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Student Stories

Benn

Avalon College

Geelong is a suburb that is advanced in education area. There are also several excellent high school which located in Geelong. The teachers are professional and experienced. The school also has cultural history. Take Geelong Grammar School as an example. The school is successful and helps hundreds of international students get a satisfied grade in VCE and IB.

The schools at Geelong also had a good communication with the international student’s family. It also builds up a co-operative system in helping us, which was effective and significant to protect our safety and personal rights.

I first heard about Geelong when I decided to further my study in Australia. An online agency strongly suggested that I could come to Geelong to study. The advantage of the education at Geelong sounds exactly like what I expected. Thus, I came here to further my study.

One reason that pushes me to come to Australia for study is that compares with China, the education at Australia is more suitable to me. From where I'm, standing, we need passion and effort to enhance ourselves. That's why I chose Geelong.

Benn

Avalon College

Geelong is a suburb that is advanced in education area. There are also several excellent high school which located in Geelong. The teachers are professional and experienced. The school also has cultural...

Yvonne

Avalon College

Geelong is a peaceful and picturesque place. There’s vivid blue seas, bright meadows and clean air. You can also see beautiful stars up in the sky at night. The environment here is magnificent and spectacular. Every international student will absolutely enjoy life studying in Geelong.

There are a number of grad schools to choose from; such as Geelong Grammar School and Geelong College. I believe that international students can benefit from the education provided in these schools and graduate as remarkable people.

There are many shopping centres and restaurants in Geelong. International students will find it easy to shop for what they need and look for food that they like. Life is extremely relaxing and enjoyable here.

I would recommend Geelong to future international students.

Yvonne

Avalon College

Geelong is a peaceful and picturesque place. There’s vivid blue seas, bright meadows and clean air. You can also see beautiful stars up in the sky at night. The environment here is magnificent and...

Bo Li

The Gordon

“I chose to study at The Gordon as they have an excellent reputation, with a lot of great chefs who have graduated and now own their own restaurants.

All the teachers are professional and experienced and they make the training interesting and memorable. I have not only learned how to cook a great meal, but also learned how to be a team player. After studying with my classmates all year, we have become like a family. We study from each other, help each other, and have a lot of fun. As an international student I was always shy to speak out, but in the cookery industry you have to communicate with others and my English has improved dramatically. I’ve not only learnt English, but also some specialised words in French, Italian, Japanese and others.

I am now working in a local restaurant and continuing my studies at Certificate IV level to gain more knowledge and experience. I hope to own my own small restaurant one day. ”

Bo Li (Allen)
Certificate III in Commercial Cookery
Recipient of 2016 The Gordon International Student of the Year Award

Bo Li

The Gordon

“I chose to study at The Gordon as they have an excellent reputation, with a lot of great chefs who have graduated and now own their own...

Aditep

Deakin University

Being born into a poor farming family and growing up in a rural area in southern Thailand, I never thought I would have an opportunity to travel abroad. Before I heard of AusAid, the fully-funded scholarships by the Australian Government for students from regional Thailand during the mid-1990s, my dream about the future was never anything bigger than having an ordinary job in my small hometown after getting a bachelor’s degree from a local university.

I applied for an AusAID scholarship as soon as I was informed of the opportunity. I went through all the screening tests and all the required application processes, and was finally awarded a fully-funded scholarship to study an undergraduate course at an Australian university.


With my Australian host family

Receiving an AusAid scholarship was just the beginning of my life-changing journey. My first few years as a foreign student was not as smooth as expected. I struggled a lot with both the different culture and the English language. As a result, my academic performance at my first university in Australia was less than satisfactory, and I was very nervous that I might have to come back to Thailand empty-handed.


With new friends in Melbourne CBD

However, I was very fortunate to be given another opportunity to study in Australia. This time, studying a bachelor’s degree at Deakin University. I finally found subjects of my true interest and I am forever grateful for that second opportunity. With lessons learnt from my previous course at the first university, I realised that I would have to do my absolute best at Deakin, not only for myself and my family, but also for my kind sponsor who did not give up on me.



Working on a final-year project

The course structures at Deakin are very well organised. The unit guidelines helped me tremendously, to plan my study throughout the semesters. My attention was focused on studying and I devoted my time to attending lectures, working on the assignments and projects well ahead of the due dates. My efforts were not in vain. My academic results at Deakin were satisfactory and I managed to graduate with a bachelor’s degree within the timeframe allowed by the AusAid programme.

