Study Stories – Sarina - Choose Brisbane

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Study Stories – Sarina

Sarina Lama

Namaste and hello everyone, I am Sarina Lama. I am from Kathmandu, which is the capital and largest municipality of Nepal. It is known as an enormous treasure house of handmade arts and sculpture that are made up of woods, metals, rocks etc. Kathmandu is also known as city of temples, with thousands of temples, stupas and monasteries where everyone with different religions live in peace and harmony.

My journey of studying abroad started on 14 February in 2014. Yes, it was Valentine’s Day when I packed up and came to this beautiful country to pursue a nursing degree.

I always dreamed of coming to Australia for my higher education study. I had to do the IELTS test before applying and was lucky to get a good IELTS band score – enough for me to apply to study nursing.

Because I had done my schooling in an English medium boarding school it wasn't hard for me to speak English. And I had studied biology science Grade 11 and 12, so I got a good enough GPA to apply for the anatomy and physiology course for nursing in Australia. My fellow classmates and my lecturer always ask me if I was a nurse back in Nepal and I’m always telling them I studied biology science.

Sarina Lama

When it was time for me to choose the city and university for my study, it was damn hard because I was completely blank at that time. My consultancy's agent suggested I come to Griffith University and I started researching it. Back then, Griffith was ranked under top 50 but now it is counted under top 20 in nursing all over the world. I felt really excited to be part of Griffith.

Initially I applied at Griffith University for my degree but they suggested that I do my Diploma of Health Care through Queensland Institute of Business and Technology (QIBT), now known as Griffith College.

QIBT is the pathway college to enrol directly to the second year of nursing at Griffith University. Unfortunately, the QIBT in Brisbane didn’t have the Diploma of Health Care so I had to enrol in the Gold Coast QIBT.

I had my cousin, brothers and sisters living here in Brisbane so at that time it wasn't hard for me to find accommodation. Also, all my housemates were from Nepal too so it was easy to adjust to the new city as all our cultures, religion and the food we eat were pretty similar.

I remember the days when I used to get lost in the streets of Surfers Paradise because I used to forget my way back home while returning from university. I also remember my first day of QIBT when I had no idea how to get to my lab class. One of the volunteers at Griffith misunderstood me and took me to the third years' nursing seminar held on the same day. Being a first-year student, all the third years’ seminar questions were flying over my head and I missed my first mandatory lab session. Haha!

Sarina Lama

I finally moved to Brisbane for a job opportunity. It is often said “Big city, big opportunity”, and it was certainly the case for me. Moving to Brisbane was the best decision I have ever made. People here are really nice and helpful, and it has a lot of support services – especially for international students.

I now work as an assistant in nursing (AIN) in one of the nursing homes in Bardon, where I help elderly or aged people with their activities of daily living (ADLs). I really enjoy my work as I am very passionate about nursing.

As we all know, being an international student involves hefty tuition fees. In addition to that, the cost of living in Australia is more expensive, so it is obvious that I faced a lot of financial challenges. The challenges got tougher when Nepal was hit by the destructive earthquake in 2015. At that time, the situation challenged me so much that I thought of dropping my course when I had to pay my fees and at the same time financially support my family members. But I’m really grateful to the Griffith International Board, who came forward and helped the Nepalese students during that time.

Now I am on my last semester of my nursing degree and will be graduating this year. I don't regret coming here at a young age. Instead it has made me strong and independent, and not afraid to take new opportunities.

I’m really thankful to Study Brisbane for giving me such a great opportunity to become one of the Brisbane International Student Ambassador 2016 and share my story.  

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