With a bachelor’s degree in science majoring in psychology already under his belt, Andy Chin found counselling to be the perfect fit for integrating Christian ministry. ‘Being a member of Wesley International Congregation, I knew of the then Wesley Institute (now Excelsia College) and its solid reputation, and I knew others who had studied there, so it made my decision easy. After I spent a season of seeking God in prayer, it was the right next step,’ explains Andy. In 1999, he took the plunge and enrolled in a Graduate Diploma of Counselling.


For many students it’s the little memories which stand out when they reflect on their time at a tertiary institution, and for Andy it’s no different. ‘I remember the little canteen run by a lovely Korean couple. I enjoyed the chapel services. We had an awesome cohort in the counselling class which was stimulating. Our lecturers were relatable and predominantly engaging and insightful. It was also fun to engage occasionally with students and lecturers from other departments. I would describe the College as inspiring, creative and authentic.’


Andy also found that Excelsia provided him with solid foundations for incorporating Christian counselling in ministry. ‘I loved being able to understand how to interweave my university psychology studies with a grounded faith in Christ. The foundational theology component was helpful, insightful and encouraging.’ For Andy, his defining moment came in his Integrative Studies classes which sought to make sense of psychology and Christian faith. After graduating from Excelsia in 2001 and with solid foundations laid, Andy practised counselling within a pastoral context. It was a year after graduating that Andy’s call to ministry became loud and clear and he went on to pursue further theological studies.


Today, Andy works as the Senior Pastor of Wesley International Congregation, Wesley Mission. The organisation holds a special place in Andy’s walk as he came to faith in this congregation and continued his journey, joining the staff team in 2001 as an intern and then as a pastor in 2004. Excelsia is pleased to continue this connection with Wesley International Congregation and since May 2022 the church has been using the College’s auditorium for worship services. Andy is also involved with various interdenominational ministries with a hope and desire to see collaborative gospel work locally and globally.


When Andy found out that Excelsia is celebrating its 40th anniversary, he was very excited to see that the College has continued to grow from strength to strength. ‘I pray the Spirit of God may continue to pour out significant favour on this college and that it will continue to be a source of life and learning for generations to come for the gospel of Jesus! I look back fondly at these times and rejoice with you all!’


If you are interested in going into pastoral care or ministry and want to gain the helpful foundations about how to relate to others, why not consider Excelsia College’s counselling courses? The Graduate Diploma of Counselling helps to provide a foretaste and if you decide this is something you want to pursue in a professional capacity, you can continue by studying the Master of Counselling.

Excelsia College | Andy Chin – Counselling and ministry really do go hand in hand

After discovering Excelsia College through homeschooling connections and attending an open day in 2015, Mikaela Wu decided to enrol in a Bachelor of Music. It also helped that theology was embedded in the music course as she was wanting to increase both her musical and biblical knowledge.


Fast forward nearly seven years and Mikaela graduated from Excelsia with undergraduate and postgraduate studies in music. After finishing her Bachelor of Music in flute in 2018 and working for a year and a half, she was encouraged by staff at Excelsia to do a master’s. ‘I’d had enough of spending time on one instrument (classical flute) and practising on my own. When I found out I could do my Master of Music, majoring in conducting, and hang out with people all the time, I decided to start my studies,’ says Mikaela.


The budding conductor enjoyed getting to know her lecturers on a more personal level due to the smaller class sizes. This in turn allowed her to be involved in musical events outside the College. ‘I played in many different ensembles with a variety of instruments including Strathfield Symphony Orchestra under the instruction of Dr Sada Muramatsu.’


Whilst Mikaela focused on classical flute in the Bachelor of Music course, she learned far more than just the skills for a career playing that instrument. ‘I learned music production and live audio skills, how to conduct and how to compose in other styles. I also stage managed and crewed for shows and even acted in a musical!’ Despite some of the difficulties learning these skills at the time, Mikaela is thankful that she persevered and for the opportunities and connections she made at Excelsia. ‘I’m currently writing a musical with a friend from the drama department at Excelsia and conducting and managing various choral and orchestra concerts. I am glad that I didn’t get stuck with a niche skill set, where I could only perform flute. In terms of extending my biblical knowledge, the classes at Excelsia led me to take some subjects at Bible college to continue that learning journey.’


