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From China to Galiwin’ku: Coco’s passion for positive change

This article appears in: Balance work, life and study, Studying in Australia
Coco outside and smiling

Studying a Master of Teaching at Charles Darwin University’s Casuarina campus, with the aim to graduate in 2021, Coco Chan has embraced her new life in Australia. Listing watching the sunsets from Darwin’s Mindil and Nightcliff Beaches and camping in Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks among her favourite pursuits, Coco has been taken by the veritable cultural melting pot that is Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory. Hear more of Coco’s story below.

Originally from China, Coco headed for Australia in 2016 after graduating from her undergraduate degree in her home country. She spent the next two years exploring the beauty of this grand continent and spent the past two years in Northern Territory, where she spent six months living in a small Indigenous community called Galiwin’ku in north-east Arnhem Land.

When I came to Galiwin’ku, it was my very first time visiting an Indigenous community. What I found was an incredibly authentic life led by the local people.

“I made lovely friends there and it was a truly beautiful place, but it left me with many questions. I couldn’t stop thinking about the educational opportunities for the children there, who were limited by the remoteness of the place, so I came to Darwin to study so I could solve the puzzles.”

Coco standing with her friends.

Coco said she was drawn to CDU because of the university’s reputation as one of the most innovative teaching and learning institutes and most research-intensive universities in Australia.

“I like CDU’s multicultural atmosphere—I can meet different people and embrace different cultures and stories, including the local Indigenous culture,” Coco said.

Studying at CDU has provided many wonderful opportunities to explore Australian Indigenous cultures

Balancing study with life outside of university has thrown a few challenges onto Coco’s study path, and she said there was a period where she struggled to cope with everything that was happening in her life.

Coco and her friends at lunch

“At one point, I was looking for accommodation and practicing for my driver license while I was doing my assignments at the end of the first semester. It all got a little stressful,” Coco said.

“I pulled myself through that difficult time by being prepared and working on my time management skills. I began making a start on my assignments as they were set, whether it was just writing a sentence or doing some research.

“If you’re struggling to balance study and everything else in your life, I recommend writing down all the important due dates and spreading your assessments throughout the semester so you’re not trying to do them at the same time.”

Coco looking at pumpkins

When Coco completes her postgraduate education degree, she hopes to become a qualified teacher and make a positive change in the lives of children in the early stages of their life by providing equal opportunities to participate in education.

Ready to take your passion for change to the next level? Study to to teach Early Childhood, Primary or Secondary Education with CDU's Education degrees.

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