Sylvia – Master of Accounting & human ‘book’

Sylvia Zhao

Sylvia came to Tasmania in 2014 on a student visa to undertake a Masters in accounting. On the surface her young adult life has been one of opportunity and adventure. Growing up in China, her undergraduate work in historic Guangzhou (Canton) was followed by a masters in translation studies at Scotland’s University of Edinburgh. Returning to China she took a job in the northern industrial city of Taiyuan. The city suffers severe air pollution problems and it is this Sylvia says that underpinned her decision to quit her job and come to Tasmania to pursue further education.

Since her arrival here she has successfully completed her second masters as well as gaining permanent residency. Obtaining a good job is her next major challenge but meanwhile she contacted A Fairer World offering to volunteer. Sylvia made it clear at her interview that social justice issues were dear to her heart and with her accounting background we quickly put her to work bookkeeping. It’s a task she undertakes weekly with reliability, conscientiousness and accuracy – we are delighted. However it wasn’t long before more was learnt about Sylvia’s story and the personal pain she carries having been the object of prejudice and discrimination. Accepting the challenge to participate in the Hobart Human Library as a human ‘book’ Sylvia now generously and meaningfully contributes to this program as well.

For us at A Fairer World the real buzz to Sylvia’s story is, that having given so much to our organisation, we see possibilities and openings flowing back her way. One possibility we can see is a project position attached to a current grant application – should it be successful she would be ideally suited to the position. But more concrete still – a visitor to our office, impressed with her skills, has hired Sylvia on a temporary basis two days a week. We wish her all the luck in the world.


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