Pursuing a masters degree at Deakin University, Australia, during the pandemic
Hello, my name is Liman and I live in West Kalimantan, Indonesia. I am currently studying the Master of Public Health at Deakin University, Australia. I began my first trimester in March 2020, and I am on my way into the third trimester of my first year.
Studying abroad was never on my to-do list, but something I only dreamed about. After graduating from my undergraduate course, however, I decided to challenge myself and take a different route to pursue a masters degree in a university overseas.
The pandemic led me to choose Deakin University
During the early COVID-19 outbreak, the only thing I could do was to look for a university that offers an online masters with great online facilities. After some research, I stumbled upon Deakin University’s website. The first thing I noticed was the positive feedback that Deakin has from students. They say that Deakin is one of the best universities for online study and that it is one of the top universities with the best research and teaching staff, as well as having an inclusive environment.
After some discussion with my family, I decided to enrol in the Master of Public Health at Deakin University since I also have a medical background. During my study in my previous medical school, I did not really enjoy studying the curative approach. I have always had the mindset of ‘how can we prevent those diseases from happening, rather than relying on medicine?’. I am really eager to learn about preventive measures and I am also interested in learning more about research.
They say that Deakin is one of the best universities for online study and that it is one of the top universities with the best research and teaching staff, as well as having an inclusive environment.
In addition to those reasons, the public health sector is highly necessary during this pandemic and is increasing in popularity. This made me believe that studying a Master of Public Health would be an excellent investment in my future, giving me the chance to contribute to society either in my country or even globally. Having this opportunity to study abroad will reward me with a degree. Still, better than that, it will also improve my soft skills such as my English and communication skills and provide me with valuable life lessons.
This made me believe that studying a Master of Public Health would be an excellent investment in my future, giving me the chance to contribute to society either in my country or even globally.
A glimpse of my application process to Deakin
The application process was quite challenging as it was my first time applying internationally. However, Deakin provides new students with the best tools to guide them through the application process. Luckily, I got the chance to meet one of the staff from Deakin Indonesia, who helped me enormously. She was also the one who urged me to apply for a scholarship, which I never thought I would be able to get.
However, exceeding my expectations, I was granted the Deakin Global Health Leaders Scholarship and this encouraged me even more. After gathering all the required documents, the submission was surprisingly easy and straightforward. The staff member who handled my submission was very responsive and helpful.
The process was quick. I waited for three to four days before receiving my letter of offer from Deakin University. Following the approval by Deakin, I did some more research and found out that I could also apply for recognition of prior learning (RPL). I decided to give it a go and applied and got, yet another surprise for me, bonuses worth 4 credit points. This undoubtedly has encouraged me yet again and motivated me to study at Deakin University.
My doubts and what keeps me going
After studying for two trimesters at Deakin, I am convinced that a masters degree is extremely different from an undergraduate. It is more complex and confusing and there is so much to learn. However, despite all the difficulties, I believe that I will gain lots of new experience, and it will 100% enhance my soft and hard skills.
I can also meet new friends from all over the world with different cultures and backgrounds, which will help me be more open minded. I believe that higher education gives more opportunities, including financial, health and social life.
I am an introverted person and usually overthink too much but joining Deakin University has allowed me to improve myself. Working with people from different backgrounds in a group project or meeting new friends has helped me cultivate myself, not only in terms of education but also life skills.
For most international students, language might be one of the biggest barriers that can impede our actions. However, Deakin has yet again proved me wrong. It turns out that the language barrier is not something to be stressed about. Deakin University has a very high cultural sensitivity and inclusivity for its students and staff. Deakin acknowledges everyone and provides full support for the students. The lecturers and other staff are very helpful and supportive, and they will always provide the students with everything they have, even if we are enrolling online.
For most international students, language might be one of the biggest barriers that can impede our actions. However, Deakin has yet again proved me wrong. It turns out that the language barrier is not something to be stressed about.
My future plan
In the near future, I am aiming to go to Melbourne, Australia, once the international borders have opened. I would like to get some real-life experiences. I hope to one day work in the public health sector in Australia, particularly in Melbourne, such as becoming a health promoter or a public health researcher. My goal is to help the people and the community live healthier lives, to help prevent diseases from happening, and make some meaningful impact on the people.
Perhaps one day…I could make my dream come true by joining the World Health Organization (WHO) or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Advice for my fellow international friends
Whether future undergraduate or postgraduate students, many international students hesitate to apply to universities overseas. I’ve experienced that too. However, the best thing to do when facing this kind of problem is to not worry about the outcome or compare ourselves with our past selves and other people.
Fear is inevitable, but taking risks is something that we can decide on our own. It is something that is within our control. Therefore, ask yourself, which is better: To take risks or to waste the opportunity? Remember that you, and only you, can decide what’s best for you. Own the right perspective, and everything will flow with it.
I was indeed scared and nervous when I first enrolled at Deakin University. However, I realised that taking this opportunity is better than leaving it. Be a risk taker and let the rest flow.