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  • Millie is a graduate of the William Angliss Institute of Tafe
  • She is now a recognised food stylist in Korea.

In Australia, our teachers really challenged us to share ideas and discuss.Our lecturers were incredible and the classroom full of students from around the world. My scope of thinking has been expanded.

When Korean student Millie Sinyoung Lee came to Melbourne to study an Advanced Diploma in Commercial Cookery, there was little doubt in her mind that her future was a career as a chef. After living in what she calls the “capital of food and café culture in Australia”, she discovered that her experience and studies opened her world to a wide range of opportunities within the food industry.

“Experiencing the diversity of the food industry and living in a city that feels like it’s both European and Asian gave me a completely new perspective. I realised I could be more than a chef and I could use my passion for food in different ways. It has been fundamental to my career and success,” says Millie.

She is now a recognised food stylist in her home country of Korea and has her eyes set on building a food styling empire, combining her love of food and talents in creative designs.

“I want people to think of ‘Millie’ when they think about styling in Korea. There’s plenty of food stylists around, but few of them have the qualifications and practical experience I have as a trained chef. It gives me a real competitive advantage,” she says.

Millie studied at the William Angliss Institute of TAFE in the heart of Melbourne, enjoying contemporary facilities and a student environment completely different from what she had ever experienced.

“I was so used to sitting in a classroom, just listening and taking notes. In Australia, our teachers really challenged us to share ideas and discuss. Our lecturers were incredible and the classroom full of students from around the world. It made from some really interesting discussions and drawing of conclusions that I would have never reached myself. My scope of thinking has been expanded,” she says, adding that it wasn’t just the classroom environment that helped her see things differently.

“Melbourne is so multicultural and Melburnians really open minded. I quickly made friends with people from many different countries, as well as locals of course. I learnt so much from getting an insight into different ways of life.”

While Melbourne wasn’t exactly what she had imagined – she had only seen pictures of beaches and breathtaking scenery – the city was a pleasant surprise. The mix of heritage buildings and skyscrapers gave her a sense of being in Europe, while the relaxed atmosphere and friendly people were more like the Australia she had imagined.

Settling into a new city, a new country and a new study environment wasn’t without challenges, however Millie quickly realised that challenges could be overcome easily if she just asked for help. Her advice to new student is simple: make an effort to meet people and become a local.

“It’s easy to find friends from your home country, but it’s so important to practice your English and feel connected to your new home. Read newspapers, watch local news and TV, speak with locals and do your best to make friends that are not from your home country. It will enrich your experience and give you a network for life.”

Millie is now based in Korea, but returns to what she refers to as her “second home” regularly for inspiration and to visit friends.