Returning to university study was an obvious choice for Korpo Kormon long after leaving a successful career in accounting in her Liberian homeland to emigrate to Australia.
The energetic mother of four took on the challenge at a time when her family was growing. She had just given birth to twins and living a life far removed from the one she had left behind.
Korpo already held a Bachelor of Accounting from Liberia where she was working as an assistant accountant with the US Agency for International Development. Part of her brief involved controlling the finances of five local counties.
However, when she landed in Australia five years ago, she found her Liberian degree wasn’t recognised by the domestic accounting profession which put the brakes on her career prospects.
“I became frustrated because I lost any chance of the professional life I really wanted,” Korpo said.
So, after encouragement from her husband, she started a double degree at Griffith University studying a Bachelor of Commerce and a Bachelor of Business, majoring in Accounting and in Logistics and Supply Chain Management.
She also decided to do it the hard way, forgoing any credits from her Liberian degree in favour of a full four years of study.
“I don’t regret that one bit because I really needed to do this to improve my life,” said Korpo who is into her second year of study.
“When I first studied for my degree in Liberia I didn’t have children, but now that I am married and have four kids, there are a lot of challenges, especially when I look at my bank balance.
“You sacrifice a lot of things socially, and for the family, so there has to be a lot of compromise along the way. Four years might be a long time, but in the end it will be worth it.”
Korpo is among a growing population of mature-aged university students undertaking further study to enhance their career prospects.
This commitment to lifelong learning is celebrated by Adult Learners’ Week at Griffith University from September 1-8, culminating in an event held at the University’s Logan campus on September 5.
Mr Karapanagiotidis, a human rights activist for the past 25 years, holds six degrees in the fields of law, social work, psychology, business, education and international development. It’s a CV that highlights what can be achieved through lifelong learning.
According to Griffith University’s Adult Learner Engagement Officer Di Mahoney, it is hard to profile the typical adult learner.
“Some might have been working for years and just want to change their careers,” she said.
“Others might have left school early and think it’s time to get serious now. Many are realising that it’s actually hard to get good employment without qualifications.
“Being an adult learner you often have family commitments and that is common. There is always time management and juggling of priorities.
“In Korpo’s case, she has the added challenge of coming from another country so that adds another dimension to her story.”