STARTING your life in a foreign country is difficult to say the least. More so for a Negrense wife and mom of two who was already enjoying a promising career in real estate and marketing.
What could only be described as a whirlwind uprooting, Ma. Cristina Lizares Poblador-Magbojos, or simply Tina to those who know her, got her confirmation letter a couple of days before she had to fly to Melbourne, Australia or lose her educational opportunity at the prestigious Victoria University.
She literally had only a day and a half to barely pack and say farewell to family and friends. It was a pure leap of faith as she had to leave all the convenience and comforts of home and a lucrative corporate position. Most challenging was leaving her own family albeit temporarily until she graduates and they can finally join her.
Although faced with difficulties, she took on the journey placing in mind she and her family fell in love with Melbourne during a past visit to relatives.
Rated as the world’s most livable city seven years in a row and deemed to be an ideal place to raise a family considering it is a capital for education, arts, and multi-cultural opportunities, Tina embarked on her trip looking forward to limitless possibilities for her daughters.
As the possibilities were limitless, so were the challenges it seemed. Faced with a number of hurdles including arriving two weeks late in the semester in a school which employs an entirely different mode of teaching and learning, taking the degree Masters of Business in Accounting with no accounting background (she was a Mass Communications graduate) as the accounting field gives way to permanent residency, adjusting to the harsher cold weather, and going into some depression from being away from family, Tina was thankful for the moral support and encouragement from back home as well as from those of her course coordinator, Rod Herbert, professor Melanie Khan, and her new-found friends who became like a family to her.
She also found comfort and motivation in volunteer activities and club involvements. In the desire to give back the same warmth and friendliness she experienced, she joined a network of good friends in putting up the very first Filipino Club in Victoria University where she serves as its Vice President and Marketing officer.
Her contagiously positive nature made her an active member of the Victoria University Vollies, a program that provides students with opportunities to volunteer in various school and community events.
Due to her outstanding dedication and work ethics despite her overwhelming schedule, she was placed in a leadership role in a committee charged with the Chinese New Year Festival organized by the CNY United and the City of Melbourne.
All these, she said, provided her with a healthy study-work-life balance as she strives for consistent excellence in everything she does.
All these were also testimonies of why she was one of the international students who bagged the coveted 2017 Victoria University's Student Leadership Award (International Individual Category), recognition of select people serving the goal of significantly improving the quality of student life in the university.
For a homesick mom whose being away from home is a great sacrifice, this recognition is a gift she now shares with all those who believe in working on your dream, meeting each struggle with a smile, and living each day with a whole lot of faith.