International Student Story - Umbelina Cardoso

Umbelina Cardoso portrait

Umbelina Cardoso recently graduated with a Master of Education under an Australia Awards Scholarship.

Hailing from Timor-Leste, where she taught at a private university in the capital city of Dili, Umbelina is looking forward to returning to her home country to continue working at the Dili Institute of Technology with a new perspective on teaching.

Her goal is to combine twenty-first-century skills in her lesson planning and enhance the wellbeing of her students, creating engaging lessons to address students’ needs. She teaches first year and second year engineering students who are required to learn different specialised vocabularies of English for Specific Purposes. This presents many challenges as it can lead to boredom if the lesson is not dynamic and engaging. This can then result in students' demotivation. Therefore, integrating twenty-first-century wellbeing aspects and updated English teaching methodology can help improve teaching performance and contribute to better learning outcomes. It will also help Umbelina’s students be better qualified for their job preference, enabling them to participate in the development of Timor-Leste, and preparing them for the competitive job market. Umbelina is also interested in researching the effectiveness of current educational policy from a multilingual perspective, particularly the language policy for educational purposes because this will help enhance educational quality in Timor-Leste.


What opportunities have you received due to the Australia Awards Scholarship?

"I am so grateful to have received this scholarship because I have gained knowledge on how to become more professional and a good teacher. It has encouraged me to contribute to the development of my country, particularly through my teaching profession. I have missed out on some opportunities due to the pandemic, such as international conferences on education. However, I did a six-month online course on speech to improve my English pronunciation, which was an excellent learning experience. I also did online courses in LinkedIn learning through the University of Adelaide. These courses have also led me to be more professional in performing my duties and responsibilities as a teacher. They have changed my perspective to be more open-minded and creative.”


What was a highlight of your studies in Australia?

"The good people in South Australia. They are united, spending time together and love helping others. I also received lots of support from Student Welfare at the University of Adelaide, the Uniting Communities, the community of Trinity Lutheran Church and the community of the Adventist church. The Doctors and midwives at the Women's and Children's Hospital were so supportive when I had a baby last year without any family members to support me here in Adelaide. The academic environment also always has support available. Receiving support from various community organisations and the academic community has contributed to my experience in academics but also in social life. It has made me realise that an intelligent person cares for themselves as individuals, but that providing care and support to others is also necessary. Most importantly, building a friendship with a South Australian family has also allowed me to be more helpful to others.” 


Have you picked up any new hobbies since spending time in Australia?

"During the pandemic, I liked walking around the National Conservation parks. I also enjoyed travelling in South Australia, going camping, playing badminton, and riding jet skis and bicycles."


What do you miss about Timor-Leste?

"I miss traditional cuisine. My favourite dish is called Batar fai. Batar means corn, and fai means mashed. It’s made by mixing red bean, mung bean, peanuts, coconut milk, and beef or pork ribs. It is served with vegetables such as cassava leaves and papaya flower and sambal, which is a mix of dried anchovy, chilli, tomatoes and shrimp paste.”


Where do you see yourself in ten years?

"In the next ten years I hope to finish my doctoral study and to have published many articles about teachers' and student’s wellbeing in multilingual education in Timor-Leste. I also want to write short stories and reading materials for early learners.”

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