A key highlight for Mikaela was her time in choir. ‘As an instrumentalist, it was great to have a chance to regularly work on singing and in a class with all the year groups together. It also definitely made a difference to my aural skills in terms of harmony,’ she explains. The musician is also thankful for the space offered to be creative and the collaborative time spent working on music showcases with other students. ‘There was a variety of ideas and we enjoyed making music together and trying different styles.’ Mikaela appreciated the adaptability of the showcases which continually morphed to suit the current cohort of students. ‘This flexibility allows students to better display their skill sets’.


Since finishing her Master of Music, Mikaela works with Wollongong Conservatorium Community Orchestra and Bankstown City Choir. Within these groups, Mikaela has enjoyed helping members to improve their musical skills, gain confidence, and put on concerts. On top of this, she teaches choir at a homeschool creative arts group and tutors students privately at home and in schools. She has also started playing violin and practises and performs with Excelsia Chamber Orchestra on Thursday nights! Mikaela is thankful to Excelsia for helping to improve her musicianship. ‘On top of improving my conducting, I learned more about music pedagogy throughout my master’s course which has affected the way I teach both ensembles and private lessons,’ she explains.


If you want to explore a variety of instruments, have the opportunity to join different musical groups and orchestras and gain a variety of skills to set you up for a career in music, why not explore Excelsia College’s Bachelor of Music or Master of Music?

Excelsia College | Mikaela Wu - How studies stretched this budding conductor’s wings

Oz to LA is an elective unit which provides drama students with the opportunity to travel to Los Angeles, California to study at the Los Angeles Performing Arts Conservatory (LAPAC) and learn various acting and filmmaking techniques, as well as the mechanics of the entertainment industry. 
The Oz to LA unit includes attendance and participation in various industry events and activities. These activities typically, though subject to change, include film premieres, industry conferences and Q&As with industry professionals, film studio tours and networking events. Through working with established industry practitioners and attending various conferences and industry activities, students develop film industry contacts and gain valuable insight into the Hollywood film industry. 
Joss Chalmers, an alumnus of Excelsia College and former Bachelor of Dramatic Art student, attests to the unit’s impact on her journey. She emphasises the value of being taught by experienced professionals genuinely invested in the growth of their students, both as artists and individuals. Joss reflects on her time in Hollywood, stating, ‘Studying and training screen acting in Hollywood was a super inspiring experience. 
LAPAC’s acting training prepares artists for delivering emotional truth in film, television, and theatre performance. They focus on teaching key acting techniques that develop the actor’s physical and vocal skills, and teaching skills that prepare actors for auditions and succeeding in the theatre, film and television industries. LAPAC supports actors toward the goal of behaving moment to moment, spontaneously, truthfully, emotionally, and imaginatively all at the same time so that the actor is grounded and prepared to develop character work from a real place. 
LAPAC’s filmmaking training empowers students to effectively express themselves by helping them to discover the personal connection to their work, and to give them the tools necessary to bring that personal expression to life. During the students’ time in LA they will create an original short film with LAPAC tutors guiding them through the various stages of production and teaching expert skills in story development, pre-production planning, designing, camera perspectives, cinematic tools, editing, dramatic finalising, and sound design. 
Oz to LA is a unit for students who are serious about pursuing and developing skills in preparation for an acting or filmmaking vocation. The unit is both a training and a networking opportunity, with exposure to potential employers via real and/or mock auditions, filmmaking experience, seminars, workshops and casting agent critiques.  
Due to the level of maturity required for such a unit, a robust application process is followed which will also help students to develop professionally. Students intending to apply are only accepted into the unit if their audition or portfolio, interview, academic record and other relevant considerations are satisfactory. If you are serious about pursuing a career in dramatic arts then look no further than the Bachelor of Dramatic Art, more information can be found here.

In a landmark decision by the Fair Work Commission (FWC), thousands of aged care workers are set to receive substantial wage increases, marking a significant milestone for the sector. The ruling will see wage boosts of up to nearly 30 percent for these dedicated professionals.

According to Gerard Hayes, president of the Health Services Union (HSU), the wage increases vary based on the role of the worker. Personal carers stand to gain between 18 and 28 per cent, while home care workers could see raises between 15 and 26 per cent. This means some employees could enjoy a salary hike of more than $9 per hour, with personal carers potentially earning $32.52 per hour, up from $23.10.

Hayes hailed the decision as ‘historic’ and ‘life-changing’, noting that it brings aged care wages more in line with those in the public health system. He expressed optimism that the wage increases will attract more workers to the aged care sector, particularly in regional areas, where the demand for skilled professionals is high.

