Student blog: the sky is the limit - why I chose Brisbane to study aviation - Choose Brisbane

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Student blog: the sky is the limit - why I chose Brisbane to study aviation

Rachel Kee

By Rachel Kee

Rachel Kee is from Penang, Malaysia. She is currently studying a Bachelor of Aviation at the University of Southern Queensland's Brisbane campus.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

When asked this question growing up, I just had one answer in mind – a pilot. My response would often elicit a surprised look. People even recommended I look for a career as a cabin crew member or a flight attendant instead. However, I was firm in my goal of becoming a pilot.

I grew up in a culture where pursuing a career in aviation to become a pilot was considered to be a “boy thing”. Naturally, my family and friends constantly questioned my ambition. Initially, I struggled to wrap my head around this idea, but I didn’t let this stereotype hold me back.

My father once told me that he, himself, wanted to be a pilot. This sparked my interest in aviation. My aspirations grew further when my cousins working in this industry shared their stories of traveling around the world. I was captivated at the idea of having a cockpit with a view as my “office”.

Rachel Kee

Picture above: Flying in a Cessna 172 (4-seater aircraft), which was my first experience in a small aircraft.

Aviation degrees are uncommon where I grew up and the common paths to becoming a pilot are through flight schools, paid cadetships or the military. However, I was keen on higher education in aviation and found a suitable degree to pursue my passion in Australia.

Aviation is much more than taking off and landing. There are other important aspects such as management, organisation, airport design, airline schedules, safety and security. My degree taught me all of these non-aeronautical aspects in depth, and I enjoyed learning it almost as much as flying a plane!

Rachel Kee

Among all the places out there, choosing to study in Brisbane has been one of my best decisions. The city has facilitated my learning journey throughout my course. Making new friendships here has helped me overcome homesickness. Also, I have had the opportunity for visits to the Brisbane Airport where the facilities and resources are world class. 

On top of that, I was given an opportunity to fly a Boeing 737 flight simulator in my very first year where I got to replicate an entire flight while completing procedures just like airline pilots do. I have also been able to connect with real pilots and hear their stories and meet industry experts and leaders and learn about the growing aviation industry. 

Rachel Kee

Pictured above: I got to fly the Super Hornet simulator in a C17 jet aircraft, wearing a fighter pilot suit while visiting the Air Force base.

As the aviation industry flourishes, more opportunities will arise. Careers in aviation range from military and civil aviation to joining the defense force. You can even get to fly a Super Hornet jet fighter that travels at the speed of sound - how amazing! Likewise, you can join aeromedical services or fly for fire and rescue teams. Then there is of course the option to fly commercial aircraft. 

I aspire to fly with one of the top passenger airlines someday. I am glad I have taken the path that aligns perfectly with my passion. I hope more women are encouraged to follow their interests in aviation. Studying aviation in Brisbane is just the beginning of my dream journey where I see myself captaining an aircraft, taking the left seat in the cockpit and flying that 80-ton vehicle up in the air. 

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