South Korean Master of Social Work graduate Larry Kim has made the town of Port Augusta his home. After completing a rural placement with the Department for Child Protection, the international graduate was able to fast-track his career and is now employed full-time as a Social Worker.
Positioned for a fulfilling postgraduate career
“Ever since I graduated from Flinders University, I’ve been working in the organisation where I did my placement,” says Larry, pictured far left with fellow Flinders international Social Work alumni Eric Lim, and Linh Nguyen.
“My current goal is to learn more about the processes and systems, and I aim to develop my career in the organisation towards being promoted to a Senior Social Worker in the foreseeable future.”
Larry was drawn to a career as a Social Worker due to the opportunity to help a diverse range of communities.
“Being in the social work field means your values in life are more inclined to helping others rather than financial reward, and that is the reason why I decided to go with this career – to be able to help others,” says Larry.
“I am passionate about my role. Especially in terms of promoting the safety of vulnerable children in the community and addressing the high proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People’s involvement with the child protection system.”
Support for current and future social work students
Having found his feet in Port Augusta, Larry knew he could aid fellow international students on placement settle in, with the lessons learned on his own placement.
“As I was not sure what to do when I started my rural placement, I thought it would be good to help other students to avoid repeating the same mistakes I did,” says Larry.
“I tried to help them reflect on their placement experience. It was rewarding for me too, as I was able to reflect on my own experience. I just wanted to let everyone know that we are all in this together. I hope other future students will pass on what they have been given from Flinders.”
Friendly Australian rural communities
Larry loves his life in Port Augusta and was warmly welcomed by the community.
“I do believe to maximise your learning experience and ensure a higher chance of employment, future students who are willing to take the challenge of doing the rural placement should prioritise enjoying the local culture of the area first.”
Making a big effort to immerse himself in the local culture during his placement has proved an advantage in gaining full-time employment.
“From my experience here in Port Augusta, people are more friendly, and they are willing to involve newcomers to the town. During my placement, I made an effort to get to know this community,” says Larry. “I indulged myself in community events, interacted with local community members, and respected local knowledge and expertise.”
Safe, beautiful and affordable living in Adelaide
Larry was drawn to studying at Flinders due to the balanced lifestyle available in Adelaide. “What I like about South Australia is the size of the city and affordability of living,” says Larry who has enjoyed the natural beauty, great lifestyle, and affordable living Adelaide offers.
“Other big cities in Australia are pretty much the same as the big cities where I am from, and I wanted to live a balanced life – a bit of natural beauty, a bit of city life, with affordable housing and living costs.”
Unrivalled student support from ‘staff who care’
While studying at Flinders, Larry found plenty of support from staff when it came to forming a career path during his degree.
“Flinders University staff were particularly helpful in terms of doing my placement, and I would not have been able to decide to do my placement in the regional town without the assistance,” says Larry. “I am so grateful to be able to receive the support from them.”
Staff also supported Larry and his fellow international students on a more personal level with the added stress of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There are many friendly staff supporting international students, and they played a significant role during the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Larry. “When most international students were impacted by not being able to meet their families back in their home countries, there was a lot of confusion around the pandemic response and the staff were open for communication and listened to the students’ needs.”
Advice for prospective international students?
Prospective international students considering studying at Flinders can feel reassured they will be supported through the challenges that come with moving to a new country and studying at a new university.
“If you have decided to pursue your study at Flinders University, you can trust the staff to support you,” says Larry.
“You are not alone in worrying about coming to the new area, making friends, and developing your career. However, you are respected for the experience and values that you bring to Flinders University, and I am sure your openness to reach out and communicate will help you to settle down eventually, achieving what you are planning to do here.”
82% of Flinders international Social Work students have obtained employment in Australia after undertaking a rural placement in 2021. Discover more about studying Social Work in Australia, and find out about rural placements with a Flinders Social Work degree – click here.