Meet Katrina, your Student Advocate!
Meet Katrina! Katrina is an Independent Student Advocate at Advocacy and Welfare. Her role provides independent information and support to UNE students with a range of concerns including academic misconduct, behavioural misconduct, withdrawal from a unit, remission of fees, welfare concerns and so much more!
Katrina is currently based in a small town called Jávea in Spain (yup you read that right)! She’s making the most of her work/life balance and working remotely! We had a quick chat with Katrina to find out a little bit about her role at Advocacy & Welfare, how she can support you, and how she ended up working for us in Spain!
Let’s start with a little background on your professional and personal life!
I’ve been a ‘cop’ for most of my career where I was based in Adelaide, South Australia. In this role, I specialised as a police prosecutor which meant appearing in court and laying criminal charges. Adelaide was my home for 50 years and I never wandered far. But in 2020, with my 3 kids all grown up, I moved to Armidale… for love (this is a story for another day). It was a huge change moving from city life to regional life, and to a brand new job too!
What is your role in Advocacy & Welfare?
I’m a Student Advocate at Advocacy & Welfare! My role is to help students with all kinds of personal welfare concerns and to provide support with any issues they may be experiencing with their studies. In my role as a Student Advocate, I use my skills from Policing to help students through the various steps if they have received an academic or behavioral misconduct allegation.
Where is your team based?
Most of our team is based on the UNE campus in Armidale. From time to time, our advocates will work from different locations in Australia. But in my case, I support students from my base in Spain! This is incredibly exciting for me and is also an opportunity to explore location-independent advocacy even further, with an international placement in Jávea, Spain.
What’s it like working remotely, especially in a different country?
We have all of the resources we need for remote work. The trickiest bit so far has been the time difference. My coworkers are getting ready to finish for the day when I am just waking up in the morning. However, this usually gives us enough time to have a handover meeting and get up to speed with what my colleagues have been working on. There are also advantages to a time difference. It means I can pick up where others have left off, and I can call students back outside of office hours. This can sometimes be more convenient for them.
Why did you decide to travel to Spain?
I never took a gap year. For me, life has been focused on working and raising kids – and then working some more. So I’m making up for it now by taking myself on a Spanish adventure! I’m living and working in Jávea, which is a Valencian seaside town about the size of Armidale. It is almost always sunny here, and the town is full of family-run tapas bars. I’m staying in a co-living, co-working community which is basically an instant family for remote workers from all over the world, but mainly in Europe.
What have you enjoyed so far?
Something that I have enjoyed so far is that work is not central to life in Spain. In Australia, we’re constantly striving to achieve a work-life balance, but in Spain, they have this nailed – and then some. I’m starting to call Spain the ‘land of the long lunch’ because socialising with family and friends is very much the focus of their culture. Lunch or ‘Comida’ is the main meal of the day, and between 2 pm and 5 pm, you will see local people eating, drinking, and laughing. I have a great deal of admiration for the Spanish and for their capacity to have fun. The Spanish laugh loud, and often!
Thank you Katrina for your insight into your role as a student advocate. It sounds like you’re having an incredible time working and traveling in Spain! It certainly shows how we can have the best of both worlds with travel and work!
You are never alone at UNE.
The team at Advocacy and Welfare are your independent Advocates, they’re always available to help you through any study or personal issues.