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Studying in Australia helped me to experience the world in a different way

June 11, 2021 - 5 min read

My name is Heyshan – I am from Sri Lanka and I studied a Bachelor of Construction Management (Honours) at Deakin. One of the reasons why I chose Deakin is because they gave me credit exemptions for my previous studies and offered me a STEM scholarship. Unfortunately, my studies at Deakin did not start well – I was not able to attend my orientation week. My first month in Australia was quite challenging for me, as I had to adapt and learn a lot of things quickly by myself. I believe that a lot of international students will relate to the experience of not knowing anyone in Australia and therefore are not sure who they can get guidance from.

I would have been overwhelmed if I had to do things on my own, but Deakin’s Student Central assisted in enrolling me into my course. They also gave me a lot of guidance about starting in Deakin. After a while, I made few friends and managed to find a part-time job.

Becoming active in Deakin by being an Orientation Ambassador

I wanted to be an Orientation Ambassador because I missed my orientation week. I wanted to get the whole experience and get to know people from other cultures and countries. I was a bit nervous at first because I was sort of an introverted person initially, but I wanted a new challenge to face. I met different people from diverse cultures and became friends with lots of people. In addition, it was so satisfying to help new students who are visiting the University for the first time.

Getting job opportunities using Deakin’s student services

I must emphasise the importance of the UniHub (available only to current students and graduates) and DeakinTALENT which is one of the best Deakin resources out there if you are applying for part-time or full-time jobs, and even for internships. I used the UniHub many times, and it is where I was able to get the Waurn Ponds Deakin Library Student Assistance position. We were the first point of contact when students come through the library. It was a good learning experience, and the library staff were always there to guide me every step of the way.

During the first quarter of 2020, my working hours were exponentially reduced due to COVID-19. I had to juggle three part-time jobs to make up for the work hours. This was a bit of a struggle with balancing my studies. Nevertheless, I was able to manage my time accordingly by sticking to a meticulous schedule.

Transitioning from on-campus to online

Deakin University transferred its delivery method to online as well. The great thing about Deakin University is that they already had an all-inclusive online portal, DeakinSync, and it was far superior compared to other universities. Therefore, the transfer was much easier than expected because all the learning content and videos were already there.

“I would have been overwhelmed if I had to do things on my own, but Deakin’s Student Central assisted in enrolling me into my course.”

I am pretty sure the COVID-19 lockdown affected all of us in different ways, but I believe that most of the international students felt it more than anyone else. Many of us had to decide if we were going to stay in Australia and keep studying or go back to our countries because of the dire situation. I decided to stay and keep studying. During that time, an Australian family I became friends with as well as my new friends helped me in various ways during the lockdown.

Becoming a COVIDSafe Ambassador for Deakin

When most jobs were laying off people or shutting their businesses down completely, I received a COVIDSafe Ambassador role at Deakin with support from Deakin Library staff members. This was a life-saving job for me.

Our responsibility was to maintain the COVID safe environment in the Deakin Waterfront Campus. This included making sure that people maintained 1.5 meters of distance, remind people to wear masks on campus, and more. I did not expect that telling people to wear the mask properly was a challenging job till that day!

Currently, I am now applying for jobs related to my studies. DeakinTALENT has been helpful in sending job opportunities. They also helped me structure my cover letter and my resume.

My dream job is to be one of the project managers in the West Gate Tunnel bridge/Metro Tunnel project and maybe to pursue a PhD study at the same time. I would say that the decision to come to Australia has completely transformed my life. It certainly helped me to experience the world in a different way. It was a roller coaster ride for sure, but you know how the old saying goes: a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.

Quick links

Learn more about Deakin’s support services for international students

Learn more about how you can become an orientation ambassador

To find a scholarship, visit here

To find a course, visit here

I would say that the decision to come to Australia has completely transformed my life. It certainly helped me to experience the world in a different way.

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