Staying ahead of the curve

Aayushi Pandey

I had just completed my graduation in 2016, and coming from a business family, was considering international business for my higher studies. I wanted to understand the formal outlook of a business and gain a broader understanding of it, internationally. After a bit of research and comparing notes, I ended up choosing Australia, for many reasons. Not only does it have an abundance of part-time work and internship opportunities for international students, it is also relatively easier to obtain a work visa because of the lenient laws and government policies in the country.

I narrowed down on Sydney, owing to the city’s massive global network and the plethora of opportunities it offers to international students. While browsing through the list of universities, however, there was one that immediately grabbed my attention, the University of New South Wales (UNSW). Here was an institution with one of the highest student employability ratings. My mind was made and I joined UNSW Business School. 

Upon moving to Sydney, I was surprised to find the city to be extremely friendly and multicultural, contrary to my assumptions. It was an absolute pleasure to explore the city and imbibe its incredible cultural vibrancy. Classes were about to start; I had chosen Masters of Commerce as my course, and I was surprised to discover that the number of international students actually exceeded the number of domestic students studying in the university. This fostered an environment that encourages learning, unprejudiced by geographical origins.

Within the first week itself, I had interacted with a host of people of Italian, Fiji and Chinese origin. I even got to interact and become friends with students from different parts of India.

Varied subjects

At UNSW Sydney, the options for subjects and class timings were much wider than I expected. UNSW’s three campuses — Kensington, UNSW Art and Design in Paddington, and UNSW Canberra at Australian Defence Forces Academy — are home to more than 55,000 students and 6,000 staff — all of whom have access to state-of-the-art equipment and technology, and an outstanding university support network.

My experience in class was also unique. Most of my subjects were based on real-life case studies, using a problem-solving approach where we had to share issues identified by us and give recommendations. Working on these gave me a much deeper insight into the mindsets of other students belonging to different nationalities and culture, and opened my eyes to their diverse practices and way of life and thoughts.

UNSW is almost a city in itself with restaurants, food outlets, shops, gyms, sports arena, medical facilities, childcare centres, and loads of great entertainment. Many students from out of the town make use of the campus accommodations.

To foster a sustainable, healthy lifestyle, and help reduce parking and traffic problems, the university encourages staff and students to use public transport or to cycle or walk to UNSW, as alternatives to driving a car. Safety and security are key concerns and the university prides itself on this score. The campus is also envisaged in a way as to embrace the outer world and to ensure that students recognise the importance of remaining engaged with the real world.  

The library is a pride of place for the university. Every school has its own facility for books and journals and dedicated space for research, reading and studying in an open, environment-friendly atmosphere. A bust of Mahatma Gandhi is placed on the library lawns. This spot has rapidly become a place where students gather for photo opportunities and to pledge their commitment to transforming the lives of people.

While my classes had already begun, within just a week, I also landed an internship with a start-up company in Singapore, where no prior experience or resume was needed. Eventually, I found myself in the careers and employment department, where I started to learn about the expectations of employees, through the structure and format of resumes and interviews in Australia. I even attended a career expo for international students where I was advised on my strengths and weaknesses and encouraged to gain as much local experience as I could, as it would demonstrate my openness and aptitude in working in and with other cultures.

Career growth

I also participated in the professional development programme organised by Careers and Employment department at UNSW Sydney, to update my resume to reflect the skill requirements of a diverse range of employers. By now, my entire way of thinking regarding the purpose of education had changed. 

Through the UNSW’s new SHARP (Strategic Hire and Retention Pathway) programme, UNSW is investing almost AUD$900 million over 10 years to attract talented researchers. Likewise, UNSW Futures initiative addresses humanity’s major challenges through innovative interdisciplinary and cross-faculty research institutes. The university is investing in new and emerging areas that build on and link our existing research strengths.

Education is meant to foster curiosity and open the mind, instead of restricting it to textbook binaries. Today, living all by myself, and working, while studying at UNSW, has not only made me more independent, responsible, and organised, but also increased my confidence while taking any decision in life. 

 

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Staying ahead of the curve

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