From ICTE to a career at UQ

After going through the transition from being an international student to finding a job in Australia, ICTE Alumni Kaori Sugita, shares her student journey to help you on your career-seeking path. Kaori first studied Bridging English in 2017 and is now employed at UQ’s International Development unit, part of UQ’s Institute of Continuing & TESOL Education (ICTE).

In Japan, I studied my undergraduate degree in international relationships at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto. When I was in high school, I went to Cairns, Queensland and had such a great experience. That is why I decided to study at The University of Queensland.

Before I could start my master’s degree at UQ, I had to improve my English so I applied for a UQ Package offer, which included the Bridging English (BE) course at ICTE. I was so happy to be back in Australia but a little bit nervous for my journey ahead.

I enjoyed studying at ICTE although it was hard at times. My fondest memory was when my teacher sat me down and told me that I had to really push myself. I am grateful for this teacher and without their help, I don’t think I would have improved my English as much.

Kaori and her friends from BE class

I was proud that I successfully completed 20 weeks of BE and then went on to graduate with a master’s degree in peace and conflict studies at UQ. Once I graduated, I had to make a decision to either go back home to Japan or find a job and stay in Brisbane. I thought about how easy it would be to go back home, but I also thought about how much I had learnt here in Australia and felt I should push myself to stay.

Finding a job wasn’t as quick or as easy as I thought it would be. It took some patience and persistence to find the right job for me. I looked for jobs online and also went to a lot of networking events to meet new people.

Luckily, a new job opportunity came up at UQ’s International Development unit at ICTE. I had always thought working at UQ would be an incredible opportunity, so I applied straight away. I have always been interested in international education, ever since I was an international student myself, so working in international development is the perfect career path for me. I was so happy when I heard I had gotten the job!

Since starting here at UQ, I have made many friends and learnt lots of new things. It can be difficult at times but I know I can overcome any challenge. My friends that I met at ICTE have been a great support to me, and they too have great jobs in Brisbane. We are grateful for the skills and English we learnt at ICTE.

My advice to ICTE students looking at applying for jobs is to plan ahead and apply while you’re studying. Don’t wait until you’ve graduated! Try and get some industry experience or an internship. This will help you get future job interviews. Lastly, try your best and push yourself outside your comfort zone. You will look back at this time in Australia and know you have no regrets if you make the most of it all.

Learn more about pathways to UQ and Bridging English programs at ICTE:


Last updated:
10 February 2020