.
At that time, early on before going to university, I wasn’t working in my field. I didn’t have a business-related job: I was working as a waitress.
When Isis told me about the internship and that I would have the opportunity to work for a big multinational here in Sydney (and she mentioned a lot of names), that really opened my eyes. It gave me a sense of security because you were going to be channeled into something that almost guaranteed that you would be able to move on after finishing the course instead of finishing and finding yourself on your own. For an international student, that was especially important. This was available to everyone who had shown that they were a good student. Click here to read more about Ligia’s time at her internship.
Two things stand out for me. The first was getting a job in marketing. As I mentioned before, when I started, I was working as a waitress: working the whole day and then going to uni the next day. It was very exhausting so I started looking for jobs in marketing and I got my first job when I was in the second quarter of uni. This was also challenging because there was an overlap of the jobs: I was waitressing in a Brazilian restaurant at the weekend and working in marketing for three days a week and going to uni for the other two. I had to manage all the aspects of my life. I was studying full time because as an international student I didn’t have another choice: I had to attend full-time classes. And then I had to manage my personal life as well. Everything together was very challenging, but it was a very good challenge for me – it was a good experience.
Everything together was very challenging, but it was a very good challenge for me – it was a good experience.