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Elizabeth Quay, Perth

Not-for-profits, volunteering and life as an international student

21/09/2021 |

Hear from Indian international student, Chandini Thirumalai as she shares her experiences of studying the Bachelor of Commerce in Perth and her goal to make society a better place through volunteering.

Chandini Thirumalai

Why did you choose to study at UWA?

UWA had a substantial overlap with my interests and hobbies, not to mention it’s astounding reputation. The collaboration between the teachers and undergraduate students and the sense of community were instrumental factors for choosing to study at UWA. The real-world experiences, strong industry connections and methodology of teaching were also significant factors that influenced my choice.

Choosing what to study

I’ve always been fascinated by how the stock market works. My parents always stressed the importance of financial knowledge so finance just seemed like a natural choice.

I went through a bit of a journey before I finalised my second major. I started off with Business Law, then added Accounting and finally I decided on Finance and Marketing. I discovered my passion for my second major, Marketing through UWA Social Media for Good – a volunteering program that connects students with not-for-profit organisations who need help with marketing.

If you’re looking to study at UWA, I hope you find comfort in the fact that you don’t have to have it all figured out. You can take your time, explore your interests and then decide!


Chandini holding a surf board at the beach

What is your favourite aspect of studying at UWA?

My favourite aspect of studying at UWA, without a doubt has to be getting to see the dolphins at Matilda Bay during my class breaks. Where else in the world can this possibly happen to you? Oh, and not to mention, the beautiful campus! I’ve been at UWA for nearly two years now, and every once in a while I stumble upon a corner that I’ve never seen before.

At UWA, you get more than just a degree. I strongly believe there’s something for everybody here. UWA has an incredibly supportive student community that I’m proud to be a part of.


Education is what you make of it and only half the race. The latter part of the journey is traversed by incorporating one’s knowledge into making society a better place. My other favourite part of studying at UWA is that I get to implement everything I learn through volunteering with not-for-profit organisations. Not only does this help strengthen my concepts and make me more employable but also leaves a warm feeling in my heart.

Are you involved in any clubs or groups on campus?

I'm involved in various extra-curricular activities including as a Coordinator for a volunteering program called Micro-Volunteering. My team and I run short volunteering sessions in collaboration with not-for-profit organisations and social impact clubs.

Fusing my passion for social entrepreneurship and human resources, I’m currently the HR Director of Enactus UWA. Enactus UWA is a student organisation that creates positive social impact through entrepreneurship in the local community.

I’m also one of UWA's Student Ambassadors. As a Student Ambassador, I assist the UWA Future Students and Marketing Team in delivering events, tours and presentations on and off-campus for students interested in studying at UWA.

And finally, I was one of the 2020-21 StudyPerth International Student Ambassadors. For my contribution towards the program, I was recognised as the Valedictorian of my Ambassador Cohort.

Chandini making a speech at a Study Perth event

Did you complete any internships or work experience as part of your degree?

I worked as a Marketing and Community Coordinator Intern with a fast-growing experiential education technology and programs company called, Practera. This internship enabled me to gain experience in marketing, customer relationship management and consultancy.

With the help of the McCusker Centre for Citizenship, I worked as the Digital Content and Marketing Intern for a not-for-profit organisation called Rise Network WA who provide services to over 3000 people, including young people at risk, those experiencing mental health issues, people living with a disability, and the elderly.

Currently, I’m working with the UWA Development and Alumni Relations team as a Project Assistant. I assist with alumni outreach, communications and engagement including volunteer programs, events and projects. I’m always looking for opportunities to broaden my learning curve and I’m so grateful that I get these opportunities at UWA.

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