Accountant Zin Mar shares how an Asylum Seeker Scholarship at VU helped her start a rewarding new career in Australia, and her hopes for the future.
"I am from Myanmar, and I had studied as an accountant in my country.
"When I arrived in Australia in 2013, I didn’t have any study rights at first. Then I got a chance to study again, and I did a certification (at another institution) sponsored by the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC).
"After that, I decided to go further with my studies, and the ASRC recommended that I do it at Victoria University.
Support to study
"At VU I felt at home. The teachers were very helpful, and there’s also the Learning Hub, so if you have any questions they can help you.
"I have five children and they’re very young, so the final year of the degree during COVID-19 was a bit difficult for me. But the VU Scholarship team, Julie Madden (Refugee and Asylum Seeker Liaison Officer) and my family supported me, so I knew I could do it.
The Block Model is really good too, because I could concentrate on one unit, just focus and not worry too much. This is one of the reasons that I got High Distinction for most of my subjects at VU.
"I’m really grateful to VU. Without VU, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to study and find the job I am in now."
A flourishing new career
"During my degree I got a chance to do an internship at VU in the finance department. I also got work experience by volunteering at the ASRC in the finance department. That was really helpful when I applied for jobs – having those references and experience was really good.
"Now I am working at PJA accounting firm, where I got a job indirectly through the New Horizons Program – an employment program set up in partnership with Jesuit Social Services.
"At the moment, I’m mostly doing tax returns and other accounting work. It’s really enjoyable to help people with their returns, and people are very happy that we can help them maximise their tax refund.
"I would also love to apply my banking and finance skills if I have a chance in future."
Inspiring her five daughters
"I’ve been married for 15 years, and so for years all my time has been spent for the family. So, I feel really lucky that I got the chance to study at VU. Working as an accountant in Australia now is pretty amazing.
Being a working mum is really important to me, because my kids see me differently now. They see me working as a professional.
"I want to be an inspiration to them, to show that I can do this with five children and improve their life. I also want them to understand that education is very important in life and it changes lives.
"In the future, maybe next year when my youngest daughter goes to school, I want to study more: do a CPA or master’s degree, so that I can move up and get better jobs in accounting and finance."
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