A Belarus-born, UNSW Sydney alumna says the thought of living in Australia was completely unreal when she was 18 years old.
Maryia Haworth recalls how she took her first leap of faith, moving from Belarus to the UK in 2009 to study at Manchester Business School.
“It felt very monumental at the time,” Ms Haworth says. “It was definitely a challenging culture shift and a language shift as well.”
Six years later, she followed her heart and moved to Sydney after meeting UNSW alumnus and now-husband Matthew Haworth at a training program in New York.
After the program, they returned to their respective corners of the world but remained in a long-distance relationship.
“We stayed in touch and met in different countries every three or four months,” Ms Haworth says.
Remembering her initial thoughts about Matthew, she says: “I felt like I had known him for a lifetime when we met … so even though we had only spent a few weeks together in person I had very high confidence in the decision to move to Sydney.”
The UNSW Sydney alumna says she was surprised by the workplace culture in Australia, with more focus on wellness and work-life balance.
“I decided to study a postgraduate degree at UNSW Sydney to understand the local business context,” she says. “I wasn’t familiar with the Australian context and the Australian market because it’s quite remote from everywhere else.”
Ms Haworth studied a Master of Financial Analysis at UNSW Business School and is now a Senior Analyst in the Infrastructure Advisory team at Deloitte.
“The degree was a really valuable experience in terms of giving me the opportunity to meet different people and hear different perspectives,” she says.
After reminiscing about her time in Belarus and life in Australia, she would advise her younger self to not expect life to follow a linear path.
“Be brave, be happy, experiment and take chances,” she advises. “It’s important to have confidence in your decisions and to not expect life to play out in a well-structured plan.”