An international student, Ethel is pursuing a Master of Learning Intervention with MGSE. As a sibling of an autistic child and a medical professional, she noticed a lack of resources for children with learning difficulties in her homeland of Taiwan, which inspired her to make a difference in this space.
Can you please briefly outline your life prior to studying this program?
I have a younger brother who is autistic. Growing up with him made me become a compassionate person and develop a sense of responsibility to change lives, so I decided to study speech pathology in Taichung, Taiwan. Also, the love of being in front of crowds facilitated me to become a fashion model. With the ‘try everything’ mindset and support from my family and friends, I have been encouraged to step out of my comfort zone. Working as a speech therapist/model/streamer/English tutor had broadened my vision. I can live a life with all my favourite things. That is my motivation for getting out of bed every day. Studying at the University of Melbourne is one of my ‘dreams come true’!
I arrived in Australia last November for postgraduate study. Before then, I was born and educated in Taiwan.
Q: Why did you choose to study at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education?
As a sibling of an autistic child and a medical professional, I noticed that there are not many resources for children with learning difficulties in Taiwan. Students with literacy disorders, for example, do not have as much awareness as children with developmental language problems. In the training of our occupation, speech-language therapists have less information about specific learning difficulties for school-aged children. I wanted to bridge the gap between rehabilitation and education and change the environment of special education in my country.
Q: Are you enjoying studying at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education?
Yes! I love studying in MGSE, not only for the high reputation but also strong academic and practical backgrounds of staff. Even though I enrolled just before the pandemic, the lecturers of my subjects all modified the teaching plans and tried their best to maximise our learning participation during online meetings.
Q: What’s the most valuable/rewarding aspect of your program?
Having a mentor giving weekly catch-ups was the most rewarding thing to me last semester. The subject ‘minor project’ provides each student with a mentor to give suggestions and guidance. As a postgraduate student, doing a literature review is draining, and sometimes I lost my direction in those extensive readings. A supportive mentor is a precious resource for me.
Q: How do you hope your course will help your career progression?
After getting a masters degree in learning intervention, I could be a pioneer of literacy and numeracy difficulties in our education. Through the fusion of education and medicine expertise, I would be more capable of dealing with children with learning difficulties.
Q: What do you hope is the next step in your life/career?
Going back to my country and devoting more to my profession! Trying to help as many children who have been struggling academically as I can.
Q: What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting your course?
If you are already a professional, try to let go of your old experiences and the past frame. Embrace a different perspective on education. Those subjects will not disappoint you! In addition, if you are an international student, prepare yourself to have connections with your classmates! That means don’t hold onto your baggage too much, opening your mind is the most important thing!
Share something interesting about yourself!
Doing a full-time study in learning intervention has brought me into a new world. With the current situation, the form of learning had changed massively. As an extrovert therapist/potential educator, there is always a solution. I am running two Instagram accounts. One is a personal and modelling account (@ethelhao), and the other one (@haohao_speechpathology) is about speech pathology. Check them out if you like!