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Reflecting on being an international student in Perth – Erin

26/07/2022 |

Hear from graduate, Erin, as she reflects on her experience studying a Bachelor of Commerce at UWA. Erin shares how UWA helped her launch her career internationally, continue to further studies with a master’s degree and secure a rewarding role back in Texas!

Meet Erin 

Hi, I’m Erin. I am a UWA graduate, originally from Texas and came to Australia before starting Year 9 when my father’s job transferred him. 

Eight years later, I completed my undergraduate degree in Economics at UWA and moved to Melbourne to start my first job. In 2018, I returned to Texas and obtain a master’s degree in Economics. I am currently working in Houston managing commercial arraignments for natural gas sales.

Erin Oliver UWA graduate

Why did you choose to study at UWA?

UWA was an obvious choice for me because it allowed me to study at a world-renowned university while continuing to live in Perth. 

What did you enjoy most about studying at UWA?

UWA had exceptional facilities and small class sizes, providing opportunities to build real connections with both teachers and other students. UWA offered a wide range of broadening units - I enjoyed learning about the history and influence of the Asian “tiger” economics while dipping into something totally different with a SQL coding course. 

UWA also has a beautiful campus. I have fond memories of watching new ducklings each year by Reid Library, drinking coffee outside listening to kookaburras and magpies, and strolling along the Swan River on study breaks.

What do you wish you knew before moving to Perth?

One of the biggest culture shocks after moving to Perth was the easy-going attitude. I learned to embrace the ‘she’ll be right’ notion and to enjoy the little moments. I am forever grateful for the times I did nothing but sit and watch the sunset over Cottesloe Beach. 

Another big shock was how different studying is in Australia versus America – instead of mountains of homework and multiple-choice tests, studying in Australia required developing a different skill set including thinking critically and defending answers in an essay format.

What did you like most about Perth?

One of the first things I noticed about Perth was the bird songs. Nothing prepared me for the first time I heard a kookaburra. From days spent on Rotto with quokkas, to footy and cricket games, to graduating under the pipe organ and stained glass in Winthrop Hall, it was all amazing and I am so appreciative of the time I got to spend in Perth.

How did UWA help you achieve your career goals?

UWA provided me with a solid foundational education with important training on thinking critically and embracing outside-the-box ideas. UWA also provided me with international perspectives, something that has been especially helpful working in the United States, allowing me to present novel concepts to American managers.  

UWA's international approach has helped me understand conventional things with a 'big-picture' mindset and see how my work fits into a global network. This way of thinking enables me to be successful in my current role and positions me for bigger opportunities in the future.

What are you working on now?

In March of this year, I began managing natural gas flows of out the Permian Basin in West Texas and New Mexico. 

Right now, my primary career focus is to learn everything I can about the technical and commercial aspects of the energy supply chain, so I can continue to make bigger and bigger contributions!

Want to know more about studying at UWA? Visit the international students page on our website, contact our Future Students Centre by submitting an online enquiry through askUWA or chat to a current international student.

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