Coleen: Graduating with the best memories

Coleen learnt a lot after moving to Adelaide from the Philippines to become a chef.

But not all her lessons at Quality College of Australia were about cooking and recipes. At her recent graduation, she shared some of her life lessons.

International student Coleen from the Philippines
Last Updated Tuesday 19th March, 2024

What’s the most exciting part of graduating?

It’s amazing to celebrate my achievement with the graduation ceremony, but more important than that is reflecting on the days of friendship, laughter and discovery I’ve shared with others in the past two years. A collective dream of Australian life brought us together and made our time here so special.

What are the best memories of your classes?

My classes were far from a ‘typical’ class! The mix of personalities and cultures created an environment that promoted imaginative, creative thinking… and friendships! There were some Korean students – Jerry, Fred, Peter, Steve and Jordan who would chatter together at the back of the class and were affectionately known as our Korean Channel (I just wish they had English subtitles!)

It’s funny to think of how we applied the skills we learned. Many of us developed top notch negotiation skills thanks to Mr Frost’s subject, which we practiced many times in real life. It came in handy to bargain for a little extra time to submit an assignment, or an early mark to leave class!

Was it a challenge to keep up with the Australian vocabulary?

One of the funniest things I remember is the acronym, ‘PR’. I always thought PR meant public relations, but apparently it means so much more. Amongst international students, PR is a hot topic – Permanent Residency. 

But some of us found other PRs along the way… Manami found a Perfect Romance, and Rosa is off to New Zealand for more adventures in Pure Recreation.

What advice would you give someone thinking about studying to be a chef?

As I studied my certificates to become a chef, I learnt about cooking and life. Remember:

  • when life throws lemons – make the best lemonade 
  • when life throws tomatoes and eggs – whip up an omelette and serve it with a smile 
  • if a recipe doesn’t work, don’t be afraid to alter an ingredient.

Life is about taking a risk for a dream no one can see but you. We are chefs – we may not know to cure a heart attack – but we can absolutely comfort a heartache with a darn good hot fudge icebox cake!

View all Stories