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  • Francisca graduated with a Master of International Relations from University of Melbourne
  • She is now working with the UN's Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean

I love that I not only got the chance to experience Australian life, but also the lives of people from so many other cultures.

When Chilean journalism-qualified Francisca Diaz de Valdes arrived in Melbourne to study a Master of International Relations at Melbourne University, she expected to continue her dedication to academic achievement and learning. What she hadn’t foreseen, was how much she’d enjoy the vibrant arts scene of the city, the easy way of living and the friendships she’d make with people from around the world.

“I had classmates and met people from all around the world including Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Listening to their stories and views gave me an opportunity to have a greater understanding of differences and respect for others. I love that I not only got the chance to experience Australian life, but also the lives of people from so many other cultures.

“Studying in an environment full of passionate and committed academics and students dedicated to learning was so inspiring and refreshing,” she explains.

Since graduating from Melbourne University, Francisca has collaborated with several departments of the University of Melbourne and landed a role at the UN within ECLAC (Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean), working in communication within the policy area focussed on climate change. She hopes to continue her academic journey with a PhD.

I’m so grateful for the opportunities I have had and what’s coming up next as a result. For those reading my profile and still not sure about studying in Melbourne, I will say this; just do it!

While Francisca says she considers herself a hard worker who has always strived for academic results, she is also quick to point out the non-academic benefits of being a student in Melbourne.

Francisca Díaz de Valdés

“Melbourne is such a vibrant city with so much to see and do. You can ride your bike almost everywhere and there’s so many parks and nature around. I was surprised to see just how friendly people are and how much easier life can be – customer service is really great, and problems are always resolved quickly. Melbournians are friendly and treat each other with such respect, and there’s plenty of things to see and do, even on a tight budget.”

To get the most out of a study experience in Victoria, her advice is simple; “bring an open mind and kindness to yourself and others.”

“It’s a very transformative experience and for some it takes time to adjust. That’s ok. Be kind to yourself and take the time to digest all the new impressions. Once you have settled into your new life, make sure you experience as much as you can of the Australian way of life. Explore the city and the beautiful areas in Victoria. Enjoy the endless festivals and all the free activities in the city. Meet locals, including Indigenous Australians, and try to also immerse yourself in migrant communities. Your experience will be rich and with you for life.”