Studying actuarial science: an international student perspective

“An accountant is someone who attempts to value the present. An actuary is someone who attempts to value the future.”  – Society of Actuaries (SOA).

This quote kept me inspired and motivated me during my double degree in actuarial studies and statistics at Macquarie University, which has given me:

  • Valuable insights about actuary and the relevant industry
  • Engaging and enriching activities
  • Technical and practical
  • Understand my strengths and weaknesses, so I can plan my career better

Initial challenges

As an international student, adapting to university life and overcoming language barriers were the most challenging task. I felt that I had to put in more effort than my peers, but I overcame these challenges by sharing and developing skills in exam preparation, project management and so on with both local and international students.

Part I and Part II subjects

I miss how my study mates and I spent time at the library working on our assignments and examinations. The camaraderie forged and the feeling of euphoria when get to solve difficult problems are most memorable of my university life.

 My favourite subject university is the Actuarial Control Cycle, as it

  • Introduced me to the Australia insurance market
  • Complemented the last 3 years of studies with practical examples in insurance
  • The lecturer shared lots of examples based on his own experience which is most valuable for me. He not only shown what the Australian insurance market looks like in different perspectives, but also gave us lots of hints on potential opportunities in the actuarial industry. This gave me better idea on future opportunities of actuarial work

Joining AWS: improve chances to get an internship

It can be difficult for international students to find internships and work due to visa requirement. To improve my chances, I joined Australian Wall Street (AWS) and becoming the President of Macquarie University chapter, and that was the best decision I made as it helped me to get the internship with the Royal North Shore hospital data department.

So how did AWS help me?

  • Being the President of AWS Macquarie University, I learned management skills, public speaking skills
  • Networking with industry professionals, they shared lots of advice on career and studies, which gave me ideas and inspirations on my own career
  • The mock interview program gave me chance to practice and receive feedbacks on my performance, so I will be better prepared for future interviews
  • The Actuary and Data Analytics seminar at the University of Technology gave me lots of new challenges and ideas about working as an actuary and solving real life data analytics projects

My tips for international students:

  • Join student societies, it is one of the best things to do while completing your degree as you get to gain experience, knowledge and advice on future career pathways
  • Be flexible and look for non-insurance internship opportunities. Internship gave me valuable experience in adapting to workplace environment and applying my skills and knowledge to solve real world problems
  • In any career, there will be both positive and negative aspects. With passion, international students can become successful and reach their goals. This is how I cope with challenges during my study life.


Please check here for further details on AWS@MQU.

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