My degree equipped me with a very strong academic foundation in the technology field. All the assignments from my degree undoubtedly enhanced my analytical skills because some assignments involved long, complex and intricate calculations, as well as applications of theories in real-world practice. Participating in many extracurricular activities during my years at Deakin has also improved my self-esteem and self-confidence.

Participating in many extracurricular activities during my years at Deakin has also improved my self-esteem and self-confidence.


At the Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus

After graduating from Deakin, I joined the Thai Customs department when Bangkok’s new international airport, Suvarnabhumi Airport, was opened almost 10 years ago. I passed the screening tests and became a new customs officer – one of the few chosen applicants out of over 100,000 people applicants at that time.

As a customs officer, my main duties include inspecting imported cargos. Inspecting a variety of products imported into the country is a very challenging task, however, the skills I learnt at Deakin has helped me to understand and examine the products effectively. The lessons I’ve learnt from my studies at Deakin and my experience living in Australia has definitely helped with my career.

The lessons I’ve learnt from my studies at Deakin and my experience living in Australia has definitely helped with my career.


At Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport

Customer service skills is also very important in my job because we serve a lot of customers from different nationalities each day. Having spent a few years with international friends at Deakin, it has become my nature to be friendly and to approach people with an open mind. My English skills have also been a very important factor for my good performance and continuous career growth as a customs officer at a big international airport.


On duty as a customs officer

With my bachelor’s degree from Deakin, together with my good performances at work, I have received a great opportunity for postgraduate studies overseas. I have been awarded another fully-funded scholarship from the Thai Customs department to take a master’s degree in the field of operations research, which is essential in promoting improved operations and services provided at the Customs department. I have confirmed my enrolment at a university in the UK, where I will go for my master’s degree next year. Without my bachelor’s degree, my experiences living in such diverse cultural settings, and all the lessons learnt during my years at Deakin and Australia, I wouldn’t have this day.

Aditep

Deakin University

Being born into a poor farming family and growing up in a rural area in southern Thailand, I never thought I would have an opportunity to travel abroad. Before I heard of AusAid, the fully-funded...

Hannah

Avalon College

I have been to study in Australia since September 2016, everything here is perfect. I have a great school. I made a lot of good friends from different countries such as China, Japan, Korea, and Thailand. They are all very kind and friendly.

There are so many fun things that I can do in Geelong. There are lots of shopping centers in Geelong. I can buy anything I want. I also can eat a lot of types of food, it's extremely easy to find. The location is pretty lovely, the fresh air, the weather. My school is next to Avalon Beach so I feel very relax and peaceful.

The best thing I like about Geelong is Geelong has a lot of good schools such as Geelong Grammar and Kardinia. They are all intensely popular with a wonderful education. I believe that foreign students really want to get into one of these schools to study.

I also think everybody will fall in love with Geelong like I did.

Hannah

Avalon College

I have been to study in Australia since September 2016, everything here is perfect. I have a great school. I made a lot of good friends from different countries such as China, Japan, Korea, and Thailand....

Marjetka

The Gordon

“I chose The Gordon because I wanted to study Diploma of Community Services Work and it is the only place in Geelong that is accredited by ACWA (Australian Community Workers Association). I love being a student at The Gordon! We have very passionate, skilled and experienced teachers who challenge and empower us at the same time – to learn more, to research, and to build up our strengths and skills to become better workers.

I am not working in the field yet, but I am sure I will be well prepared for employment. Being an international student in the class with Australians is definitely a very good experience! I have got the opportunity to improve my English skills, to get insight into Aussie slang and to find out more about the Australian lifestyle, customs and culture. I wouldn’t want it any other way! ”

Marjetka Gojkosek
Diploma of Community Services

Marjetka

The Gordon

“I chose The Gordon because I wanted to study Diploma of Community Services Work and it is the only place in Geelong that is accredited by ACWA...

Mayuka

Deakin University

Back in 2013, I was faced with the task of choosing a suitable university for my undergraduate studies. I heard about Deakin University through the pathway program offered at the Royal Institute Colombo and I decided to study at Deakin because it is one of the most well-known and reputable universities in Australia. Deakin University is also known for its engineering courses and facilities, which persuaded me to embark on this adventure. As part of the pathway program, I completed the first two years of my degree at the Royal Institute. Then I transferred to Deakin in 2015 for my final years, undertaking a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (Honours) at the Geelong Waurn Ponds campus.

From childhood, I always had a passion for engineering. After high school, I tried taking a different path by doing an internship at a bank, but the experience was uninspiring and pushed me further towards engineering. The experience I have gained by joining Deakin as an engineering student is inexpressible. Deakin’s cutting edge technologies, featuring the most current and advanced lab equipment in the engineering department caught me by surprise from the very beginning.

