Nurse finds fine horizons

FURTHERING her education in Australia brought a new dimension to Grace Wong's nursing career.

Before she went to the University of Sydney to study health information management, Ms Wong had undergone nursing training at a private hospital in Hong Kong.

''Having had five years working in a private hospital, I wanted to look at the other professionals within the field to enrich my knowledge,'' Ms Wong said.

Ms Wong was attracted to Australia because the tuition fees were lower than those in many other countries and students were allowed to work part-time in Australia.

Because she was a registered nurse, Ms Wong worked in a state hospital at weekends and on public holidays.

An added bonus was a summer break which gave her the chance to visit Canberra, Melbourne and central Australia.

Ms Wong, who has no relatives in Australia, initially lived in nurses' quarters but later shared a flat with Chinese students enrolled on the same course.

Ms Wong found education in Australia inspiring because it emphasised self-learning.

''Instead of spoon-feeding students, lecturers assign us a topic to do research on our own,'' Ms Wong said.

Education abroad gave her a sample of life in a country with a different culture. She found certain Western customs, foreign to Chinese but she became accustomed to them.

Ms Wong experienced no problems with life on campus. She found most Australians calm and pleasant. ''They are very helpful.'' Lecturers liked overseas students, especially Asians, because they did well in their examinations and seldom missed classes.

Ms Wong returned to nursing after graduation, working in a government-subsidised nursing home.

Although she could not find a job suitable to her new qualifications in Australia, she said she would look for a job in hospital management in the future.