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Her peers were settling down, but Pat followed her dream

This article appears in: Studying in Australia, Tourism and Hospitality
CDU student Pattarawadee Chatleelawat overlooks a park

Pattarawadee Chatleelawat - Pat for short - made the move to the quiet city of Darwin from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok to study a Certificate III & IV of Commercial Cookery and a Diploma of Hospitality Management at CDU. This experienced hotelier has her sights set on a career as a hospitality entrepreneur, but as an international student, wanted to formalise the skills she’s honed during her career in the hotel industry before embarking on this exciting new life stage.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Business Administration (Hotel and Tourism Management) from a Thai university, Pat worked in customer service, secretarial, human resources and hospitality industry administration roles in Bangkok. Knowing change happens outside your comfort zone, Pat said she took a leap of faith and relocated to Darwin to take on her new study challenge.

“While other people my age were settling down, getting married and starting families, I chose to chase down my dream of living and studying abroad,” Pat said.

Scholarship success

Pat said winning a scholarship through Study NT has been a game changer for her to pursue her dream to live and study in Darwin.

"During my university years back in Bangkok, my family was unable to support my living and education expenses, and I struggled a lot during that time,” Pat said. "Winning a scholarship to study in the Northern Territory means I can concentrate on my studies because my living and education costs are taken care of."

As someone who has plenty of experience in working as part of hotel management teams, Pat said she was keen to learn the hands-on, operational skills needed to further her career as a hospitality industry entrepreneur.

My dream is to set up my own hostel with a small restaurant back in Thailand,” Pat said.

Studying commercial cookery will definitely help me build a comprehensive skillset so I can pursue my ambitions.

CDU student Pattarawadee Chatleelawat sits in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney

Learning hands-on skills

Having lived in large cities all her life, Pat said the best part about living in Darwin has been the relaxing lifestyle. But one of the biggest challenges she has had to face was becoming accustomed to the practical approach set out in her vocational education and training (VET) course with CDU.

CDU student Pattarawadee Chatleelawat stands on rocks at the water's edge

“Studying a VET course is all new for me and I haven’t worked in a kitchen before, so it was a bit hard to adjust in the beginning,” Pat said. “But I now enjoy my study a lot due to all challenges that I have had to overcome–there’s a big sense of achievement in that.”

If you’re hesitant to learn an entirely new skill set, Pat said her advice would be to throw caution to the wind and that you shouldn’t be afraid to follow a new study path.

“Hands-on practical lessons, experienced instructors, and all the resources that CDU provides will absolutely bring your skills and knowledge up to scratch–you won’t believe how much you’ll learn during the process,” said Pat.

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