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On the road to living out her dream career

In 2018, Evelyn Chiabai jumped at the chance to move to Australia to study. Four years later, she hasn’t looked back.

In 2018 the Brazilian native said yes to a huge adventure: moving to Australia from Brazil to learn English and pursue her dream career. With only one semester left until she graduates with an Associate Degree in Civil Engineering (HED001 | 065567A) from TAFE Queensland, it’s clear she’s not looking back.

“I moved to Australia because I wanted to learn a new language. English was always a dream of mine to learn. I also wanted to have contacts with another culture, which I'm loving Australian culture. I also wanted to pursue my career here,” she said.

Evelyn chuckles when asked about how she ended up settling on civil engineering.

“I'll tell you first it was by accident, but then I ended up enjoying it! I was studying marketing and I didn't like that much,” she laughed.

“Then I wanted to try something new, and I was like, ‘why not try engineering?’ Out of all the other engineering courses, I wanted to do civil engineering because that's something that I felt more interested in.”

“When I started I liked studying maths and physics, which is something I didn't like during high school. Then I started to enjoy it because I started seeing things in practice. I started seeing them in a different way and enjoying more. I was surprised to know how much I liked engineering more than I ever knew.”

Evelyn first started a Bachelor of Civil Engineering back in Brazil while also working at a construction site as an intern. She jumped at the opportunity to learn English as well as work in her field and made the big move to Australia.

“TAFE was a great opportunity to me because I liked the idea of hands-on learning, working at the same time, and practicing my English. It was a big adventure, but I took it. I really loved the idea, and I don’t regret it.”

“Now I'm doing all the things that I wanted. Practising English, working in the field and studying at a great institution,” Evelyn smiled.

Having experienced previous university study, Evelyn knew the value of combining practical training with university thinking.

“In my previous studies in my bachelor degree back in Brazil, I had a lot of theory studies. At TAFE, I’ve been enjoying much more of a hands-on learning experience while also understanding the theory.”

“In my surveying classes, we have theory in the classroom and then in the afternoon, in the same class, we'll go outdoors using the total station, an optical surveying tool.”

“I like that at TAFE Queensland, I get learn and then put that learning into practice straight away.”

Smaller class sizes and world-class lecturers add to Evelyn’s positive experience, and she’s glad to have specialised help as she navigates getting her degree in English.

“One of my teachers has been really helping me even when it's not class time, which I really appreciate. She'll make time and have a Zoom session with me and give me all the support that I need.”

Studying has also helped Evelyn find a community of friends here in Australia.

“I love having friends from all backgrounds and different countries. It’s been great getting to know them and their cultures. It’s great to be social but it’s also a great opportunity for connection and networking! Maybe in the future I'll be working with them, or they'll have an opportunity, and they'll need someone, and I'll be that person.”

With big plans for a future working for herself, networking is important to Evelyn.

“It’s also great that our teachers set up industry panels. They happen every semester where they bring in companies to talk to us. We end up meeting people from the industry and with that, we grow our network connections even further. I love that my lecturers are in the industry themselves and are up to date with best practice.”

The equipment and facilities at TAFE Queensland are industry standard, and now that she’s working, Evelyn is able to put her skills to work.

“I'm currently working in the field of civil engineering, and the tools that I'm using now are the same tools I’ve learned with since the beginning of my course, such as AutoCAD. I’ve also learned some 12D, and Ravage," she said.

One semester from graduating, Evelyn is excited to be getting paid to put her skills into practise.

“My studies so far have helped me to improve my resume. I got a job in the industry because they looked at my resume and they saw I'm studying and know I have the skills.”

“Right now, I'm a trainee draftsperson. Once I graduate, I'll be a draftsperson and my plan is to become a designer. Then in the future, some years down the track, I want to become a civil engineer.”

“These studies, though, are right for right now.”

“My goal for the future, what I dream of, is having my own business and being my own boss. I know I'm doing the right thing in studying and I know it's going to be a good opportunity for me in the future having the right education,” she concluded.