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Elena Killiakova - Russia

Russia - Elena Killiakova - UNSW Australia

Course: Master of Public Policy and Governance
Institution: University of New South Wales (UNSW)
Location: Sydney, New South Wales


I’m passionate about community development and youth engagement; that is why I decided to choose the Program, which is closely connected with the field I am interested in: Master of Public Policy and Governance. My undergraduate degree was a Bachelor in International Economy at the Far Eastern Federal University in Vladivostok.

After I had graduated I worked for two years for a big construction company, and I enjoyed it. At the same time, I was doing community projects in cooperation with the Youth Department of Vladivostok and I realized that I want to do something about becoming a professional in the sphere of youth policy to be a part of the policy process. 

I wanted to study overseas to get an international perspective in this field. The international aspect will make me more competitive, and also open up opportunities to develop the not-for-profit social engagement projects I am involved in. So I started to look for the scholarships opportunities to study abroad.  

I went to an education exhibition in Vladivostok last year, where I met a UNSW representative, and also found out about Global Education Program through Skolkovo [Education Development Centre]. The program gives scholarships so that Russian students can study overseas, and receiving this has made my dream of studying abroad possible. 


To start, I wasn't interested in studying in any particular city, but I was interested in choosing the right program. I searched through all the Australian university websites and in the end UNSW was the only university I applied to. The UNSW description of the courses, such as international development policy, research methods, project design, and community development sounded really interesting, and I could see easily how I can apply that knowledge into practice.

Studies here are completely different. There is a lot more independent work expected if you want to get good marks. It's challenging for me because it's not my native language and I need to do a lot of readings. The contact hours here are not long, but the lecturers and tutors are happy to answer the questions. They're open, friendly and passionate about their fields, and I'm interested in communicating with them.

I went to the Blue Mountains several times. I have been to national parks, the Northern Beaches and Australia Reptile Park. I enjoy seeing wildlife here in Australia. The landscapes are quite different from Russia. And here everyone is concerned about preserving nature, which is great!There's so much to do in Sydney. You have not only vibrant cultural life with all the museums, theatres, festivals, but also beautiful nature and the ocean.

Apart from exploring Sydney, I also enjoy practicing yoga. It helps me to be in balance and harmony even though the studying process is quite challenging.

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