Deakin’s cutting edge technologies, featuring the most current and advanced lab equipment in the engineering department caught me by surprise from the very beginning.


Testing the stress factor of a bridge at the lab

When I moved to Australia, I was having second thoughts about living all alone in Geelong, where my Deakin University campus is based. I lost my father when I was three years old, and was raised by my mother for 20 years along with my sister. But after arriving, I found Geelong and Australia to be very welcoming and started embracing my life here.


Road trip with friends to Torquay beach

I was rather nervous during the orientation week at Deakin, but the people I met during orientation made me feel like I was no longer away from home. Studying at Deakin has been an invaluable experience, and it has taught me how to develop my thinking and to take everything into consideration. One of the things I admire most about Deakin is that I can listen to my lectures online through CloudDeakin. All of the lectures are recorded and available to be used through CloudDeakin which is helpful if I ever fall behind.

Studying at Deakin has been an invaluable experience, and it has taught me how to develop my thinking and to take everything into consideration Another thing I love about Deakin is the number of events that happen on campus, and the number of student societies you can join. Deakin holds a Twilight Festival every year which lights up the night sky with fireworks – it was mind blowing!


At the Deakin Twilight Festival

I also joined the Deakin Sri Lankan Students Society which made me feel more at home, introducing me to new people with different personalities. The events that the Deakin Sri Lankan Student Society organised over the past few months were spectacular. And obviously being a Sri Lankan makes you fall in love with the game of cricket, so I joined the Deakin Waurn Ponds Cricket Club and played in the first’s team.


Deakin Kottu Night organised by the Deakin Sri Lankan Society

During a practice session with the Eagles During a practice session with the Eagles

My journey abroad has been both overwhelming and inspiring and my experience in Australia has taught me so much. It has taught me to open my eyes to various opportunities, and how to adapt to new relationships and acquaintances abroad. Wandering out of my ordinary range of knowledge has taught me that life may not generally go as planned but one thing for certain is that we will positively wind up where we are intended to be, and if life is a story, why not make it an experience worth telling.

Mayuka

Deakin University

Back in 2013, I was faced with the task of choosing a suitable university for my undergraduate studies. I heard about Deakin University through the pathway program offered at the Royal Institute Colombo...

Tanya

Deakin University

There are several things I love to talk about in life: family, food and Australia. A year and a half ago I decided to depart on the adventure of a lifetime and so I packed up and moved from the small town of Otterburne, Manitoba, Canada to Geelong, Australia. In my mind I had decided that if I was going to go anywhere, I wasn’t going to go just half way across the world, but rather, all the way! So now I am a second year medical student at Deakin University and I have completely fallen in love with Australia.

To be honest, I had always been a homebody; however, after living in a small town for most of my life, I decided to see what else was out there. I had always wanted to become a doctor and I decided to mix my passion for medicine with my newly discovered passion for travel.


At the Deakin University Waurn Ponds Campus

After many hours researching on the internet and filling out what seemed to be a million applications to different universities in Australia, I was accepted into the Deakin School of Medicine’s Bachelor of Medicine Bachelor of Surgery degree. To be honest, there may have been some screaming and jumping on my bed when I found out. For me, going to Deakin University just made sense. The staff at Deakin that helped me with my application process were so helpful and supportive. I loved that the Deakin School of Medicine was rurally focused and put a lot of effort into recruiting students from a variety of academic backgrounds, cultures and countries.

"For me, going to Deakin University just made sense. The staff at Deakin that helped me with my application process were so helpful and supportive."


Some beautiful views at my campus

So several months, a costly ticket, and one very large suitcase later, I was off to Australia! Coming to Australia has been the most amazing and terrifying experience of my life. I did not know a single person, so it was a big adjustment getting settled. However, it took very little time for me to make new friends. Australians are such welcoming people and everyone that I met helped me feel at home.

Australians are such welcoming people and everyone that I met helped me feel at home. The best part of living and studying in Australia is the weather and the beaches. Coming from the middle of Canada, where there is no ocean and it’s horribly snowy and cold for 5 months of the year, it still amazes me that I can just go to the beach and walk in the ocean at any time of the year.


The surf coast just past Torquay

When I’m not studying, there are so many things to do, whether that be going to the surf coast, exploring nature, going into Geelong or Melbourne. There are so many good cafés and restaurants in Melbourne, and there is an amazing Canada Day celebration every 1st of July! It’s also so easy to travel within Australia and I have visited both Tasmania and Perth so far.


