Love drew Esther Boulger to the Mildura region in 2012 to be with her new husband. Thousands of kilometres from Malaysia and with very basic English skills, 44-year-old Esther jumped at the chance to join English classes at SuniTAFE soon after her arrival. “Timing is everything,” said Esther, “I used to be a travel agent in Kuala Lumpur and visited many beautiful places leading tour groups. Travelling makes you see how lucky you are – Australia is very lucky and I appreciate the opportunities to study and further my skills.”
Every day Esther feels grateful to be in Mildura. “I can’t thank my teacher Libby enough for what she has taught me. Last year I won Academic Student of the Year (Certificate III) which I am humbled and grateful to receive.” Esther’s overall confidence with conversing in English has increased exponentially due to the encouragement of her teachers and support staff at SuniTAFE. This newfound confidence has also led to volunteering opportunities which have enabled Esther to connect with her new community.
Working part-time at the Clove Organic Shop and Café has enabled Esther to engage with customers and gain the confidence to speak English. So much so, Esther took on a volunteer job with Sunassist organising social outings to give something back to the community. Further, she decided to enrol in aged care at SuniTAFE. “This was my time to contribute to the community – every single moment I could, I asked if I could volunteer.”
English as a second language was no barrier for Esther when it came to studying aged care. Every day after class, Esther met with her teacher to get copies of the day’s PowerPoint slides and she spent hours in the SuniTAFE library reviewing and translating all the material. It wasn’t uncommon for Esther to write up the material in Bahasa (Malaysian) and translated further into Chinese characters to get a full understanding (she also has skills in Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean and Japanese!). “Sometimes my teacher would review my work and ask what the characters mean written on my page,” Esther said with a laugh.
Esther used her Certificate III in Spoken and Written English and Certificate III in Individual Support to forge a career in aged care. She has been employed at Oasis Aged Care since September 2016.
“I love meeting people, caring and sharing with residents,” exclaimed Esther. “Working in a small facility allows me to build relationships and trust. I feel so lucky, going to work each day – it’s like a big family. My goal is to work for 10, 15, 20 years – work there forever! I work very hard and aim to buy my first house,” she said. Esther feels that her future is very bright and she continues to take every opportunity available to her, encouraging others to do the same.