Growing up with a little help from Deakin

I used to be a shy person, and I was used to a set routine where everything went according to plan. You could say I was a little spoiled. Except, despite the fact that I had ‘everything’, for some reason I didn’t feel like my life was complete. I decided I needed to get away, experience a life overseas, breathe new air and explore my independence. After making my decision, I applied for a Brazilian government program to study abroad. Despite my low proficiency in English, I chose Australia as my future study destination.

After a year and half living in the ‘awesomeland’, and a year back here in Brazil, I introduce myself to others as Lucas, 22 years old, architecture student and proud alumni of Deakin University. My experience living on the other side of the world made me a new person, and I owe this to Deakin and Australia.

My experience living on the other side of the world made me a new person, and I owe this to Deakin and Australia.

With friends at the 12 Apostles - a popular Australian attraction

With friends at the 12 Apostles – a popular Australian attraction

Australia is a great country, not just because of the beautiful nature and landscapes, but what stood out to me was the organised and well-governed cities. This made me feel like I was living in a high quality environment, where there is a connection between the city structure and the people (which is not so common in Brazilians cities). As an architecture student, this was important to see and to be part of. Because of this, I fell in love with Melbourne instantly.

My friends and I exploring the Great Ocean Road on a road trip during summer

Exploring the Great Ocean Road on a road trip during summer

Whilst discovering Melbourne was an important part of my journey, Deakin also had a role to play.

When I was at DUELI (Deakin University English Language Institute), the teachers and coordinators were really supportive of the international students. Some of us suffered from homesickness, and the teachers gave support by talking to us one-on-one after class or recommending us to Deakin’s student counselling service. In class, the many of our subjects encouraged us to explore Australia’s culture to help us feel more comfortable in our new home.

Brazilians like to hug and kiss anyone and everywhere, but when I tried that with other international students they were shocked! It was interesting to observe everyone’s different cultural habits. I found that Melbourne is quite a multicultural city, which provides support and community environments for its people, local or international. Every month there are several cultural festivals around the city (from Latin-American to Chinese), which make you feel at home, while simultaneously introducing you to new and exciting traditions, foods and activities.

I also studied Architecture at the Waterfront Campus, in Geelong. I loved the campus, and I really enjoyed the structure of the degree. I had some extraordinary teachers that made me see the processes and design of architecture in a new way.

On a picnic with friends in Geelong

On a picnic with friends in Geelong

My Australian experience did have its challenges, however. It was hard to keep up with the assignments, essays and studio projects, and sometimes I thought I wouldn’t be able to finish everything. Nevertheless I persevered, and I completed the trimesters with newfound knowledge and new professional goals for my career. By the end of my studies, I realised that I had a passion for teaching. In the future I hope share my knowledge and experience with future architecture students, and help to contribute to the architecture programs in Brazil.

My experience living overseas was a gamble, it could have been terrible rather than amazing. However, I found that the best way to learn is to challenge yourself and put yourself in situations where you aren’t necessarily comfortable. I am so grateful to all the people in Australia who contributed to the incredible time I had there. Now I feel prepared to take on the world without fear or apprehension. Thank you Deakin, and thank you Australia!

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

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