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Stay or go? On graduation and beyond

Andrew Yeung

Mon Jun 04 2012


AS semester draws to a close, Andrew Yeung stands at the crossroad and asks the question burning on every international student’s mind at the end of their education career. Do I stay or go?

After three years of study, I am finally graduating with an Arts degree majoring in Journalism. Every now and then panic would strike me: how far will my arts degree get me?

Should I study more, try to get a job here in Australia, or return to my home country?

I remember waking up and having my first Sunday cuppa on Flinders Lane. Despite the chilly winter breeze, a sip of coffee and big brekkie gave me such comfort on one of Melbourne’s coldest days.

I have been captivated by the people, the culture and the lifestyle in Melbourne, but I didn’t realise how bleak my career options were until I started job-hunting.

I was surprised by how many jobs out there were for “permanent residents only”.

It seems almost impossible to start from scratch. To get my foot in the door, I must either be a permanent resident or have an employer sponsor me.

Whenever I feel frustrated about my prospects of being “deported”, my friends would suggest I start helping my own case by getting as much experience in journalism as I can while I’m still here.

But there are also days when nostalgia kicks in, and I wonder if going home isn’t such a bad idea after all.

I was born and raised in Hong Kong, a cosmopolitan city where international businesses flourish, and opportunities abound. Hong Kong is also where all my family and friends are.

That said, I am afraid of losing hold of the lovely lifestyle and freedom I have in Melbourne now. As a language fanatic, I crave the opportunities to speak and use English in everyday life, even if it’s just casual chitchat.

I love both cities because they are very multicultural and unique in their own way. The former is a hub for creativity and rich in the arts, while the latter presents massive business opportunities with China’s booming economy.

Carving out a life for yourself overseas isn’t easy, though if I had the privilege to choose, I suspect I’d be leaning towards Melbourne.

With Australia’s migration cutbacks, I don’t see myself standing much of a chance to stay on permanently in Australia without being on the skilled occupations list.

But one can always quietly hope.