I started my PhD at Deakin University’s Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus in May 2014. The first thing that impressed me about Deakin was how friendly the staff and supervisors were to students. Honestly, thinking back to when I started my PhD, I could have never imagined that I could just walk into my supervisor’s office on a Monday morning for a quick chat and talk about what we had done and places we had visited over the weekend. Also, unexpectedly, I found it quite easy to make friends at Deakin. Getting involved in different activities, I ran into many people with different backgrounds and interests and this gave me a great opportunity to make a lot of friends.
Though I experienced a very friendly atmosphere, it doesn’t mean we were not serious in research. Deakin’s Institute for Frontier Materials (IFM), where I did my PhD, is a world-class research centre in the field of materials science, and is host to some of the world-leading scientists and cutting-edge research facilities. Such an environment made it possible for me to do a very fundamental research project: To push the boundaries of knowledge in the field of metals that are used for critical applications, such as automotive and energy industries. Deakin was well equipped with the instruments I needed to carry out my research.
During my PhD, I had the great opportunity to collaborate with overseas universities. Through a travel grant I spent two months at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, where I collaborated with some of the world-leading researchers in the field. I also had the chance to collaborate with researchers from Carnegie Mellon University in the United States and Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin in Germany which highly enriched my PhD.
I am very excited that my achievements have also been recognized by Deakin. I was honored with an Alfred Deakin Postdoctoral Fellowship which allowed me to continue my fundamental research at IFM right after my PhD graduation. I am also amazed with how the Victorian Government supports international student activities and research. I am very honored to have been selected as a finalist for the Victorian International Education Awards for International Student of the Year. I particularly appreciated this honour because it recognised both my research and out-of-classroom activities. And finally, I have been recently awarded a very prestigious Victoria Fellowship from the Victorian Government. This fellowship will provide me with an opportunity to do a study mission at Max-Planck Institute in Germany, working on the development of advanced metallic alloys through 3D printing.
I could never have received such prestigious awards and great research opportunities without being fully supported by my supervisors and academic and technical staff at Deakin. In particular my PhD/Post Doc principal supervisor Professor Peter Hodgson. Deakin also provided me with the support needed to attend conferences and visit research centers in Canada, USA, France, Italy and Switzerland during the last five years. Recently, I had the unique opportunity to teach a course in Wuhan, China, as an international guest lecturer.
Deakin students and staff are actually known to have a great work-life balance by complementing their research work with social, cultural and outdoor activities. I myself have had a wonderful life outside my academic endeavours since I arrived in Geelong. Geelong is a beautiful city close to Melbourne that is not too large, but still offers whatever you need while also keeping you close to nature. The Australian State of Victoria is renowned to be the music, sport, multicultural, coffee and food capital of the nation. It hosts many academic, cultural and social events − from international research conferences in all research fields to international sporting competitions and music festivals. There is always something fun and interesting to see and do.
I have been very lucky to participate as a volunteer in organizing and also watching the 2015 AFC Asian Soccer Cup in Melbourne, Australian Open Tennis tournaments in Melbourne, and Australian Table Tennis Open 2018 in Geelong, for example. Also, before living in Victoria, I had never watched a game of footy. Now I follow the Aussie rules football religiously! (Obviously I support Geelong Cats!).
Victoria has also provided me with every outdoor experience I could think of in stunning landscapes all year round. Victoria provides golden sandy beaches, fantastic diving opportunities, snow sports in the Victorian Alps and breathtaking hiking and camping options within mountainous, coastal, lakeside, arid and alpine environments. Here in Geelong there is easy access to surf beaches (Bells Beach) and camping along the picturesque Great Ocean Road. Actually, Victoria offers a myriad of activities for every purpose and in every season; so I have never been bored because there are always new things to explore!
For further information about studying at Deakin and to view the many degrees on offer, visit our international student page.