We caught up with Kenneth Eu, Recruitment Coordinator (South East Asia Region), with RMIT University.
Kenneth came to Australia as an international student in 1992 with the assistance of our team in the Kuala Lumpur office. We asked Kenneth to share some of his thoughts and advice on life as an international student and his following career.
Tell us about yourself and what position are you in now?
I was born in Petaling Jaya and grew up in Penang. After school, I ended up working for McDonald’s Restaurant in Malaysia and Singapore for three years. (I practically ate several meals a day there, especially the Quarter Pounders). One fine day, I decided that I need to better myself given most of my schoolmates were already in their final year and here I am still flipping burgers.
In 1992 I left Singapore for Murdoch University in Western Australia. I returned to Malaysia upon graduation and worked as an executive in the field of training and consulting for three years while my Permanent Residency application was in process. I then returned to WA and worked in the university sector looking after offshore programs and recruitment for the Middle East region.
I moved to Melbourne in 2008. Currently, I am working for RMIT University as the Recruitment Coordinator for South East Asia Region. Life in Melbourne is a cornucopia for those who seek for greater opportunities. I am loving it!
Why did you choose Australia for studies?
Quality of education and close proximity were crucial in my decision to select Australia for my studies. Back in the 90s, my only option was Western Australia given its close proximity to Malaysia and both country sharing the same time zone. Western Australia appeared to attract students like myself who were conscious about tuition fees and living costs given I was a self-funded student.
How did IDP help you?
Back in the heyday of early 90s the internet and computers were not easily accessible as they were extremely expensive and difficult to come by. There were far fewer exhibitions compared to what is available today. IDP was the only agent representing students for studies in Australia and I sought help from IDP Kuala Lumpur (KL) office. I met Veronica who was the counsellor and she assisted with my application. I had to research the required information from IDP resource library and read up on the entry requirements, tuition fees, housing and commencement dates for the institution I applied for.
Staff at IDP were extremely helpful assisting me in accepting my offer and organised my visa.
One of IDP staff, Shoba Shanmugam, was tasked to deliver and collect student passports from the Australian High Commission. I am pleased to see Shoba with her energetic self still working tirelessly at IDP KL today continuing to provide the best customer care for all her students.
What are your memories from when you first started your studies in Australia?
Scared, lost and at the same time excited was what came to my mind. I was really sad when I landed in Western Australia. It was a cold and pitch dark night. It wasn’t fun at all. Perth was such a quiet place compared to where I came from (Penang). It took me almost two months to settle down and adjust to the new environment. All the new students supported each other well and we got acquainted very quickly. Looking back at my journey where I started 24 years ago was such a life changing experience.
Murdoch had a great orientation program to assimilate International students into the local culture such as a trip to Fremantle (trying out the fish and chips), roller blading, billy tea, bush dance and singing along. Seniors were very helpful when it came to assisting new students to look for accommodation and being our mentors. This really helps to put new students at ease to settle them down quickly in their new environment.
It was an adventurous three years in Perth, I took on a lot of outdoor activities to keep myself busy and learn the Aussie way of life. It was pure hard work and determination to succeed in life.
What are the three tips you would give to students considering studying in Melbourne?
- Melbourne is a fantastic, progressive, dynamic city and very conducive for studies. Look no further what the most liveable city in the world has to offer on your door step.
- Arrive early and settle down quickly. Be prepared to work hard and never give up. Seek help if needed and don’t be afraid to speak up.
- Instill good discipline and great life values. Persistence and keep focused on your goal. Work works.
What do you know now that you wish you knew as a young student?
Services provided by IDP today cover more depth compared to years gone by. Given the growth and increase in student demand for further education, more counsellors are available to assist students in their application process. Today, I notice counsellors spend more time with students (probably due to the nature of this industry) than previously. There is also more opportunity for students nowadays to meet directly with institution representatives which is something that may not have been the case during my time.