I am Javid, an Afghan refugee, currently studying a Bachelor of Vision Science/Master of Optometry at Deakin University. I was born and raised in a refugee camp in Iran. From there, my parents and I fled persecution, and we sought asylum in Australia. Australia is a great multicultural society and you don’t feel isolated. With only basic literacy and numeracy skills, and no English, I enrolled at a secondary school and managed to access around three years of formal education, before getting the scores I needed to get into university. My dream was always to become a medical doctor.
I got to know about Deakin from an information session I attended towards the end of my VCE year (2016). Deakin course advisors and the Scholarship team were the guest speakers at the information session. I consider myself fortunate to have attended the session. I was surprised to learn that Deakin University is committed to giving exceptional experiences to students from all around the world.
Paying International student fees for a tertiary course that I wanted to undertake was out of reach for my family. I had little or no hope of being able to pay these fees and so there was a time that I thought I would not be able to go to university.
The Deakin Scholarship team told me that there are many scholarship offers for not only Australian students but even for Internationals. They advised me to apply for a Deakin Humanitarian Scholarship, and I did. During the application process, I was assisted by the Deakin International Admissions team, the process was quick and easy.
Once I was accepted into the Bachelor of Vision Science/Master of Optometry, and offered a scholarship, I was immensely proud and excited, but also worried as I didn’t have a network of friends or family who lived in the near the Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus (where the course was located). I needn’t have been so concerned. As it turns out, I was offered a lot of support, and everything was very positive for me. On my first day at University, my course advisor greeted me with the following: “Welcome to your university, where you will spend your next best years of your life, here at Deakin”. It made my day!
During orientation week (O-Week) I met many other international students. It was great feeling connected to others who had a similar journey. To add to this, the Peer Mentor program, which enabled me to receive one-one mentorship was invaluable.
My peer mentor made my settlement in university life quick and smooth. He informed me about the bigger picture of university life and helped me to manage study and enjoy my time as a university student. Deakin’s student societies are another great community to be part of it. I got a chance to meet like-minded students from all four corners of the world, get motivated, and set goals for future successes.
Now, as a Deakin student and recipient of the Deakin Humanitarian Scholarship, I feel so proud knowing my study capabilities and goals are catered to by one of the finest Universities in Australia and the world. I was amazed once I realised that Deakin is one of the top ranked Universities in the world. With less than 50 years of establishment, Deakin offers Medicine, Engineering, and as many as 400 additional courses.
As an Optometry student and only halfway through trimester one, I see myself one step closer to my dream of becoming a medical doctor and an Ophthalmic surgeon. My goals are to work and design more affordable intraocular lenses for the disadvantaged people, Indigenous Australians, and for people in developing countries.
Coming from a war-torn country, where the health system is crippled, I am working hard to become a medical doctor in the future. Ultimately I hope to work with an organisation such as Medicins Sans Frontiers (MSF), giving hope to people at risk of blindness and assisting them to access affordable cataract and trachoma treatments. I also want to develop bionic eyes for young children, helping those unfortunate children who have lost vision as the result of land mines and suicide bombs.
I am grateful that my circumstances have not prevented me from studying in my chosen field. I hope that with the assistance of Deakin University and my own determination and hard work, my dream of becoming an Opthalmic Surgeon will become reality.