Aun Qi Koh
1. Where do you work and what is your position?
I’m currently a freelance journalist and historical researcher.
2. Why did you choose to come to Sydney Law School?
Because of the university’s reputation and the fact that it offered an undergraduate Law degree, unlike other Australian universities that only offered law as a postgraduate course. The fact that I could combine Law with another degree made it very attractive as well, because it provided a certain amount of flexibility and a wider choice of subjects.
3. What countries have you worked in?
4. Did you have a part-time job while at University?
Yes; I was a librarian and cleaner at the Women’s College within the University. During the summer holidays when I returned to Malaysia, I did editorial and research work for a local non-governmental organisation.
5. Did you consider applying for non-legal positions?
6. Extra-curricular activities you got involved in (societies, clubs, athletics)?
· President of the Sydney University Movement and Dance Society;
· member of the SULS International Student Sub-committee;
· Copy editor for the Sydney Globalist and the Australian International Law Journal.
7. If you had it to do all over again, what would you do differently?
Apply for as many internships as possible while you’re at university, in any industry you think you might be interested in. Two reasons: firstly, to get an idea of what you want to do after you graduate and to build up job contacts; and secondly, because the university provides you with insurance, which is compulsory for certain internships such as those in the Australian media industry.
8. How did Sydney Law School help prepare you for your current career?
I’m currently a freelance journalist and historical researcher. Law school provided me with knowledge about certain subjects that is useful in my line of work, eg international law and criminal law.
9. Biggest Challenge and how you got over it/did you ever get over it?
Learning how to ask for help, and knowing when it’s ok to quit. In hindsight, I knew I wasn’t cut out to be a lawyer and towards the end of my third year, I was fairly unhappy with my Law studies. I had persevered until then because I thought it’d be a huge waste of my parents’ money (and my own effort!) if I didn’t complete my Law degree. I ended up talking to the Law School Programs Administrator, who was very understanding and encouraged me to make a decision that I felt was best for me. I decided to quit Law and ended up doing a year of Honours in Government and International Relations, which I enjoyed very much and helped steer me towards my current choice of career.
10. What was your experience like getting a job after you graduated?
a. Did you use any of the Law School’s on-campus career services?
b. How long did it take you to find a job?
I started working as a researcher with a non-governmental organisation in Malaysia, even before graduation. (The way the graduation process works in Sydney University is that your graduation ceremony takes place the semester after you finish your studies, so usually in that time gap, which is approximately five months, many international students will already have returned home.) It was fairly easy for me to get a job there because the director already knew me from my previous work with them during the summer holidays. So I’d highly recommend finding work while you’re still at university – it might just help you secure your first job after graduation.