Study Melbourne partnered with Melbourne Writers Festival 2018 to host a storytelling competition for international students. ‘Living Overseas’ by Monica Ferreira Rocha from Brazil was shortlisted in the Vocational Education and Training category and the winner of the People's Choice Award.

Living Overseas

When I arrived in Melbourne (AU), I studied English in my sixth months, through General English, Cambridge preparation and Business classes.  It was a great opportunity to meet new people, new cultures. After that, I decided to continue my studies in Melbourne, however, to improve not only my English but also my professional field. I finished the course of Project Management and I just started the course of Program Management. As an Engineer, I had been expanded my knowledge about projects tools, techniques and software. Also, I have been explored more about different areas and networks with very successfully projects.  Overall it has been a great experience and challenge for me. It is about personal and professional feelings in a deeply way. Studying subjects about my real field of occupation is a really motivation for me, I can revive and realize how qualified I am, professionally talking. Otherwise I forget a little bit about my strong background back home, since the paid jobs I have done here are totally different from my professional reality in my country.

Engineering is really one of my passions and study about projects are totally related on this. I have done many jobs about improvement continuous in my last professional experiences. So, I would love to improve myself and be more competitive in this field. Living in this country is a kind of benchmark for me. Australia is growing up very fast and many opportunities of job have been appeared with this scenario. So, I have been thinking about live here for more time and contribute somehow with my background and academic knowledge. Also, I think that it is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy a safe and livable place. I believe to be a mutual growth, for me and for this country.

It is unbelievable how many different jobs I have done living in Australia. For many reasons as English improvement, learning about new cultures, payment of my bills, and the last, but not the less important, to help each other as a human being. I worked as a housekeeper, dish washer, kitchen hand, cleaner, caregiver, telemarketing and others more. Of course, each of them I did my best and I learned somehow. However, sometimes I feel very outsider. I want to do more, but I have the language barrier yet. I still struggling with my English and it is a little bit frustrating somehow. But, I think that the most important thing in life is still going on because we are alive. And it is what matters. I had a experience as actress in Melbourne and it helped me a lot about be more what I am, shy but strong. I never would do it, even in my own language, but I did and it was one of the best things I did in Melbourne. The group Act of Translation was a group of international students telling and sharing theirs real histories in a deeply way and theater. We presented many performances last year and this year, with the end of the project. The name of this performance was "She'll be all right".  We all enjoyed a lot, including the audience, and it was helpful in many ways.

I am currently volunteer at Australia Red Cross, witch is amazing to be part of the team. As a member of Supporter Services Center, I started on July/2017 with activities of telemarketing calls to say thank for the donors. Nowadays, I still doing this, but I also work with internal document audit, update of registration in the system, conference on returned checks and application of internal procedure. I also did volunteer in the kitchen of my church, helping the team to cook for people in specifics dates as Christmas and New Year. Last year, along with these others volunteers, I worked during 6 months with Cerebral Palsy Support Network, as a social job. I helped them with support for disabled people. I used to go every day at work place of someone disable and help in some activities as hearing aid maintenance, physiological activities int he toilet and small talking. Also, I did a job as coach for international students about jobs in Australia. Basically was presented workshop with real practices.

Overall, Melbourne-Australia has won as one of the most livable places to live and really is. As an international student we can study, work and still enjoy several entertainments every day. We have a super safe, clean place with great infrastructure, transportation options and various facilities for free. Of course, sometimes the cost of living is high, but so we have the right to work, which allows us to sustain ourselves quietly. Even, if we do not have many reserves of money. It is more than one experience overseas, we can explore several different cultures, great diversity of foods and drinks, incredible parks and lush libraries! It is simply impossible not to recommend this place ans share this experience!