Errol Chua

Errol_Chua

“I started with zero confidence. CDU has offered so much support and afforded me opportunities beyond my wildest dreams. I encourage others to follow their dream no matter what their age or background.”

Nine years ago, Errol Chua packed his bags and left his native Singapore with just two suitcases between his wife and himself. They originally landed in Perth but just two months later, drove the 5,000 km distance to Darwin, where he boldly carved a new future for himself. 

Initially employed as a labourer doing odd jobs, he enrolled with CDU’s School of Law in 2015 as a mature student and graduated earlier this year with First Class Honours. Along the way, he completed a prestigious internship with Harvard Law School Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program on CDU scholarship. During his time with the clinic, Errol assisted asylees and refugees working through the US Immigration Court System.

Before that, he spent a year with the Northern Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency criminal section where he was actively involved in the Prison Clinic. Besides regular intern duties, he assisted lawyers and indigenous clients and prisoners with instructions, filing and rehabilitation. He is currently at the NT Anti-Discrimination Commission where he continues his legal learning and advocacy training.

Having successfully completed his degree programme, he now wants to share the benefit of his experience with current and upcoming students through mentoring. There were many points during his own journey that he felt like giving up to go back to working fulltime and it was only with the encouragement of his support network that he was able to pull through. He now wants to be that encouraging voice for others.

“Mentoring is, in my mind, akin to the role of a good elder sibling who is invested in the success of a junior sibling. While advice isn’t always heeded nor appreciated, ultimately, when we live by example ourselves and continue to show that care, we provide valuable support that can inspire a whole new generation to bring out the best in themselves,” he said. 

Errol reflects back on how his experience of undertaking his degree at the age of 35 gave him an advantage in terms of life experience, practical skills and maturity. He has these words of advice for other mature individuals thinking of, or currently pursuing, further qualifications, “It will not be easy but with proper planning and support, it does not have to be that difficult either. In any event, this degree course is only temporary while having this qualification is yours for life.”

After completing his current internship at the NT Anti-Discrimination Commission, Errol hopes to use his newly-acquired skills and experience to build a career in the legal profession in the NT. He credits CDU for granting him the opportunity to discover his calling in life. “My experience with CDU has been nothing short of a dream come true. From the selection panel that reviewed my application and decided to give me a shot, to the staff and faculty who believed in me and encouraged me all the way, CDU has ‘had my back’ and I am proud to have been a part of this proud tradition of alumni,” he said.