Vineyards along the Tamar River, just outside Launceston, Tasmania


Watching the sun disappear into the ocean at the iconic Cottesloe Beach in Perth, Western Australia

I still have 2.5 years left in Australia, and while there are days that I miss home, I have never regretted my decision. The experiences I have had studying at Deakin and living in Australia are some of the best I have ever had. I cannot wait to see what the rest of my time at Deakin has in store for me!

Tanya

Deakin University

There are several things I love to talk about in life: family, food and Australia. A year and a half ago I decided to depart on the adventure of a lifetime and so I packed up and moved from the small town...

Rick

Avalon College

Before coming to Geelong, I wished I knew some good places; like restaurants, parks and the cinemas - because I can go to these places to have fun during the weekends. Secondly, I wish that I knew the beautiful buildings I can take photos of.

Furthermore, I need to adjust to life and study in Australia. I should change my daily timetable, I should sleep earlier than before, and I should do more exercises to keep healthy.

The most important is about study. I should pay more attention on how to study effectively and I should improve on my English skill since that was the essential thing in a foreign country, and I should make friends with local people and get more information about the Australian culture.

Last but not least, this is a tip for newly arrived international students - you should try to learn the Australian culture to get along with local people.

Rick

Avalon College

Before coming to Geelong, I wished I knew some good places; like restaurants, parks and the cinemas - because I can go to these places to have fun during the weekends. Secondly, I wish that I knew the...

Yakubu

The Gordon

“I am happy I made the Gordon Institute of TAFE my study destination; I could not have had it any better. Being a TAFE, I felt the practical approach and real experience would help me further my studies and career path.

The teachers are a great asset. The amount of care and attention they provide exceeds expectations. I go to class every morning knowing that I have their full backing and support. Lessons are broken down into very simple and concise parts, our nursing labs are fully equipped with state of the art tools and our lesson plans are set up to match the current needs of the workforce.

The students are very welcoming and ready to interact. I have made friends who have become family. The multicultural environment made settling in a lot easier. Finding my way around during the first few weeks of admission was no problem because staff are always ready to direct you to your destination.”

Yakubu Daffi
Diploma of Nursing (Enrolled-Division 2 nursing)

Yakubu

The Gordon

“I am happy I made the Gordon Institute of TAFE my study destination; I could not have had it any better. Being a TAFE, I felt the practical...

Amber

Deakin University

G'day Mates!! I’m Amber Robillard from Canada. As I am writing this it has been exactly one year since I boarded the plane headed for Australia. It doesn’t seem possible that everything I have done could be packed into just one year!

In the winter of 2013, my partner Barb and I started discussing the possibility of living somewhere warmer year-round. Australia was on the top of the list, but seemed very far away, however, the more we talked about it, the more appealing it became. What an adventure! Ayers Rock, the Australian outback, living by the water’s edge, surfing! Barb had always thought about living here and I had always wanted to visit. To be truthful, although I love to travel, I had never considered living long-term anywhere other than Canada.

I have always worked in and around the construction industry, having completed a Certificate of Construction Management. I wanted to further my education with a Bachelor of Construction Management (Honours) degree. The prospect of living and studying in Australia was very exciting. We began making plans. I had quite a few names on my list, but in the end I only applied to three universities, with Deakin as my first choice. It seemed to be the most progressive university, making its way up the list of various university rankings and the accelerated study opportunities were appealing. I boarded the plane in Ottawa, Canada on 27 June and landed in Melbourne on 29 June. With delays, customs, running for gates, many movies and a trip across the International Date Line, my travel time totalled 31 hours. A long way from home, although it was made easier thanks to Skype!

I only applied to three universities, with Deakin as my first choice. It seemed to be the most progressive university, making its way up the list of various university rankings and the accelerated study opportunities were appealing.


At the Geelong Waterfront Campus Library

My first trimester at Deakin was both challenging and rewarding. As a mature student returning to study, I hadn’t written a report or an essay in almost 20 years; however, professors and other students are readily available on online discussion boards. Recognising that starting in trimester 2 may introduce some unique challenges, Deakin staff and student volunteers held a tea meet-and-greet, for further support and chit-chat. After settling in, I continued my studies in trimester 3 where I chose to study one unit on-campus and two units wholly online. As it turns out, not having a full unit load right off the bat worked to my advantage. It allowed me the time to adjust to my surroundings and negotiate studying again. Trimester 1 of my second year proved that a fourth unit really tips the barrel. Deadlines become tighter and spare moments fewer. My time-off is saved mostly for school breaks and planned adventures.

