The University of Newcastle, Australia

Read more about Katerina's story

As a Learning Advisor, Katerina Simonides spent many years at the University of Newcastle (UON) supporting students initially at the main Callaghan campus before joining UON Sydney from its commencement in 2009.

"UON Sydney offers a very different experience to Callaghan and different opportunities. It has fantastic new student spaces but has a lot to offer particularly to business students and the focus has shifted. Learning happens all around us now, not just in a classroom or lecture theatre."

Katerina's role is to support students, particularly international students.

"If they have any academic or English language concerns then they can come to me. I started as a high school teacher, followed that with some primary teaching, but then I went overseas and was teaching English to second-language learners. When I came back to Australia I was teaching English to students at Griffith University. This was aimed at students going into master's programs and it gave me a lot of insight in to what I do now."

Throughout her career as an educator and support person, Katerina has come to understand the many challenges students experience, especially students coming from overseas with different perceptions of learning.

"International students are often comfortable with the methods of teaching and learning from their own country but find that in Australia, at this level, they need to be actively engaged with their studies and that can be very difficult for some of them but we work through it together."

Katerina enjoys the challenge of Sydney with its huge diversity of students.

"Our students come from very different backgrounds and have very different needs. We all get to know each other well in the closer environment.  It's lovely when someone can drop in to see you, engage and share their stories."

With networking opportunities, regular guest speakers, and state-of-the-art-facilities, UON Sydney offers students a creative learning environment where they can reach their potential.