From Canada to Melbourne: Far away but Familiar

There are a few things that I’ve always been willing to travel for: learning new things, experiencing a new city, and warmer weather. I moved to Melbourne from London, Ontario, Canada – almost perfectly on the opposite side of the planet. I intended to stay ‘for about 10 months’…and that was five years ago. I’m now a third (and final!) year PhD student at Deakin University, studying the relationship between nutrition and mental health within the School of Medicine. Where has the time gone?

Australia has always held a special status for me – perhaps because I grew up in a cold and snowy country, I’ve always thought of Australia as a faraway but familiar beachy paradise, and I was pretty much right. During my undergraduate degree in Canada, I spent a year studying abroad on exchange in Australia, and I quickly fell in love with Melbourne, its coffee and its sunshine. After graduation, I dreamed up elaborate ways that I could make my way back to my new southern hemisphere home.

Taking a study break in Wilsons Prom

Taking a study break in Wilsons Prom

I eventually stumbled across the perfect job; an opportunity that combined my two academic interests, nutrition and mental health, as part of an ongoing research position at Deakin University. Two phone interviews and a costly plane ticket later, I found myself back home in Melbourne.

I was employed in this research capacity at Deakin for two years, where I worked alongside some of the world leading researchers in nutrition and mental health. When the opportunity came up to join a project as a PhD student, I really, really enthusiastically accepted. A PhD has been the perfect program for me; I’ve had the autonomy to focus and learn independently, and all of the necessary support to encourage me to do so. When I’m not studying, it’s easy to jet off to the beach for a weekend or meet friends at a cool new restaurant for dinner. Work-life balance is important to me, and Australians do it very well!

When I’m not studying, it’s easy to jet off to the beach for a weekend or meet friends at a cool new restaurant for dinner. Work-life balance is important to me, and Australians do it very well!

'Working remotely' on the Murray River

‘Working remotely’ on the Murray River

When I thought about what I was looking for in a university, Deakin ticked all the boxes. Deakin is research-focused, and I’ve appreciated that it has embraced students from different academic and cultural backgrounds. Just as importantly, I got to live in Melbourne, which is one of the world’s best cities. Melbourne has the perfect mix of my favourite things; good food, sun, sport and Tim Tams.

Melbourne has the perfect mix of my favourite things; good food, sun, sport and Tim Tams

Melbourne coffee is rightfully famous – it’s one of my favourite things about living here!

Melbourne coffee is rightfully famous – it’s one of my favourite things about living here!

As I near the end of my PhD, I can’t be sure exactly what life ‘post-doctorate’ holds for me. What I do know is that I’ve been able to study, write, teach and learn alongside some of Australia’s best and brightest. The opportunities I’ve had at Deakin mean that working in Australia, Canada or beyond feel within reach. While Melbourne feels very much like my home now, who knows where I’ll ‘accidentally’ go next?

For further information about studying at Deakin and to view the many degrees on offer, visit our international student page.

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