"[Sometimes people can look down on you [when you study arts]," former Karen refugee, Naw Paw Law Eh Htoo Thachaw said, "When I said to my parents that I will do art, they did not seem like they wanted to support me."
When it comes to higher education, especially Asian parents including Myanmar, wants their children to study medicine, engineering, accounting or business degrees. They do not favor the idea of their children studying arts.
Now, the 21 years-old Paw Law Eh shares her experiences of studying a degree in arts. When she told her parents that she will study arts they did not like it because most of her siblings were studying in the medical field, including nurse courses.
"[They thought that] If you study arts you do not have a job after you graduate," she said, "It is hard and not easy to find or get a job."
Paw Law Eh graduated in Bachelor of Arts (Fine Art) at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University in 2018, specializing in ceramics.
Higher education taught her not only the relevant university subjects but she also learned about solving problems and the difficulties that come with life and growing up. Through these hurdles, she understands the value of time and money, and how to manage them.
"Because you have to pay thousands of dollars for a subject and if you failed you have to pay again," she said.
The former refugee arrived in Australia in 2006 from Umpiem Mai Refugee Camp in Thailand together with her family when she was 8 years old. She completed her primary education in Yarraville and completed her high school at Gilmore College for Girl in Footscray.
Paw Law Eh is now waiting to continue her study for Master of Arts and Cultural Management at Melbourne University in October.
She encourages other youth who are interested in arts to do arts. Nowadays, there are lots of opportunities and it is much easier to get a job in the field of arts.
"For students who love arts, you don't have to think about money. If you are interested in it, just go for it. People have different talents. Not everyone has to be a nurse."
Paw Law Eh also thanks her family for letting her do what she loves.
"I want to thank my mum and dad for always supporting me. Even though they did not like it at first but later they accepted me. I would like to give a special thanks to my father who always dropped and picked me up at the train station, sometimes at midnight."
For more information of Paw Law Eh Htoo Thachaw artworks: https://pawlawthachaw.com.