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Student Stories

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...

Madihah

Deakin University

Hi everyone, I’m Madihah Husna Mohammad. I came from Malaysia and I am pursuing a Master of Architecture at Deakin University. Before Australia became my second home, I worked in Malaysia with my degree in Architecture from International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM). I had heard a lot about Deakin at that time, as it is a great choice for students who want to pursue study in architecture. When I first came here, everything was far more fun than I expected!

Remembering the experience of when I first stepped onto the land of Australia was that I was full of excitement. I can still clearly remember when I was picked up by a Deakin staff member from Melbourne Airport and he showed me around Geelong city. My first impression about the city and the country was that it was absolutely enthralling. It is a clean city, and has a great view of the waterfront. I also had opportunities to explore all the beautiful scenery here in Melbourne.

Being an international student, I have found no difficulties in making new friends and adapting to the culture. I feel no alienation here and it overwhelmed me because being a Muslim, and wearing a ‘hijab’ wrapped around my head, this foreign environment actually welcomed me. In fact, with a smaller number of Muslim students here, it surprised me to find out that the university actually had proper prayer rooms and there are even taps provided for us to take our ablutions.

Being an international student, I have found no difficulties in making new friends and adapting to the culture. Living my life here in Deakin, I have found that the people are very helpful and always support the students, particularly the staff, lecturers, and my classmates. When I had difficulties in my life, the International Student Advisers helped me a lot. Whenever I have problems in my assignment writing, I sought help from a study support consultant and the writing mentors at the library. The lecturers are always friendly and they would always greet me enthusiastically whenever I was in the school. My new friends here also made me enjoy my time at Deakin. The language barrier is not a problem.

Since stepping off the plane last year, I’ve learned that all my initial fears and worries were unnecessary. Being an international student in a hijab has not deprived me, because living and studying at Deakin University is very multicultural and it is a welcoming society indeed!

Madihah

Deakin University

Hi everyone, I’m Madihah Husna Mohammad. I came from Malaysia and I am pursuing a Master of Architecture at Deakin University. Before Australia became my second home, I worked in Malaysia with my degree...

Balaji

Deakin University

Balaji is studying a Doctor of Philosophy at Deakin University, Geelong and has a Masters in Engineering in Industrial Metallurgy. He was awarded a full Postgraduate Research Scholarship at Deakin and has been nominated for two of the university’s Institute for Frontier Materials (IFM) annual awards. He has also been a finalist at the international youth science event and the British Council’s ‘FameLab’. At Deakin, he is an academic mentor, as well as an International Orientation Coordinator supporting new international students. Balaji also engages in community roles including in the ‘Good Start Breakfast Club’ for the Australian Red Cross, and as a learning support volunteer with EdConnect Australia.

Balaji

Deakin University

Balaji is studying a Doctor of Philosophy at Deakin University, Geelong and has a Masters in Engineering in Industrial Metallurgy. He was awarded a full Postgraduate Research Scholarship at Deakin and has...

Jennifer Pullinger

The Gordon Institute of TAFE

Studying at The Gordon was fantastic, the teachers were great and so helpful and also made learning fun. Mixing with Australian students was a great way to make life-long friends who were interested in the same things as me.

The Gordon has fully prepared me for employment. We not only learnt the vital massage skills but also business skills that have become essential for me as I have started up my own business in Victoria's Western District. Without the key business components that The Gordon offered this would not have been possible for me, so I thank them greatly.

Jennifer Pullinger

The Gordon Institute of TAFE

Studying at The Gordon was fantastic, the teachers were great and so helpful and also made learning fun. Mixing with Australian students was a great way to make life-long friends who were interested in...

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...

Kim

Deakin University

Five years ago I could never have guessed or hoped to be where I am today: here, in Australia, studying for a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy – Environmental Science) within a prestigious and flourishing research group. I began my journey to Deakin University by undertaking a master’s degree by research at the University of Central Lancashire, where I developed a passion for analytical chemistry. I loved that I could begin to understand and explore the world around me using techniques that were at my disposal. A few months into my master’s degree, I received an email from my supervisor asking me if I had any interest in moving abroad for a PhD. I almost dismissed the email, surely I wouldn’t be lucky enough to get on any PhD, let alone move abroad!

A short few weeks later, I had a meeting with Dr Xavier Conlan from Deakin, who had stopped by for a fleeting visit after a conference in Europe. Xavier recommended applying for a PhD at Deakin with Professor Stephen Haswell, who had a PhD opportunity developing Lab-on-a-Chip devices within the Centre for Regional and Rural Futures. A day after having a successful viva examination for my master’s degree, I had the interview for my PhD. Little did I know, less than three months later, I’d be making the move to Australia.

The day I found out I had been awarded the scholarship and accepted onto the PhD, I felt every single emotion you could imagine. Panic at the thought of taking on this huge new venture alone, excitement and anticipation to see what the future held, and finally sadness at leaving behind friends and family.