Anglicare, a leading aged care provider, welcomed the decision and urged the federal government to fully fund the wage increases. Kasy Chambers, executive director of Anglicare Australia, emphasised the significance of the decision in recognising the undervalued contributions of aged care workers, particularly women.

‘We are particularly pleased that today’s decision recognises that aged care workers have been underpaid as a female-dominated workforce and recognises the important contribution of care work,’ stated Chambers. The wage increases mark a significant step towards addressing long-standing wage disparities within the sector.

At Excelsia you can study a Graduate Diploma of Aged Care or a Graduate Certificate in Aged Care.

Excelsia College’s Bachelor of Early Childhood Education (Birth to 5 years) program is designed to equip graduates with the essential practical skills needed to seamlessly transition into the industry upon completing their degree.

Throughout the program, placement units are strategically integrated at significant junctures. These placements occur halfway through the first, second, and third years, culminating in a professional experience internship in the fourth year – the pinnacle of the students’ academic journey.

Each placement is carefully curated to focus on a distinct aspect, from child observation and assessment, to social, emotional, and behavioural interventions, and ethics and administrative responsibilities. The final capstone internship combines all acquired skills and knowledge. The program is led by a professional and experienced team dedicated to assisting students in securing placements, ensuring their preparedness, and guiding them through administrative requirements essential for success in the field.

What sets this course apart is the personalised attention provided to students during placements, with frequent visits from Excelsia staff members. Additionally, many students seize meaningful employment opportunities within the sector while pursuing their studies, some even benefiting from paid employment during certain placements. With an extensive network of early childhood services and recruitment organisations, Excelsia strives to match students with placements that align with their individual needs and aspirations. Moreover, Excelsia actively encourages students to explore diverse experiences, broadening their horizons and enhancing their prospects upon graduation.

Participating in the course offers students a wealth of skills and benefits. Placements focusing on ethics and administrative responsibilities deepen students’ understanding of professional conduct and ethical considerations in the field. Additionally, students acquire strategies for managing social, emotional, and behavioural challenges in children, fostering positive learning environments. These experiences not only cultivate professionalism and workplace etiquette but also provide valuable networking opportunities.

Ready to embark on a rewarding journey in early childhood education? Take the first step toward shaping the future of young minds by finding out more here.

After having been a partner in a chartered accounting firm for around 10 years, Andrew Blackwell made the decision to retrain as a teacher in 2009. As he was working full-time, Andrew needed to find an institution which would enable him to complete his Graduate Diploma of Education (Secondary) part-time, completely online, and have faith integrated into the course. ‘I loved the fact that the College was a Christian educational institution, which was ideal given that I was being trained to be a Christian teacher,’ he explains.


Andrew found that studying the Graduate Diploma of Education (Secondary) provided him with a solid foundation in teaching fundamentals, as well as a unique Christian perspective that wouldn’t have been available in a secular institution. After finishing his studies in 2013, the former accountant was well prepared to teach in a Christian setting and took up the role of Year 7 Home Room teacher at Pacific Hills Christian School. Although Andrew’s accounting background and his studies qualified him to teach Business Studies and Commerce, he was surprised to find himself also teaching a lot of Geography.  ‘It was at Pacific Hills that the Christian focus of the course really helped me. I went from the accounting world where being overtly Christian was challenging, to being put in front of a class of students 12–13 years old, where sharing my Christian faith was both encouraged and expected. I was able to apply what I had learned through my studies and to incorporate my Christian faith in the way I prepared lessons and taught students. I discovered how much I loved seeing people develop and grow in their faith,’ he explains.


The path God leads people down can often involve His preparation for something else, and   Andrew’s two years of teaching experience in a Christian school proved to be brilliant missionary training. ‘I was only at Pacific Hills for a short time before my wife and I realised that God had something else planned for us. By mid-2015 we had moved to Bulgaria as missionaries with European Christian Mission, together with our four children.’ Over the past eight years, the couple have worked in an anti-human trafficking ministry, taught in a small missionary school, and walked alongside a Bulgarian couple in a whole-life, discipleship-based community development ministry, seeking transformation of Roma communities. Andrew and his wife are now helping to lead an international church and are involved in leadership and leader development in their mission organisation, European Christian Mission.


‘God has continually equipped us for the work He has called us to, from formal training (like the Graduate Diploma of Education), to negative training (having us sit under poor leadership), which gave us passion for helping to equip leaders to thrive in their leadership. There is no doubt that God used the College as a key part of equipping me for what He had planned for me,’ reflects Andrew.


