"We're going to Australia."
When Qin Hang was 21, her parents told her that the family was moving to Australia. But first - she had to go by herself.
Moving to Australia from China at an age when most people are trying to figure out their place in the world, Qin felt as if she was starting again from scratch. Already having lived in a foreign country during her childhood (Qin was 15 when she moved to Germany to study), she realised that the quickest way to fit in was to befriend local Australians and fellow international students.
"I feel like if you have made a decision to study overseas then it’s a good opportunity for you to get exposed to other cultures and other backgrounds."
However, Qin admits that it is daunting to start afresh in a foreign country. It was pushing herself past her personal limits that helped Qin to develop a skill-set that has proved to be beneficial in both social and professional settings.
Qin tells the story of an internship where within the first month she found herself with the responsibility of taking a delegation to China after a colleague broke her arm.
"I was thrown in to the deep end of bringing a delegation to China without knowing much of what I was doing."
Qin says that she took the challenge head on, counting on the guidance of colleagues and her own resilience to quickly learn what it meant to run a successful event.
Now, Qin is a self-confessed "slasher" - meaning that she considers herself as a belonging to several different professions, including Business Development Manager/Podcast Creator/Australia-China Professional/Careers Coach with Infinity Coaching Institute. Qin is a big advocate for exploring different career paths instead of settling on "the one". She uses the Chinese metaphor of the "iron rice bowl/铁饭碗" to describe the traditional idea of a "stable job".
"I think traditionally people see banking as a secure job, especially the older generations, because they just feel like this is the "iron rice bowl/铁饭碗". I don’t think that’s the case anymore, because technology changes and disrupts all sorts of industries. What exists today might not exist tomorrow. Be open minded about what you are able to do in the future instead of what you can do currently."
Funnily enough, Qin is now working in the Migrant & Multicultural Banking sector. Qin and her colleagues draw on their own experience and bilingual skills to assist newly arrived migrants through the process they themselves have gone through. Qin admits that she may have never landed a banking job if she had not been open minded, and also points to the fact that you don't necessarily need to have a finance or economics background to enter in to banking. Her last piece of advice to young graduates is this:
"Open yourself up to opportunities. Very few people are lucky enough to find their goal and purpose in life very early on. Be open and at the same time be focused. Opportunities are always there."