The Australian Dream: John Paul Uminga, Expert In Profile

John Paul Uminga is an entrepreneur, experienced and highly motivated Education Expert from Philippines. He has spent most of his professional life working for non-profits and is looking forward to the impact he can make on the lives and the educational journeys of aspiring students.

With a Master of Commerce program of the University of Sydney, John Paul is also a firm believer in the Australian dream and its education opportunities.

Sofiri: Tell us a little about your story, from the very beginning

I was born and raised in the Philippines. Professionally, I have spent most of my career in the development sector working for non-profits and pursuing my own advocacies in my home country. That in hindsight would lead the way for me to get the opportunity to study in Australia via a full scholarship. I was selected for the Australia Awards for the January 2017 cohort.

Sofiri: What is your personal experience of the Australian education system?

I was enrolled in the Master of Commerce program of the University of Sydney. I specialised in strategy, innovation and entrepreneurship which was aligned to what I was doing back home. In the Philippines, I worked in the entrepreneurship promotion and development advocacy with such roles as Programs Development Manager of the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship and the Head of Inclusive Business of the Office of the Presidential Consultant on Entrepreneurship so taking MComm perfectly made sense especially since I didn’t have an academic business background.

There are so many great things about studying in Australia. First off, the academic community is highly diverse since a lot of students from different nationalities converge in Australia. This means you could get a lot of soft skills development opportunities and a more developed perspectives about the world interacting and working with them, Second, there is a wide-range of options for prospective students in terms of what they might want to study. This is not the case back home. Third, because Australia is known for international education, the industry has been developed so much so that they have mechanisms and strategies in place that ensure that the overall welfare of the students is protected.

"In my time in the University of Sydney, I got the opportunity to work for The Incubate, the university’s startup accelerator program which was aligned with what I was doing back home as well as with what I was"

John Paul Uminga

John Paul Uminga, education expert from Sofiri
Sofiri: In what ways do you appreciate the Australian quality of life?

There’s less stress in Australia than back home to be very candid about it. The transportation system is amazing. You could go to the beach in one bus ride. There’s a lot of entertainment events happening year round. The overall quality of life is just so high. There’s opportunities available for anybody seeking for them.

There’s just so many things. Apart from what I mentioned above, another one would be heaps of student clubs to join (It’s crazy that there’s clubs for almost everything – wine appreciation, Pokemon, Quidditch, name it. This means you can pursue what you truly love and be surrounded by people who share the same interests like you. Two, professors who could be your professional and life mentors. Three, opportunities beyond the classroom. For my Social Entrepreneurship class for instance, I was chosen as one of the students given the opportunity to fly to the Northern Territory in an all-expense trip working with a social enterprise in a place called Maningrida and experiencing the life of Australia’s indigenous people. I think a lot of the great things about studying in Australia comes from the flexibility and availability of different kinds of opportunities for personal and professional growth.

John Paul Uminga, education expert from Sofiri
"Visiting the wine region of Hunter Valley with uni friends – Alex (China), Kimba (South Africa) and Gloria Li (Singapore)"

John Paul Uminga

Sofiri: Can you tell us about your work experience?

I got to work in the incubator program of the University because of my background. I served as the content coordinator for one year for the University of Sydney Union’s The Incubate which helps students develop their business ideas and eventually launch their startups.

It was a casual role in uni available for students. My role was to write articles and stories about our student entrepreneurs and assist in our programmes and events. It was a casual role that felt like an internship since I was learning more about the field I was already in. It was also a culturally enriching experience getting the firsthand experience of being in an Australian work setting.

"Participated in the Global Scope Program and got the opportunity to provide consulting work with the New South Wales Department of Education – DE International"

John Paul Uminga

John Paul Uminga, education expert from Sofiri
Sofiri: What are some important questions aspiring students should ask themselves before they select a course and educational provider?

It is always both exciting and scary to embark on a new academic journey especially one that is far from home. It is critical to have that sense of clarity of your personal life goals as well as your sense of vision about where you want to see yourself in the future. In other words, when choosing for a program, it is important to consider the kind of skills you will be able to get out of the program as well as your passion or personal affinity towards the field or the industry. Deciding for a course also means deciding for the kind of work you will be involving yourselves many many years after uni graduation. It is one thing to look at the courseworks – the courses you will be taking in the program – as well as the co-curricular and extracurricular opportunities available. Remember that learning does not only occur inside the classroom. Ask yourself: are there opportunities for internships, hands-on experience, community exposure, mentorship among many others that are related to your field. In terms of the provider, of course, it matters to consider the cost as well as the reputation.

John Paul Uminga, education expert from Sofiri
"Photo with classmates in the Master of Commerce (Mae, Philippines; Kimba Bolton, South Africa; Gloria Li, Singapore; and Camilo Vargas, Colombia)"

John Paul Uminga

Sofiri: Tell us anything you’d like to share with prospective students who may like to embark on their Sofiri journey with you.

I am very excited to have a conversation around personal goals (and life planning if you may) with my prospective students. I believe what we do is more than just advising on the available programs, the different providers and the cost it entails. But in that line of advising, I would ensure to provide options considering what matters for the student. Since I have lived in Australia myself (as well as travelled in other countries like the US, China, Poland, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia), I would definitely be a source for practical advice about living (and surviving) in another country. I’d be more than happy to be another line of support system for the students even after the consultation or counselling. 🙂

education expert John Paul Uminga
Chat with Sofiri Education Expert, John Paul Uminga, now about your study options in Australia. Whether you’re considering an English language course, bachelor degree, master’s degree, or PhD research, Sofiri is a free and convenient way to find out what you’re eligible to study. Our Education Experts are some of the most knowledgeable professionals in the education industry today.

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