Amali's Story

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Name: Amali Abeykoon

Country: Sri Lanka

Course: Diploma of Business Administration

"My long term goal was to achieve a bachelor degree in commerce. CIT’s study pathways to the University of Canberra (UC) helped me to graduate in the Bachelor of Commerce with a fantastic GPA. CIT also assisted me to start my career at CIT and now I am in the industry working for the ACT Government for more than five years. CIT and UC studies also aided me to obtain Permanent Residency in Australia."

About CIT

Amali

When you were making your decision to come to Australia to study, what made you choose the Canberra Institute of Technology?

My agent was IDP Australia in Sri Lanka and they recommend me to study at CIT. I had been told about CIT, its courses and its pathways to university study by my family and friends who live in Australia. They inspired me to study at CIT. I thought that this would be the ideal way of learning in Australia.

Compared to your learning experiences in your home country, how were the teaching methods at CIT different?

The education system at CIT was very different to my home country. The learning and teaching style was very unique and CIT uses a wide variety of teaching methods ranging from grammar, sentence structure, vocabulary, spelling etc.

It was quite challenging for me to study in a foreign language after the completion of all my studies back home in my own language. CIT’s teaching and learning is built on two-way communication, where teachers encourage students to discuss and actively engage in learning like tutorials, lectures, audio and visual presentations, small/large group discussions, independent learning etc. I experienced learning through watching, doing, listening, speaking, researching and writing in variety of class activities.

Group based learning was one of my favourites where I had a chance to share my experience and learning back home with Australian students. The orientation week helped me to familiarise and adapt to the culture in Australia.

We did not have to do much on the computer back home but in Australia it was all done on computer. I didn’t have much experience using the Microsoft Office suite but I learnt everything for basic to advanced skills through CIT, which later gave me opportunities and capabilities to obtain work and perform well in all the administration roles at CIT. The technology used at CIT was ultra-modern and current. I was amazed by the experience in using the vast technical aspects at CIT.

Assignments and report writing were challenging to me. The ideas, examples, way of thinking, way of engaging all were very different to back home and it took me some time to understand the teaching systems and methods at CIT. I managed to grasp it fast with help of teachers and my fellow class mates. I believe that CIT’s technology offers powerful learning tools that demand new skills and understanding of different characteristics of learning. I had to develop new learning strategies and work hard towards exams and assignments in order to be competent in my subjects

The most challenging part was to adapt CIT’s learning style and assessment requirements. As an international student this can be very difficult; education wise and culture wise. The tutorial support and learning support helped immensely and assisted me in gaining excellent marks in all subjects.

Describe your first impressions of CIT?

My first visit to the International Students Unit (ISU) in Bruce was a nervous one when I thought about the responsibility ahead of me for my life in Australia. My impression changed dramatically after talking to the staff members there. I felt deeply welcome to both CIT and Australia. They were so helpful in directing and advising me to go to the orientation at CIT Reid. The excellent and fast customer service was fantastic.

At the International Orientation, the Business Services and Technology teachers presented themselves appropriately and professionally. All of the teachers had a smile on their faces and greeted us with a firm handshake. Almost everyone gets a little nervous when meeting someone for the very first time. But all the teachers gave us confidence and helped make us feel relaxed and welcome.

What do you enjoy the most about studying at CIT?

The learning techniques, teacher support and fellow student support were some of the interesting parts of studying at CIT. Apart from those the cultural managements and meeting new friends from different countries added lots of new knowledge in cultural diversity to my life.

What part of your course do you enjoy the most and why?

It was the Certificate II level where I was quite excited to learn all the techniques and tools in the Microsoft Office Suite. At the same time we were enrolled into Virtual Enterprise to study office skills. The Virtual Enterprise is a simulated office environment which allows us to gain practical experience in a real office situation. Our Victual Enterprise was specialised in trading stationeries. We were involved with real trading with other Virtual Enterprises around Australia. This particular course facilitated all of the international students to understand the office procedures, work ethics, workplace health and safety, manage personnel/equipment/records set up in Australia.

What kind of skills did you gain during your course? Do you feel as though these skills have helped prepare you for a career/further study/your future direction?

I gained office skills and administrative skills during my course. I was offered a short term contract at CIT faculty management unit in 2007 which I was able to put into practice what I had been learning through the course. I was then offered another contract in 2009 after I successfully completed the Diploma in Business Administration. This course was my first studied course in Australia and gave me a desire and potential start my career in Business Administration. I am very proud to say that I am currently working at the same Department that I used to study in. I still see all my teachers and every day they appreciate my skills and hard work in this area which encourages me to perform to the best of my ability.

About Canberra

Describe your impressions of Canberra?

Canberra is a small city with less traffic which I love about living here. It is a very tidy, clean city compares to my home town. The shopping malls look gorgeous. I remember going shopping on my second day in Australia with my aunt’s family. I got to taste aromatic Aussie food in the Canberra Centre in the City. I arrived in February so the weather was just perfect almost like the tropical weather. But when winter season started I had to learn to keep myself warm at all times to keep away from winter flu.

What do you enjoy most about living in Canberra?

I believe that Canberra is the most liveable city in Australia. The transport was easy and frequent. It doesn’t take that long to get pretty much everywhere in Canberra. The seasonal weather ranges in Canberra is very different to my home country and it took me while to adapt to the weather.

As the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), Canberra has many historic places to visit free of charge. I have been to the Australian War Memorial, Parliament House, and museums and art galleries several times, and I enjoyed the every moment. Canberra’s Floriade flower festival is the most beautiful tulip garden I have ever been to.

I met my husband in Canberra and we got married. I always believe that it was my destiny and luck to come to Canberra, and that this city made me a successful person in life and career.

Goals and Advice

What are your long term goals, and how has CIT helped you to achieve them?

My long term goal was to achieve a bachelor degree in commerce.  CIT’s study pathways to the University of Canberra (UC) helped me to graduate in the Bachelor of Commerce with a fantastic GPA.

CIT also assisted me to start my career at CIT and now I am in the industry working for the ACT Government for more than five years. CIT and UC studies also aided me to obtain the Permanent Residency in Australia.

My next long term goal is to complete a CPA Australia and become a qualified accountant to start my own accounting firm together with my husband.

What would you say to other international students who are thinking about studying at CIT?

CIT is a brilliant educational institution and it is a unique place for studies for all international students around the world. CIT develops you academically and personally to face the work force in both Australia and other countries. CIT gives you hands-on skills and prepares you for employment, without any doubt. I can guarantee it from my past experience.