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Updated: September 1, 2010 15:00 IST

Dreaming high down under

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GREENER PASTURES: Swetha Reddy Pullagurla at the Swinburne University campus in Melbourne.
GREENER PASTURES: Swetha Reddy Pullagurla at the Swinburne University campus in Melbourne.

The totally different style of learning makes foreign education lively, as it is more learner-centric unlike teacher-centric back in India.

With dreams in my eyes and a desire to excel, I landed in Australia – a destination that has got popular with Indian students recently. It was a conscious choice and not a forced decision to leave other options like the United States of America and instead prefer Australia. Friends and relatives were a bit sceptical about the whole thing, but the moment I landed here I felt a sense of acceptance and warmth. Remember, these are vital components of pursuing higher education in a foreign country apart from quality academics it offers.

Swinburne University in Melbourne, where I am pursuing my Masters in Information Technology, fulfilled the other aspect of foreign education – quality. Established by George Swinburne in 1908 it is an internationally recognised provider of quality education. It's an institution with a rich legacy of industry collaborations, and has a reputation for high-impact focused research.

Diversity

I still remember the first day at my uni (as people call a university here); I was feeling nervous as any fresher to meet new people and was worried about the new place. I haven't been exposed to non-white and white-college culture earlier. But what amazed me was the diversity of students. The comfort factor grew as I saw students from different nationalities making Swinburne their choice of study. Local students were warmer than I expected and in no time I could gel with everyone.

In the process of exploring my uni I found that Hawthorn campus has many facilities, which includes medical centre, gym, Night transport, Swinemploy, uni-lodge and many more. The quality of education is absolutely great. One interesting thing I found is ‘Lectopia'. It is data capture and audio recording of the lectures. All the classes are recorded and hosted on the uni website. This is an amazing facility for students, more so international students who might miss a few classes due to their part-time work. Late lab is one good facility offered to Swinburne students. Students can work in the library even at the late hours.

To say the least, Swinburne library is open 24 X 7.

Whole new world

The totally different style of learning makes foreign education lively. It is more learner-centric unlike teacher-centric back in India. The facilities offered make you a holistic student and the diversity opens up a whole new world. Perhaps, this is the most positive change one can see studying abroad. Unlike India, almost every student works part-time for pocket money. Sense of dignity of labour is automatically drilled in. I work in an Indian store.

Despite being thousands of miles away from India we don't miss our country much actually. Many student clubs host parties and they bring Indian students together apart from bringing lot of relief from hectic activity. One such club is Swinburne Punjab Club (SPC), formed by Indian students. Festivals are celebrated perhaps much better than India by Indian student clubs.

Friendships

As far as friends go I've met cool people and we hang out most weekends, but I'm not sure they are “life-long” friendships.

Our backgrounds and upbringings are almost too diverse to get along that well...sad to say. But what I am learning from them will be there, life-long.

Swetha Reddy Pullagurla, Swinburne University, Melbourne, www.swinburne.edu.au

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