Born and raised in Saudi Arabia for 10 years then 8 years in Qatar as a Filipino, Amanda knows what it’s like to adjust to different cultures and customs.

At the Philippine International School in Qatar, she studied in both Filipino and English. In Year 11, she chose to focus her study on STEM and explored her passion for science and technology. Her budding curiosity grew, as did her creativity and coding abilities.

At the end of high school, she was given an opportunity to study in Australia. The Bachelor of Information Technology (Interactive Media) at the University of Newcastle appealed to her because it combined her passion for technology and creativity, whilst being shorter in duration to other similar degrees. She was also able to fast track her first year of the degree into just eight months.

“It bridges creativity and technology through its offering of both multimedia arts and software coding,” said Amanda.

She was excited to study in Newcastle for the relaxed lifestyle, its beautiful beaches and being a relatively affordable place to live compared to Sydney and Melbourne. Also being asthmatic, Amanda wanted to live in a place with clean air.

Through a Summer Research Scholarship, Amanda was able to work on creative technology projects under the mentorship of Dr. Kristefan Minski, the CEO of Art Thinking and partner of FASTLab (Future, Arts, Science, and Technology Laboratory) Centre of Applied Chaos. The opportunity taught her how to adapt to complex situations and she learnt new leadership skills. Studying abroad during COVID-19 was challenging but Amanda claims that it helped her develop her perseverance and resilience.

As far as experience goes, Amanda also gained casual employment with the University’s Auchmuty library as a Digital Library Experience Officer. In this role, she collaborated with many business functions and teams working on projects that reimagined and transformed the library digital experience for students and staff.

“My first interview got me my first job as a Digital Library Experience Officer!” Amanda said excitedly.

“The degree and the University’s CareerHub really helped with this,” she said.

A highlight of her study experience was getting involved in clubs like FOCUS (Fellowship of Overseas Christian University Students), Newcastle Coders Group, PINAS-UON, NUWiE (Newcastle University Women in Engineering), and the leadership program, iLead Plus.

“It was great to be able to make friends, develop my leadership skills, practice my faith with others, and gather with like-minded individuals with common goals,” she said.

She also enjoyed creating and presenting her end-of-year project – an exhibition combining origami and robotics invented by Dr. Matthew Gardiner.

When asked what advice she would give to other international students considering studying in Australia, Amanda says to “wisely consider your interests and passions because you’re going to keep learning about it for the next 3-5 years to get into that field of work.”

“It takes determination and courage, but exploring a new place, learning different cultures, and making new friends in Australia is a step to independence and maturity,” she concludes.

Study information technology at the University of Newcastle

Headshot - Amanda Viray

Amanda Viray

Amanda seized the opportunity to study in Australia and pursued her passion for science and technology.

It bridges creativity and technology through its offering of both multimedia arts and software coding.

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.