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24 July 2020

International student Monica shares her experiences with travel, homesickness and how she’s working to advance her employability

Meet Monica, a Deakin international student studying in Australia. Here she shares with us her experiences in moving to Australia, travelling with friends, the shock of homesickness and her number one goal for staying motivated and proactive in advancing her career prospects.

Monica, what are you studying?

Master of Marketing, specialising in public relations (2020 graduate).

Where do you come from and are you living away from family?

I come from a city called Hyderabad, located in the southern part of India. And yes, I am living away from my family, for the first time in 21 years.

Monica in the heart of Melbourne before lockdown.

 How was the transition to living in Australia?

To be honest, my transition was smooth as I had friends who were already studying here and also who came along with me to study in Melbourne. It did, however, take some time for me to adjust to the Aussie culture but here I am now, calling breakfast ‘brekky’ and McDonald’s ‘Maccas’!

What have you loved so far?

I love the feeling of being independent. Moving away from home has taught me a lot of things like cooking my own food and paying my own bills. I have become way more responsible and that’s something I am really proud of.

 What have been some challenges?

When I first came here, I was really worried about finding a part-time job. Fortunately, I did find one quickly through a friend and a second one at Deakin through volunteering. It is very important to make contacts and network with people here in Melbourne, this certainly helped me make the most of volunteering opportunities on campus.

Lately, I have been missing home terribly. Homesickness was never really a problem for me until I recently came back to Melbourne from a four-month vacation to my home country. Coupled with the COVID-19 situation, the loss of job opportunities and graduation stress, I was and still am feeling a bit low. But I am doing the best I can and attending a number of DeakinTALENT online workshops in order to become a strong candidate for future jobs. Hopefully, everything will fall into place soon. 

 How do you spend your free time?

I love travelling, even if it’s just locally! I’ve visited a lot of places in Melbourne with my friends here. A few of my favourites include the 12 Apostles, St Kilda, and Brighton beach. I have also visited Vietnam as part of Deakin’s Work Integrated Learning (WIL) Abroad program. Another way I spend my free time is by listening to Korean pop (K-pop) music. I am a huge fan of the band BTS, on whom I also based a number of my uni assignments! I eagerly await their concert here in Australia!

Do you have any advice to other students?                

Moving thousands of kilometres away from home is an act of courage, and I applaud every student who has or is planning to do so in the near future. My advice to new or potential students would be to stay positive. I know it is a difficult time for everyone but to be real, it is out of anybody’s control and of course, things will eventually be okay. Use this time to do things you couldn’t make time for previously. Try learning new things or gaining new skills so that you’re prepared once everything’s up and running. All in all, be hopeful and stay happy because at the end of a storm is a beautiful rainbow.


Are you an international student at Deakin? If so we would love to have you join us and continue the conversation in the Deakin International Students Facebook group. Also, if Monica’s experience has inspired you to find more opportunities available to advance your career opportunities, you can find a range of online workshops on the DeakinTALENT website.

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