Can you please tell us about your past work experience?
I’m Australian and have worked for many years as a School Counsellor and as a Psychologist in Australia. For the past 11 years my role was as a School Counsellor at a school in Melbourne. Besides working in a school, I’ve worked at a Community Health Centre working with children and families and at The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.
What was your first impression of Vietnam?
I came here three years ago for a vacation, so I already had a good flavour of the area. It was interesting to see such a cultural difference, and everything is just… so different!
What are the main differences between students in Australia and students in BIS HCMC?
Compared to the students that I’ve worked with in the past, students here are much more academically focused, motivated, and driven to succeed. But I’ve also noticed that they are much more involved in community service and take ownership of their own learning.
Throughout your work experience, what have been students’ main concerns?
That’s a good question. There are a broad range of concerns, however some of the main issues are because students are worried about their academics, the pressure on them, stress, relationship/friendship issues, anxiety, depression, or family issues. It’s nice when students understand that they can change their thinking, and subsequently the way they feel. It takes effort, however many students say that they are happy to have had a counselling session.
What is the message that you wish to tell students?
I want everyone to know that counselling is not a scary thing and it would be nice if there was no stigma for people to come to the counsellor. I hope students understand that they can come, and it is not about being weak but it’s a positive choice. It’s like a life coaching tutor.
Last but not least...what do you think about pineapple on pizza?
Jamie and Ji Min, Year 12 students