Geelong is a great city for things to do, a short trip to Melbourne and down the coast from many adventures. Eastern Park, the Botanic Gardens, the Barwon River trails, Pako (Pakington) Street and the downtown core are all places we love and frequent. We have enjoyed the Night Jar Festival on Friday nights in February and hiked along the Great Ocean Trail during our trip to Anglesea, where we saw kangaroos for the first time. We have also biked the Bellarine Rail Trail to Queenscliff, with a side trip to Point Lonsdale. We love these little surfer towns, with the blue sky, surf and sandy beaches as the backdrop. 42 degree weather for Christmas is also a good thing, as is a feast of seafood!


Hitting the road on my bike

In March we bought a little car and set out for the Twelve Apostles. My first time driving in Australia was made all the more adventurous thanks to the narrow, twisty Great Ocean Road! Over Easter we ventured to Bells Beach to take in the Rip Curl Pro tournament and caught some great photos of professional surfers Mick Fanning and Jordie Smith during their free surf. We have since watched every event online and have become avid surfer wannabes, although stand-up paddle boarding may be more our speed.


At the Twelve Apostles by the Great Ocean Road

With all this talk of travel and adventure, it seems I have had no time for uni! But thank goodness for the breaks! The breaks represent a chance to step back, have a real look at the amount of work and learning that has been packed into eleven weeks and not worry for almost a month about deadlines and presentations. Deakin also understands how important a break is and hosts events throughout the school year, offering students a ‘breather’. Most recently, Deakin’s international students were treated to a day at Simonds Stadium to meet some of the Geelong Cats (a popular Australian rules football team), tour the stadium and run through some typical footy training exercises. This was topped off with a free ticket to the Cats’ exciting winning game against the GWS Giants, where I was given a scarf to fly the colours in support.

Studying overseas for four years seems like a long time at the starting line, but I am already halfway through my second year and the bachelor’s degree at the other end is getting closer with each submitted assignment. I have enjoyed every day in Australia, and as much as I look forward to the breaks, I also look forward to heading back to class and keeping the momentum going.

Amber

Deakin University

G'day Mates!! I’m Amber Robillard from Canada. As I am writing this it has been exactly one year since I boarded the plane headed for Australia. It doesn’t seem possible that everything I have done...

Tej

Deakin University

Undertaking the Bachelor of Design (Architecture) course has been a dream come true as I always aspired to becoming a designer and an architect. Being enrolled in 2015 at the prestigious, world renowned Deakin University has been a stepping stone in directing my endeavours as a future professional into successfully delivering sustainable, durable and innovative solutions centred towards the demands of society. Reaching the Deakin Geelong Waterfront Campus as a novice student, I was nervous about finding my way to the lecture hall but was helped by a polite student representative who was very kind to guide me to the respective lecture hall. This was a wonderful start of an amazing journey and this enriching experience shall forever remain cherished in my mind and definitely helped me shape my bearings towards achieving a successful career in architecture.

“Deakin inspires creativity, innovation through technology and most importantly, helps us to become who we truly want to be.”

The well-disposed, benevolent teaching and non-teaching staff have really assisted me throughout the course as their approach has been a very considerate and good-hearted one with supportive tutors, friends and teammates all along the way. With the pioneering of new software and new technology, Deakin has pushed us to define new boundaries, new thresholds in all of the fields of study as well as in the industry, proved by its well-settled and powerful alumni and excellent teachers. Printing a three dimensional maquette or modelling an existing block of the city and assessing its performance are some of the everyday happenings at the hustling and bustling A+B Architecture studio. With those assets at hand, the possibilities are infinite and Deakin has effectively given us a glimpse of this brand-new world we are designing for.


Deakin Waterfront Campus in Geelong

The unit ‘Building Environmental Studies’ has been very exciting for me in regards to learning and self-development skills. The charismatic character of this exemplary unit did quench our underlying curiosity of finding new ways of building and engineering the right methods of calculation, whilst keeping in mind the long-term results performed by this well-thought out and orchestrated new design. I look forward to having further opportunities to engage this newly acquired knowledge into my other designs and set this as a principle to follow as a future architect.

“This enriching experience shall forever remain cherished in my mind and will definitely help me shape my bearings towards achieving a successful career in architecture.”

Tej

Deakin University

Undertaking the Bachelor of Design (Architecture) course has been a dream come true as I always aspired to becoming a designer and an architect. Being enrolled in 2015 at the prestigious, world renowned...

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