There are many reasons why international students choose to study in Queensland. The “Sunshine State” has it all — think beautiful beaches, an expansive outback, safe cities, welcoming locals and most importantly, quality academic institutions.
Only at TAFE Queensland, however, can students get to study what they want in a way that not only suits them but brings them success. Eighty-five percent of its graduates effortlessly go on to work or further study.
Their development begins at one of 50 locations spread across the state; from Thursday Island in the north, down to Coolangatta in the southeast corner and as far west as Mount Isa. Every aspiration is welcomed.
Collectively, these picturesque locations provide over 500 nationally-recognised qualifications, each filled with enough industry experiences to transform curious students into career-ready professionals. It’s little wonder why TAFE Queensland boasts a 93.6% employer satisfaction rating. While a majority of graduates achieve success, no two stories are ever the same. International graduate Martina Rehn’s unique and exciting journey is proof.
Rehn is no stranger to the outdoors. She spent the majority of her Swedish childhood in horse stables and thoroughly enjoyed every heart-pumping excursion she encountered. With age, she began realising the importance of physical strength.
“Like most people, I started out with group training classes, advanced to the gym, and eventually found myself really enjoying the ritual of lifting weights with headphones in.”
The endurance she gained inspired Rehn to look for a life-bettering qualification. Upon googling “fitness education”, she discovered TAFE Queensland's Diploma of Sport. Packing up and moving to Australia was an obvious choice.
She had visited twice before and had since dreamed of a longer third visit. The thought of breathing the same air as Chontel Duncan, an Australian fitness entrepreneur and Rehn’s first role model, was exciting as well.
Fresh out of the airport, sunshine, bulletin boards filled with exciting events and warm Australians helped validate her decision. “They are just the friendliest, most open-minded people you will ever meet,” enthuses Rehn.
At TAFE Queensland, she met international students who she was proud to call her peers. Together, they embarked on an educational journey of a lifetime. Here’s what she used to get up to as a student:
Rehn’s first class of the day would typically be theoretical. The programme she chose was designed to cover every angle of coaching high-performing athletes. It also focused on teaching the arts of designing, delivering and managing a range of community sport and recreational activities for the general public; managing risk; leading and managing people; as well as maintaining healthy and safe workplaces.
A school day for Rehn always began early. After a quick shower and a hearty breakfast, she would grab her trainers, throw on a dri-FIT get up and enjoy a tranquil 3.5 kilometre walk to campus — anything for some fresh air, Instagram-worthy views and of course, endorphins.
After a comprehensive lesson or lecture, Rehn and her friends would sprint to the cafeteria. Since good nutrition plays a massive role in overall health, most would opt to reheat their packed lunches before heading to the outdoor dining area to recap lessons while soaking up some Queensland sun. Rehn always made it a point to pack coffee before heading back to class.
Class #2 was often practical – Rehn’s favourite kind. These sessions typically comprised training with different kinds of clients, exercising in the gym, conducting fitness tests, postural screenings, studying anatomy, developing personalised workout plans, and much more.
For Rehn and her peers, the end of a class day only meant one thing — it was time to strategise the rest of the day. Most of the time, she would coax them to the gym. There, she would earn a delicious dinner while hitting her daily targets.
If Rehn wasn’t cooling off at the beach, which was a very short walk away from home, she would be cooking up a storm with her housemates — something healthy, of course. The conversations they shared in the process were always just as wholesome.
Faculty members at TAFE Queensland never failed to remind Rehn that sleep is a vital — but often neglected — component of every person's overall health and well-being. That said, immediately after digesting her dinner well, she would cosy up in bed and recharge for another enriching day.
For Rehn, weekends were no excuse to sleep in. After all, there was too much to get up to. Post-gym, she would gather her friends for a cheeky beach session, followed by an afternoon power walk and sunset dinner.
“We also swam with whales, went to horse races, crammed in the car for road trips, and barbecued our favourite meats and veggies at the beach,” she explains. “You can do so much really and you will meet friends that you will keep for the rest of your life!”
While remaining in Australia post-graduation was tempting, Rehn knew the right move would be to improve communities back in Sweden. Today, she works as an online coach, freelances as a personal trainer, and runs Rehn Performance. “I developed it to provide the industry with comfortable colourful lifting straps and wrist wraps,” she expresses.
The International PT licence she achieved during her studies has made it incredibly easy for her to earn abroad as well, such as in Fuerteventura and Albania.