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EDUC
Learning
A
TION &
curve
TRAINING
Shireen Fernandez has just finished her
Masters degree in Australia, an experience
she found both thrilling and challenging.
Here she talks about the highs.
Q:
Why did you come to Australia to study?
SHIREEN FERNANDEZ: My dream was to
pursue my higher education overseas. But my family
could not afford the high cost it entailed. Mom and dad intervie
were average income earners and I had two brothers
also pursuing higher education in India. When my
brothers completed their education, it was decided that
I could go. I had offers from Leeds Metropolitan in the
Q :
What was it like when your first
arrived – how was that experience?
UK and had also applied to Boston University in the FERNANDEZ: It wasn’t particularly easy when I got to
United States, but the deciding factor weighed heavily Australia. Everything was a bit overwhelming, settling
on the financial aspects of it including the cost of the down, finding accommodation, enrolment, trying to
program, the cost of living, flight, accommodation as get around and finding out the reality of how high the
well as the distance from home. I chose Australia for all cost of living was. On a social level, it was adjusting
those reasons. to life away from family and friends and the different
culture. Personally, it was being alone and building a
Q :
Why did you choose the course you did?
life from scratch. More than anything else, there was
FERNANDEZ: Initially, I was enrolled in the an information overload on the rules and regulations of
Masters of International Communications. When I arrived everything, particularly my visa, that it was nerve-racking.
w
at the university and met for a chat with my lecturers, they I was afraid that I was unknowingly going to breach one
encouraged me to switch to a double Masters. It wasn’t of the rules and get thrown out of the country and that
an easy process but I am really glad I did. My Masters in may jeopardise my dream, but thankfully, I survived.
International Communications has given me a scope in
the fields of political, economic and social development as
well as communications across cultures and business
Q :
How would you describe the overall
experience of being here for your degree.
environments, which is what I am passionate about and FERNANDEZ: I am thrilled to have been in Australia.
the Masters in International Relations has enabled me My course, my exposure, my social life has all been
to take the political and economic climate into perspective such a steep learning curve but a very fulfilling
when venturing into these communication areas. experience. As part of my student life here, I have also
had the opportunity to take the helm of Macquarie
Q:
What was the quality of the course
University’s International Social Club (iCLUB). iCLUB
and teaching like?
is for international students. We organise events to
FERNANDEZ: Many international students, including bring together students from different walks of life and
me, found it very difficult to get adjusted to the different to increase solidarity among them. The events include
method of teaching and the different style of marking monthly themed lunches which feature one culture,
and referencing. Also, in most Asian countries, the focus such as ‘Sarees and Spices’ featuring the Indian culture,
is on lectures, teaching and learning in the classroom sports events such as the ‘Amazing Race’ on campus,
and paper-based knowledge. But Australia, like other movie nights and so on. It was based on the idea that
western countries was more about independent we wanted students to be able find a platform to meet
learning and that took a bit of getting used to. We had new friends and feel welcome when they arrived on
some really good lecturers who were encouraging and campus. There really wasn’t a lack of opportunity to
committed but a lot of it actually came down to personal get involved and create an enriching experience on
commitment to the learning process, as well as the campus as part of my student life. I travelled here and
passion and dedication to wanting to get the most out made an insane amount of friends, I would certainly
of the campus environment. regard them as family. ➤
INVEST IN AUSTRALIA – INDIA 63
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