For most international students, post-graduate study offers the opportunity to build on their skills and experience while immersing themselves in a new city, country, and culture. We spoke with Alejandra Gallegos Rivera to find out about her move from Lima to Melbourne, and what it’s like crossing the Pacific for your studies.
Alejandra completed undergraduate studies in Communications, with a minor in Marketing and Advertising, before going on to enter the Peruvian workforce. Fast forward five years, and Alejandra decided it was time to seek out opportunities abroad, a decision that ultimately led her to the Master of Marketing Communications at the University of Melbourne.
“I did a lot of work in digital marketing, both on the agency side and as a client, which was a great learning experience. That’s when I started looking at master’s degrees. Taking on business school subjects as part of my masters definitely helped me get a better understanding of the strategic side of marketing, which is what I was looking for in my studies. I’ve definitely learnt to be more rigorous when it comes to analyzing things and understanding the 'big picture' of any business or industry. One of the most interesting subjects I’ve taken so far is Brand Management, where we took 12 weeks to go through all things related to branding, really understanding how powerful a brand can be."
Alejandra's decision to branch out and come to Australia for her studies set her apart in another way as well, as it's not a common destination for South American students.
“Most people I knew went to the US, or Europe, then came back home, so I wanted to do something different. I wanted the chance to work and develop my resume as well as study. I had heard incredible things about Australia, especially around the quality of life, opportunities and the people,” she says. “When it came to researching different cities and schools, Melbourne was really appealing and seemed like a great fit for me. I’m really into art, creativity, and culture, and the city has so much going on. There are lots of concerts, festivals, and events – which definitely help you take a break from studying! Coming from South America, it’s also got a comparatively relaxed vibe. I come from Lima, which is a pretty busy city, so everything seems a lot easier here. Then of course there was the university, which has a world ranking, and all of these incredible programs.”
And while moving half way around the world is always a challenge, Alejandra makes the application and moving process sound easy.
“The University actually had staff doing a little tour of South America, which was really good because it meant I got the chance to speak with someone from the university one-on-one. We caught up for a coffee, and I got to ask all the questions I wanted, about the course, the assessment, and the structure. There are agencies that help with the application process as well, which makes it much easier. I applied in February, and I got accepted in April for a semester two start in July, so in the end it was all pretty quick.”