Diving into a new life.

Student Ambassador Zlata loves to bring out the best in people.
Student Ambassador Zlata loves to bring out the best in people.

Student ambassador Zlata began training as a swimmer in Russia at the age of six. “I always had a runny nose or a sore throat. I was getting sick every few weeks. My parents had heard that swimming could help,” she says. “I really enjoyed it. Then in 2012, when my family went to Singapore, I began swimming for the university there. We had the same coach as Singapore’s national team.” It was an inspiring time for her. “The coach told me, ‘You have a talent, but you have to work a lot,’ and I was like, ‘Well, I’m ready. I love swimming, so let’s try!’”

Talent and hard work soon took Zlata into the world of professional swimming, where she had her first encounter with Australians. She says, “Swimming in Thailand, I met the Australian national team. I enjoyed seeing how they put everything into their work. They were determined, but I saw they were still happy and living their best life. I liked that mentality, and I think that’s when I chose Australia for my future education.”

Mixing communication, psychology, and creativity
Back in Russia, Zlata’s enthusiasm for swimming started to fade. “I had training three times a day and it was too much. I liked swimming but I didn’t have enough support from my coaches. I think coaches in Russia are too harsh.” Then in her teens, she began reading a lot of psychology. “I was trying to get to know myself and understand all my emotions and feelings. And I found I started communicating with people better. I started making more friends and I thought, maybe I can use this in life – in my career.” She was thinking about psychology when she started researching universities, but then Zlata saw the Communications program at UTS. “It had all the things I wanted, mixing psychology and creativity.”

Lessons from her swimming career
Zlata is now in second year of Bachelor of Communication at UTS, having successfully completed a UTS College Diploma of Communication.  “Coming here was my best decision,” she says. “The practical skills I’ve gained are invaluable. They’ve enhanced my creativity. I can approach in innovative ways and that’s made everyday life more manageable and fulfilling.”  Although she has put swimming behind her (after coaching for a while), she says the experience taught her a lot. “The discipline still helps me. I think all sportspeople are disciplined. Motivation comes and goes, but with discipline, you do all the steps every day and eventually you achieve a result,” she says.

When she saw an opportunity to be a Student Ambassador, Zlata didn’t hesitate. “I’d seen them on campus, helping at events. And I was following UTS College on Facebook and Instagram. What the ambassadors do is very related to my communication degree,” she says. “Also, I know how challenging it can be as an international student to move from your country to a completely different environment. It’s hard, and it can be lonely. As a student ambassador I want to help people who are in that situation.”

A passion for bringing out the best in people
It's been a great experience for her so far. “You basically have fun, and you’re helping people”, she says. ”You meet people from different cultures, and you see how it all works. I remember being at an open evening and seeing the fire in the eyes of prospective students. They hear about your experience at UTS, and they want that for themselves. You get to help others to find their way in their life – like what they want to do – by telling your honest experience. Also,” she laughs, “there is free food sometimes!”

She may have retired from coaching, but Zlata still loves to draw out the best from people. “I want to bring out their passion and see them bloom,” she says.

Want to learn more about student life at UTS College? Chat with Zlata or our other student ambassadors now.

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