What’s Special About Being Here brings you candid conversations with simple people like you and me, who made the right choices and daring moves to carve an extraordinary career for themselves in a beautiful country they now call their home. Read on and find out what Mr. Sleeby Thomas Paul, Clinical Nurse Specialist finds so special about being in the world’s most highly urbanised countries, Australia.
So, how is daily life in Australia? What are the major lifestyle differences between Australia and your home country?
In essence, I am from Kottayam in Kerala, India and studied in Bangalore. Coming over to Australia had been a long-cherished dream for me. Well, the differences are huge when you compare the two countries, especially the climate, culture, environment and, above all, the massive infrastructure. My initial reaction was a kind of “cultural shock” as they all say. From my experience, I would say that it takes some time to settle in and adapt to this fast-paced western world. You need to work real smart. You need to exert your full potential and input into the job you perform. Believe me, it does provide a positive outcome and a better output which we can all see and experience around us in Australia’s economy and environment.
Moving to another country is hard. How did you cope up with the changes as an international student? Was there any support system that helped you in the transition?
As I mentioned earlier, the “settling down process”, if you may call it that, was very hard. It took me a good deal of time and energy to get used to the climate, language, environment and of course, the difference in time zone that played havoc with my sleep pattern. But, eventually, I was able to adapt to this beautiful country and lovely people. Of course, support services were offered to me while I was doing the adaptation program here. Every University, College and Institute in Australia has a dedicated international help desk to support students. You will also find plenty of organisations who are willing to help you out while you are trying to figure out how you fit in with the crowd. There is plenty of help, support and guidance available so that’s no cause for worry.
Are you still continuing your education here? What are your career plans?
Currently, I work as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in the Intensive Care unit of a tertiary hospital in Victoria, Australia. For me, it was quite hard to ultimately get this role. I had to undergo postgraduate studies in Critical Care Nursing to reach where I am now so continuous education is a necessity here. My ultimate focus is on Cardiovascular Research and in the interim, I am working towards becoming a Cardiac Care Nurse Consultant.
How important would you say, is an Australian qualification? Was it easy for you to get a job soon after?
With an Australian qualification, the chances of landing a prospective job almost doubles and sometimes triples. Even the training programs in hospitals, other industries or organisations in Australia can be accounted for as Australian experience and you can show it off as a career highlight in your résumé as well. There are plenty of opportunities available out there. But, to be able to get through it, can be quite challenging especially for people with overseas experience and qualifications. I would say, a decent three to six months would be the minimum time span required for a person to land a secure job after completing their studies in Australia.
What made you choose this specific line of study program? Was it the career prospect or your interest in the same or both?
Well, my current stint in the ICU is what I really wanted to do. Of course, to climb the ladder of success and to boost my job prospects, I took up a Post Graduate course in Critical Care Nursing. Definitely, it is going to be a golden feather in my cap in ICU Nursing.
What is your opinion about working while you are a student? What are the pros and cons, especially for those who have no other choice than to do a part-time job while studying?
I will be very honest with you. Finding a job is a breeze. But working while you are studying can be really challenging. Most of the students work overtime and get exhausted, finding it hard to concentrate and fully focus while attending classes. As long as students are able to find the right work-life-study balance, it’s no big deal. Of course, a student’s top priority should be to complete the course and secure a good job. And to achieve that, they need to find the courage to overcome and face every obstacle that crosses their path. Life in Australia is very expensive. In order to make both ends meet, we need to work.
Are you keen on studying further? Is continuous learning actually possible, especially if you have a full-time work to cater to?
In the Australian work system, every employee is, in one way or the other, continually upgrading their knowledge and technical skills. Innovations are being introduced into every field and sector on a regular basis. So, as a professional, the onus is on us to be innovation-savvy and on par with the advancements in our chosen career path. We have to constantly brush up our knowledge and make sure our brain never gets rusted.
How long have you been in Australia? Which is the best place to catch up with friends and socialize a bit?
I have been around for close to ten years. The best group to socialise with is our bunch of friends from different backgrounds. I get invited to most of their functions and I go with them to most events. In Australia, an individual who is known in most social circles is well-liked. And if he/she has great interpersonal skills, all the more better. If you are socially active, you will be widely accepted in the community. During weekends, you could plan a trip with friends to explore the localities you live close to or try the different cuisines from over 150 countries in the world. Life is a beaut in Aussie land. There is so much to see and do.
Do you miss your favourite food back home? Or do you get it in Australia as well?
It depends on the locality where you study or work. There are many regional and remote places here where you will not find an Indian restaurant or shop. But, all cities and most of the towns boast of innumerable Indian restaurants and eateries.
Any positive thought you would like to convey to students in your homeland, who may be wondering what career path to choose after Plus 2?
Check the website of the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship where you can find information on your visa types and entitlements. It specifies your work rights while studying. Also check out the respective universities or Department of Education website to make sure that the course you have enrolled in is registered and approved by the respective councils or boards.