Caring for the community brings rewards – Chisholm Institute
12 April 2021
Francis Yap has been employed in community services since she left school. It’s her passion and her life. Coming from a third world country, she wanted to experience the sector in Australia and undertake a degree so that she could gain the skills and knowledge she needed to help improve service delivery back home. So she enrolled in a Diploma of Community Services at Chisholm Institute.
With a diverse work history, the common thread throughout her career was that each role involved assisting people in need.
“I’ve always liked helping others. It’s something my father instilled in us,” said Francis. “And helping other people is therapeutic. Sometimes that’s what keeps me sane after going through life’s tribulations. And you not only share blessings you have with the person you help – they often pass it on, so many more people benefit from your act.”
Arriving in Melbourne in February 2020, Francis soon learned that there were some key differences between Australia and her home.
“The first difficulty I had was remembering that I had to speak English all the time. It’s hard in the beginning, especially when talking about emotional things in class. But I soon got used to it. The weather is another big difference. It’s really crazy! Public transport here is very efficient and convenient. And best of all, the people are so friendly.
“In Australia, the classroom setting is informal and it takes a bit of getting used to. The great thing about this way of learning is that everyone is keen to share. I gain a lot of knowledge by listening to my classmates talk about how things are done in Australia. And doing a placement in the Australian-Filipino Community Services (AFCS) was a very rewarding experience.”
When Francis was choosing where to study in Melbourne, she made a chart and compared all the course providers.
“I chose Chisholm because it offered more subjects and more placements, so I knew my learning would be optimised,” she explained. “When I was asking questions, the staff were very interested and helpful. That made a difference too.”
Although leaving her family, living in a new city (with variable weather) and dealing with the issues that arose from the pandemic were difficult, Francis is very happy with her move.
“I found a family at Chisholm. It’s a great place to study. The International Student Office and student services are so helpful. Teachers are not just experienced professionals who help me learn – they became my mentors and classmates become my friends. There are amazing people at Chisholm and I’m learning so much.”
Francis will complete her Diploma in Community Services at the end of the year. But she isn’t ready to return to Cebu just yet.
“Before I go home I’d like to experience community service work in Australia and learn more about workplace culture here,” she said. “That way I can take all my learning back to the Philippines and contribute to improving community services there. I want to be able to make a real difference.”