Graduate Profiles

Sacha Cody

Area of Study: Chinese

Sacha CodyIt’s now 10 years since Sacha’s first Chinese class at Monash and he says “since then my life has taken a very challenging yet absolutely rewarding direction which would not have been possible without my Chinese language background”.

Some of Sacha’s career highlights of the past decade include:

  • 1999 — Studying at Nanjing University as part of his degree.
  • 2002 — Young Australian Business Scholar with three other Australians enjoying one semester at the University of Business & Economics in Beijing then work experience afterwards.
  • 2003–2004 — Employed with global market research firm AC Nielsen in Hong Kong
  • 2004–current — Employed with Millward Brown, a global research company specialising in brand, media and communications research. Sacha currently works as an Account Director leading a team of eight across international clients like Intel, Nokia and Marks as well as China’s future leading brands such as Haier, Mengniu and Lenovo.

Sacha acknowledges the significant contribution of his mentors in Chinese at Monash and is delighted about the opportunities presented by studying a language.

Colleen Holt

Area of Study: Linguistics

Colleen HoltColleen studied linguistics at Monash and now works at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital in the Cochlear Implant Clinic. Her job is varied and includes clinical testing of those with cochlear implants, analysing their speech perception and production abilities and studying ways to improve their communication skills in everyday life.

I got my job in cochlear implants precisely because I had studied linguistics. They were looking for somebody to assess the communication abilities of children with implants so my experience in describing and analysing languages was exactly what they were after.

In linguistics you learn to analyse language from a variety of angles — there’s the sounds of the languages, rules for how to conduct a conversation, the grammar and so on. Linguistics also taught me how to direct my writing for an audience — I quite often write technical reports about language abilities for health professionals, then rewrite the same report in everyday language to send to parents.

It’s great to think that something I enjoyed studying can bring direct benefits to the community.

Piers Kelly

Area of Study: Italian Studies and Comparative Literature and Endangered Languages

Piers KellyAfter completing majors in Italian Studies and Comparative Literature I travelled to Tuscany where I did a semester of Honours and then to Milan to research Italian literature. I chose Italian because I wanted to read Dante, and Comparative Literature because it sounded adventurous!

With an appreciation for the awesome possibilities of literary language and a solid grounding in contemporary critical ideas I was able to pursue a language-focused career with confidence.

Since graduating I have worked at Lonely Planet as a foreign language editor and freelance writer; spent a year in the Philippines as a language researcher and am now living in the Pilbara where I compiled a linguistic report for a native title claim.

I have a keen interest in preserving and promoting endangered languages and believe there is an urgent need to protect our linguistic ecology as well as oral knowledge.

Peter Sawczak

Area of Study: Slavic Studies

Peter SawczakMy career path began with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade where I worked at the Australian Embassy in Moscow as Third Secretary. The solid grounding in Russian and Ukrainian languages, literature and culture that I acquired at Monash proved indispensable in the complicated operating environment of the former Soviet republics.

I’m currently on posting in Brussels, a challenging multilateral setting that hosts the European institutions and NATO. As widely as English is being spoken, these institutions continue to advocate pluralism. Being able to speak German and French has proved invaluable both personally and professionally.

Knowing one or more foreign languages makes learning others easier. It also makes different cultures and ways of thinking more accessible — a vital advantage in the field of diplomacy. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade values language skills highly — skills that Monash’s School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics has a well-earned reputation for instilling in its students.