It has now been almost 10 years since Andrew completed his studies and he is happy to have been part of the College’s history as it celebrates 40 years this year. ‘At the time, the College was well ahead of many other tertiary institutions, especially in relation to online learning. It would have taken COVID-19 in its stride, even back then. As it celebrates its 40th birthday, I am looking forward to hearing about other ways that Excelsia has developed over this time,’ he says.


If you’re considering a career change like Andrew or want to study teaching through a Christian lens, why not look at Excelsia College’s postgraduate education options?



Excelsia college News | From accountant to educator and missionary

Excelsia College offers a dynamic 12-week internship as part of the Bachelor of Management and Entrepreneurship (BME). This initiative allows students to bridge the gap between theoretical understanding and real-world application, thereby equipping them with invaluable experiences and competencies essential for their future careers. 


The internship entails students being placed within reputable organisations, enabling them to immerse themselves in roles that align with their academic pursuits. This hands-on experience serves as a platform for students to not only apply their classroom learning but also acquire relevant workplace skills, knowledge, and competencies. By actively participating in the daily operations of their respective workplaces, students gain profound insights into the dynamics of their chosen field. 


During the internship period, students are tasked with various assignments including developing a placement plan, maintaining journal entries, delivering a presentation, and submitting a final report. These assignments serve as reflective tools, prompting students to evaluate their application of skills, lessons acquired, obstacles encountered, and the strategies implemented to overcome them. 


The benefits of participating in the internship program are multifaceted. Students gain real-world experience, setting a solid foundation for their future careers. Through interactions with professionals in the field and fellow students, interns expand their professional network. The mentorship opportunities afforded to students aim to offer guidance and support, fostering both personal and professional growth. The program allows students to explore various career paths, helping them refine their career goals and reassess their future endeavours. 


Interns emerge from the program equipped with a diverse skill set. Juggling responsibilities within a professional setting hones interns’ time management abilities. Effective collaboration with colleagues and superiors sharpens interns’ interpersonal and communication skills. Receiving and integrating feedback teaches interns how to effectively manage and utilise constructive criticism. As many employers in the market highly value these soft skills, a student gaining these skills during their studies will greatly facilitate their career advancement. 


Excelsia’s BME internship offers a transformative experience, preparing students to thrive in the competitive landscape of the business world. If you’re in need of a course that will empower you to unlock your full potential and embark on a successful career, find out more here. 


World Social Work Day this year takes place on 19 March 2024 and, since its inception in 2007, it has been a celebration that aims to highlight the achievements of social work, to raise the visibility of social services for the future of societies, and to defend social justice and human rights. 

This year’s theme is ‘Buen Vivir: Shared Future for Transformative Change’, emphasising the need for social workers to adopt innovative, community-led approaches that are ‘grounded in indigenous wisdom and harmonious coexistence with nature.’  

This resonates with the contemporary challenges and aspirations of social work around the globe. Our world faces multifaceted crises, ranging from violent conflicts, environmental degradation, to persisting poverty and political disparities. Against this backdrop, social work must evolve and adopt innovative, transformative approaches that are community-led and steeped in indigenous wisdom. Central to this transformative change is the principle of ‘Buen Vivir’, emphasising that true wellbeing is achievable when communities live harmoniously with nature, striving collectively for balanced development. 

This indigenous philosophy underscores the significance of interconnectivity, reciprocity, correspondence, and complementarity in human relationships and our bond with nature. Our goal is to champion this principle, fostering an eco-social world that thrives on inclusion, respect, mutual understanding, and the upholding of human rights. 

Social work operates in a world in crisis which is evidenced by thousands of people who die daily from violent conflict; millions who are displaced because of wars and violence or climate warming and environment destruction; persisting poverty, increasing inequality, and governments who choose ‘competition over collaboration and sovereignty over solidarity’ (International Federation of Social Workers, 2023). 

This theme serves as a timely reminder of the transformative role social workers play in driving positive change and fostering communities that thrive on mutual respect and sustainability, resonating with core social work values. 

Happy World Social Work Day from the Social Work team! 