I arrived, totally out of my depth, studying an area of research I had no experience in. My PhD project involves the development of a Lab-on-a-Chip device – basically a miniaturised diagnostic device – for the detection of performance enhancing drugs in thoroughbred race horses, which requires different aspects of engineering, chemistry, biochemistry and physics. I relish the challenge of building these devices and see a bright future for Deakin University with the miniaturisation of complex diagnostic techniques into these portable devices.

On the 22 February 2015, I boarded the plane and made the move Down Under. The sayings took a little adapting to… apparently responding to everyone with, ‘Oh, very well thank you and yourself?’ is not exactly what is required when asked, ‘How ya going?’. Everything here was new and exciting: waterfalls, the Great Ocean Road, wineries, forests, trying to figure out what a snag was (not a thread on your jumper apparently!), etc.

When I arrived at Deakin, I truly felt at home. I was welcomed not just by a support network as a student, but as a friend into a tight knit community with open arms. I haven’t looked back since.

Kim

Deakin University

Five years ago I could never have guessed or hoped to be where I am today: here, in Australia, studying for a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy – Environmental Science) within a prestigious and flourishing...

Vitor

The Gordon Institute of TAFE

I choose to study at The Gordon after a few recommendations. Studying the Diploma of Building and Construction, and the Diploma of Building Surveyor was a hard journey because I had to manage my time between the two courses, a part-time job and my lovely family. Now having finished and received my marks, the results are better than I could imagine.

The courses were well prepared and all the teachers ready to give the support students needed. The two years adequately prepared me for any work in the construction industry.

My time at The Gordon enabled me to further develop interpersonal and leadership skills, which has helped me in many aspects of my life. I feel very lucky to have been able to form some very close friendships through the course. Everyone had different skills and experiences to contribute, which was a great benefit. I feel grateful.

Vitor

The Gordon Institute of TAFE

I choose to study at The Gordon after a few recommendations. Studying the Diploma of Building and Construction, and the Diploma of Building Surveyor was a hard journey because I had to manage my time...

Marjetka Gojkosek

The Gordon Institute of TAFE

I still study at The Gordon, I chose it because I wanted to study Diploma of Community Services Work in the place that is accredited by ACWA (Australian Community Workers Association) and The Gordon was (still is) the only one in Geelong which could provide it.
I love being a student at The Gordon, simply because we have very passionate, skilled and very experienced teachers, who teach us the most important things about the welfare work, values and beliefs.

It is good to be part of a team, who also teaches you what is important in life, how to see from another perspective, how to critically think about things around us and be actively involved in the world. I am not working in that field yet, but I am sure I will be well prepared for employment after I finish my study. We are learning things that are relevant to welfare work and we are challenged and empowered at the same time - to learn more, to research, to be open to discover further and to build up our strengths and skills to become better workers.

Being the only international student in the class of 25 Australians is definitely a very good experience, especially because I have got the opportunity to improve my English skills, to get insight into Aussie slang and to find out more about Australian lifestyle, customs, habits, culture.

I wouldn't want it any other way!

Marjetka Gojkosek

The Gordon Institute of TAFE

I still study at The Gordon, I chose it because I wanted to study Diploma of Community Services Work in the place that is accredited by ACWA (Australian Community Workers Association) and The Gordon was...

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...

Javid

Deakin University

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.

Javid

Deakin University

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...

Julie Rollup

The Gordon Institute of TAFE

I chose to study at The Gordon because I had friends that told me a lot of good things about it. Apart from all the studying (ha ha) I really enjoy it. The teachers are just great. In Germany I never had teachers that cared for me so much.

I think it’s great that The Gordon offers free student services. I saw a counsellor when I started the course and that was fantastic. I would recommend students seek help if they need some advice or just someone to listen. The library is also fantastic! The guys there help you out and I love that it’s not a quiet place - you can eat there, talk with fellow students and work on projects.

The course has helped me find my strengths and weaknesses and with the help of my teachers, to figure out what direction I want to head

Julie Rollup

The Gordon Institute of TAFE

I chose to study at The Gordon because I had friends that told me a lot of good things about it. Apart from all the studying (ha ha) I really enjoy it. The teachers are just great. In Germany I never had...

Yakubu Daffi

The Gordon Institute of TAFE

The Gordon Institute of TAFE was a study destination that I decided on hesitantly. Being a TAFE, I felt the practical approach and real experience would help me further my studies and career path.

The Gordon has surpassed all expectations.
At this stage, I can look back on that decision and confidently say I have no regrets whatsoever.

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 setup to match the current needs of the work force.

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.

I am happy I made The Gordon my study destination; I could not have had it any better.

Yakubu Daffi

The Gordon Institute of TAFE

The Gordon Institute of TAFE was a study destination that I decided on hesitantly. Being a TAFE, I felt the practical approach and real experience would help me further my studies and career path.

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