Making the decision to leave Myanmar to study a full-time MBA at the University of Sydney was difficult for a number of reasons, but it was one that I believe was worth it.
My first step after deciding to embark on an MBA was finding a university that not only ranked the highest, but also had the best geographic location and could provide all the amenities necessary to support my family. This decision was made easier when I realised that the University of Sydney met all of my criteria.
Although the choice of where to study was quite easy, I still encountered some challenges in moving to Australia including finding a place to live, studying with a young child and generally dealing with a culture shock.
After saying goodbye to my husband who had to stayed in Myanmar to run his business, I flew more than 6,000km away from my home with my 11-month old daughter and my mother and prepared to adapt to all of the challenges that come with settling into life in Sydney, Australia.
I had planned as much ahead as possible, including medical insurance, transport and the basic cost of living. The biggest challenge I encountered before I arrived in Sydney as well as upon our arrival was securing accommodation. When looking at long-term rental properties, I found I was often competing with local families who could offer higher rent. I used Airbnb in the short-term, and it didn’t take long to find a great apartment in Ashfield, which met the requirements for our family.
Studying with a very young child has been a challenge, and one that I’m sure many MBA students would understand. Balancing household arrangements, networking with friends and peers and finding time to study requires a lot of coordination and can be difficult at times.
The culture shock of moving to a new country particularly around food and language has taken time to adapt to. Food is extremely important to my family, and finding the right ingredients for our traditional food has not been easy during our time in Sydney. The language barrier is also challenging for a non-English speaking person, especially for my mother, who barely understands English. This has meant I have been required to manage every task which needs communication with others in English. My mother is learning English quickly though, and I’m sure that with some more time in Australia her English will continue to improve.
Through the challenging times, I have also been able to recognise positive opportunities which are taking me to the next level of my professional career. Every day I am learning from new experiences, and I am growing personally.
One of the favourite experiences studying my MBA has been learning from a diverse group of peers from different cultural and industry backgrounds.
My hope is to take what I have learnt from the University and use it to contribute positively in my career in Human Resources back home in Myanmar. I also hope to share the business opportunities that exist in my home country with my MBA network.
I have truly enjoyed my time at the University of Sydney and starting my new life in Australia. With the positive energy and mental support provided by my family, I know I can overcome any difficulties that lie ahead.