Launch of global agenda theme 4: ‘buen vivir: shared future for transformative change’. (2023, October 31). International Federation of Social Workers. https://www.ifsw.org/global-agenda-theme-4-buen-vivir-shared-future-for-transformative-change/ 

Excelsia College organised a New Student Harbour Cruise following a two-day orientation at the campus. The cruise featured an array of food, views of Sydney’s most iconic landmarks, opportunities for networking between seniors and new students at Excelsia, and a special guest, Aunty Beryl, a Gamilaraay (Kamilaroi) Elder. A culinary expert in Australian Native Foods, Aunty Beryl is the proprietor of restaurants and catering businesses across Sydney, an early advocate for mentoring top chefs in ‘bush tucker’ cuisine, and a passionate educator and businesswoman. She is also the founder of the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence Job Ready Program and the EORA Project, contributing to the education and housing for First Nations Elders.  
Students and staff were privileged to have Aunty Beryl on board guiding them through an exclusive Aboriginal cultural journey. Through storytelling, she shared the traditional history and custodianship of First Nations peoples, illustrating how ancestral sites served as classrooms, and the reciprocal relationship with the land in hunting, gathering, fishing, and toolmaking for over 60,000 years. Aunty Beryl imparted knowledge on how Indigenous bush foods were used traditionally and later adapted to the modern plate and palate. Aunty Beryl delved into the various tools employed on land for tasks like hunting and gathering, crafting canoes, fishing, creating clothing, and weaving baskets. She also explored their use in caves, where stencil art and sandstone engravings played a crucial role in aiding First Nations peoples to interpret and navigate the site. Aunty Beryl’s sharing attitude stems from her profound dedication to preserving and promoting her First Nations culture, embracing aspects related to the sea, land, food, and community.  
The positive feedback from students reflected their appreciation for Aunty Beryl’s inspiring story and the newfound perspectives gained. The unique experience provided students with valuable insights that extended beyond the cruise, enhancing their studies and research. Students’ comments, such as ‘I enjoyed the privilege of this cruise and hearing about the First Nations people and culture’, and ‘It has helped me understand more about our subjects this semester’, underscore the significance of this integrated learning experience.  
We extend our heartfelt appreciation to Aunty Beryl for her presence at the New Student Harbour Cruise, where she not only presented the Welcome to Country but also shared the rich tapestry of First Nations cultural history.

Financial wellbeing is different to financial wealth. Put simply, financial wellbeing involves the ability to meet everyday expenses, manage debt responsibly, be prepared for unexpected financial challenges, and bounce back from setbacks. It also encompasses the capacity to strategically manage finances to achieve medium and long-term goals. 

Meeting your everyday finances and managing debt responsibly 

Financial wellbeing starts with the ability to cover daily expenses and manage debt in a responsible manner. This involves creating a realistic budget that aligns with your income and expenses. Regularly tracking your spending habits can help identify areas where adjustments can be made to ensure your financial stability. It’s crucial to prioritise essential expenses such as housing, utilities, and groceries while being mindful of discretionary spending. 

Managing debt responsibly is a key component of financial wellbeing. This includes understanding the terms of loans, credit cards, and other financial commitments. Strive to make timely payments and avoid accumulating high-interest debt. If necessary, seek professional advice from your bank to develop a repayment plan that suits your financial situation. 

Being prepared for unexpected financial challenges and being able to bounce back 

Financial shocks and unexpected expenses are inevitable. To enhance financial wellbeing, you should establish an emergency fund. This fund serves as a financial safety net, covering unforeseen expenses like medical emergencies, car repairs, or sudden job loss. Aim to save three to six months’ worth of living expenses in your emergency fund to provide a cushion during challenging times. 
Being able to bounce back requires resilience and adaptability. This may involve developing a contingency plan, exploring additional income streams, or acquiring new skills to enhance employability. Embracing a mindset that anticipates and responds constructively to setbacks is a key component of financial wellbeing. 

Managing your finances to achieve medium and long-term goals 
Financial wellbeing extends beyond day-to-day needs and emergency preparedness. It involves setting and working towards medium and long-term financial goals. This may include saving for a car, home, or a holiday. 


Develop a clear roadmap for your financial future by identifying specific goals, estimating associated costs, and creating a plan to achieve them. Utilise tools like savings accounts, monthly financial charts, and bank statements to effectively monitor your financial situation. Regularly review and adjust your financial plan to accommodate changes in your life circumstances and economic conditions. 
Achieving financial wellbeing involves a holistic approach that encompasses daily financial management, responsible debt practices, emergency preparedness, and a strategic focus on long-term financial goals. By actively addressing each of these aspects, individuals can cultivate a secure and resilient financial foundation for a more prosperous future. 
At Excelsia College, we understand the importance of financial wellbeing in shaping a successful future. Excelsia College has a Student Support team to assist students with their wellbeing, including financial wellbeing. Our commitment goes beyond traditional education we seek to empower our students to thrive in all aspects of life, including their financial health.