Charlotte’s Journey to UQ and Beyond

Charlotte’s Journey to UQ and Beyond

By Olivia Taylor, Bachelor of Advanced Humanities Student

Charlotte Lyon is one of UQ’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences 2021 Warren Braxton Bannister Bursary recipients. I spoke to Charlotte about her journey to UQ and aspirations for the future.

Charlotte grew up in the rural town of Toowoomba with little financial bedrock to fall back on. As a result, Charlotte delayed beginning her degree by a year to build up this up herself.  Her first year after graduating high school was spent working a full-time job, as well as two other casual jobs simultaneously to fund her move to Brisbane and her plan to study at UQ.

But Charlotte has never been afraid of hard work. In year nine, she began learning Chinese and discovered her love of the language.

To Charlotte, the characters and the logic of the language simply made sense, and she was determined to master it.

By year ten, she had entered and won a state-level Chinese language competition, and then a national-level competition in the same year. These achievements led her to becoming part of a two-person team representing Australia internationally in the Hanyu Qiao competition. As one of the youngest competitors, her talent and relentless hard work helped Australia place 13th out of 80 countries – quite a resume of achievements.

This intense love of learning and desire to achieve, combined with a fierce love of the Chinese language is what shaped Charlotte’s path towards a Bachelor of International Studies at UQ. For Charlotte, this competition was a turning point which made her future aspirations clearer than they had ever been.

By existing in this international space and navigating the vast diversity of cultures brought to the competition by each participant, it became evident that Charlotte's passion extended beyond Chinese and into the world of international relations, trade, and economics.

But while the path for Charlotte is clear, it has not always been easy.

In order to pursue her dreams and realise her potential, Charlotte has had to overcome numerous challenges. Relocation from a rural town to a city of strangers was an isolating experience and navigating this adjustment period was made more challenging by the fact that her hard work left little time for a social life. While working part-time alongside her studies, Charlotte has maintained an enviable academic record which has set her apart.

Charlotte’s unrelenting hard work and passion for her studies has led her to a keen interest in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Here, she hopes she will be able to extend her interest in international relations, as well as put her Chinese to good use.

But her dreams don’t end there. Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Charlotte still aspires to one day study abroad. Travel and experience working abroad are at the forefront of her mind going forward, as she navigates the completion of her undergraduate study and whatever lies beyond the pandemic.

For Charlotte, these dreams are more tangible having recieved the Braxton Bannister Bursary. While she has certainly proven her ability to excel through her ongoing hard work, this scholarship will undoubtedly provide some immensely deserved assistance as she works towards turning her aspirations into reality.

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Qualifications

Bachelor of International Studies (Chinese and Economics)