The challenges and rewards of University life

Updated: Jul 5, 2021

In my previous article, "Beware of substandard and fraudulent foreign Universities" I spoke about the disastrous start I had to my journey as an international student. So how did I go on from there? I had two options – pack my bags and go home or stay and start afresh. They say that when the going gets tough, the tough keep going. And that is exactly what I did.

I knew I had to get myself enrolled at a reputed university as there was no point in going with private institutions. So after a bit of research, I chose Deakin University – one of the top universities in Melbourne as well as Australia. I had received a scholarship from another university but I went ahead with Deakin because of its reputation for the value of the business degrees it offered. Being accepted by a prestigious and renowned university gave me immense pride. When people asked me, ‘Which university are you studying at?’, and I replied, ‘Deakin,’ it gave me a tremendous sense of satisfaction that I had decided to pursue my dreams at one of the best universities in Australia.

But then started week one! The system of education in Australia was completely different from that in India. During week one, I was bombarded with lots and lots of information about units, assignments, workshops etc. and as the weeks kept flying, I wondered how was I surviving. A lot of the course work is done through self-study. Lectures are conducted every week and last about three hours. A lot of personal reading, evaluation exercises and other assignments follow the lectures. There is also the cultural transition that international students have to make, and this can be a very difficult process at times. The good thing is that you don’t have to feel stressed. Most of the universities have support centres for international students to help them out and of course, you have friends whom you can always rely on. For this reason, it is very important to have a strong circle of friends as these are the people who are going to support you over the course of your studies.

Speaking of friends, I have made and continue making new friends from different countries - friendships that I will cherish forever. At university, I have also had the opportunity to mentor new students and this has been very fulfilling for me on a personal level. Mentoring has helped me to develop important skills like communication, problem-solving and team work.

Doing well in exams and obtaining good grades has been very rewarding as well. Balancing studies and work has helped me to become more focussed and improve my time-management skills. Above all, my post-graduate studies have broadened my thinking and equipped me with skills that are helping me in my professional career as an accountant. A couple of years at university can make a huge difference to one’s personality – my studies have helped me to look at things in a way that I would not have had I not studied at university.

A few months back, I received an email from my university mentioning that I had been selected for the Dean’s Merit List of Postgraduates. This was something out of the blue; something I had never even thought about. Only 50 students are selected each year from the entire faculty of business and law which consists of hundreds, if not thousands, of students – both local and international. Being included in the merit list was an apt reward for all the hard work and struggle that I had put in at university. It also made up for the disappointing start I had to my international career at the fake private college. Everything happens for a reason after all, isn’t it?

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