But where are all the kangaroos?

Australia has always been a dream destination for me to pursue my education. I felt very happy when I received an acceptance letter from Deakin University less than two months from the date of my application submission. And to my great surprise I secured a visa, within a few weeks, to travel to Australia. I was so excited that I quickly spread the message on social media to all my friends. My dream of getting a better education from a foreign country had come true and the journey had begun.

However, leaving my native country behind was sad, but departing to live in the land where kangaroos are indigenous, was really exuberating. But wait a moment, me going to Australia, 13, 955 kilometres (8671 miles) away from Nigeria, a journey that takes 15 hours on an airplane travelling at which 560 miles an hour (the sheer distance!) – and leaving my dear family – was quite extraordinary. Deep emotions started going through me. But I recollected what the elders in our tradition used to say: Crying is a sign of cowardice.

So I departed Lagos for Melbourne via Singapore. My brother lives in Singapore, so I got a chance to meet up with him in transit.

When the plane arrived at Melbourne, I found no signs of kangaroos! I thought maybe the pilot has made a landing mistake. At the airport, the immigration staff greeted me with smiling faces and an eagerness to listen to and help me. I had just arrived and they were asking me how I was going! Going where? I wondered. They were speaking so fast, I could barely hear what they were saying. But then I heard my name being called out suddenly and I was overcome with happiness, as Deakin University kept its promise and sent a person to pick me up from the airport to take me to my new campus!

I have always rationalised with myself that people will be unfriendly and treat me differently as I am African. But I discovered that I was wrong when people around me treated me with respect and dignity. The multicultural diversity at my campus made me comfortable to make many friends. Food, too, has never been a problem as there are many restaurants in the city serving African food. I never feel too far from home either due to the excellent internet service available here. I Skype with my family and friends regularly.

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Busy researching in one of the on-campus labs.

Deakin offered a sound science and industry-based research opportunity, especially in the areas of medical and natural science and engineering. This has given me the chance to gain sound practical experience during my studies. Also, I was selected to undertake industrial research training in the number one Australian research institute – Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organisation, CSIRO/AAHL – where I am researching the avian virus.

I am looking forward to being granted a PhD scholarship at Deakin University soon and I am eager to apply the skills I have acquired to help my country, Nigeria, find medical solutions and drugs to improve public health, improve methods for enhanced agricultural productivity, protect the environment and – last but never the least – alleviating poverty.

For further information about studying at Deakin and to view the many degrees on offer, visit our international student page. Or ask us a question by visiting our international student enquiry page – we’re happy to help you get to know Deakin better.

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