- After finishing his first accounting role with EY in 2014, Ethan Cheow CA ended up operating a backpackers hostel.
- Throughout his career, Cheow has explored his love for travel, from Singapore, to India and Papua New Guinea.
- After taking extended leave to trek through Central Asia, Cheow is back at EY Melbourne full-time.
By Ethan Cheow CA
2011 was the year that changed the course of my life. Completing an exchange semester in Vienna University of Economics and Business sparked my wanderlust and changed my perspective. It led to me daring to experiment with different options.
I graduated from Singapore Management University with a double degree – a Bachelor of Accounting and Science (Economics). I then embarked on a graduation trip around Indonesia and the US. I hiked up my very first mountain, Mount Merapi [in Java]. It was an active volcano, to boot!
I landed my first professional job as an accountant at EY Singapore. I enjoyed the company of the many graduates within my department. We bonded with laughter and tears, lent each other professional support, and took part in fun activities, including the Electric Run.
In 2014, I left EY Singapore. After a six-week stint travelling around Australia and New Zealand, I expected to return to Singapore and another professional role. Instead, I found myself operating a backpackers hostel, Royal Hostel, with one of my friends.
I sold off my stake in Royal Hostel in Singapore and decided to make the move to Melbourne, a city I was particularly fond of during my travels. I rejoined EY in Melbourne, travelled across every state and territory in Australia, and discovered a love of running – even participating in a half marathon in Canberra with colleagues.
In March 2019, I became a full member of CA ANZ. I volunteered with Accounting for International Development (AfiD) for an assignment with Essmart, a social enterprise in Bangalore. We created a management reporting template and made control improvement recommendations. I gained an insight into India’s vibrant culture interacting with the staff and local distributors.
After volunteering with Essmart, I extended my leave with EY Melbourne by a further two months to do an off-the-beaten-track travel to “the Stans” in Central Asia. I shared a drive through the remote Pamir Highway. We bonded over chai with the locals at the homestays, looked across the Panj River to Afghanistan, and played dress-up as well.
Earlier this year I returned to Melbourne and back to my role with EY. I’ve continued to travel – both for myself and for work – even finding myself in Papua New Guinea (pre COVID) for an audit engagement.
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