In Australia there are more opportunities and freedoms. If we have freedom we can improve ourselves and become what we want to be.
I am 23 years old and I was born in South Asia. I have been in Australia for two and a half years.
I’m studying and working.
I believe that whatever you do in your life you can reflect it in a picture. By giving a strong message in my photos I want to bring changes in society.
This photo symbolises the steps I have taken forward in my life, like climbing a mountain. I experienced many difficulties when I came to Australia. I finished high school in my home country, but when I came to Australia I could study only language. I wanted to study at the same level I was at in my country. I wanted to improve my English, but also I wanted to continue my education in subjects I studied before. I wanted to keep going up, not down.
I didn’t know English or the systems in this new environment very well. I didn’t have any idea of what to do, what assessment was, how to do the assessment or how to write. The English language courses available weren’t as advanced in their use of technology and the language school didn’t offer subjects that I needed like biology, maths, physics, academic writing and reading – they only taught English language.
The Pathways course at La Trobe University helped me a lot. I built my understanding of the tertiary education system, how to do assessment and how to use technology. It really helped me to prepare for my higher education.
Those who come to Australia as refugees are eligible for Centrelink support, which is very helpful for them. I was not eligible for Centrelink for my first two years in Australia because I was on a sponsored visa.
My brother supported my living costs for two years. It was hard for him. Besides my studies, I had a job one day a week working at a coffee shop. But this job didn’t solve my financial problems.
These are some of the English books that helped me to improve my English.
It was very hard when I came as a new arrival in Australia. The environment was totally different; everything was different. I didn’t know what to do or where to go. For example, once I went to the city to learn about how to work in a coffee shop. I couldn’t find my way. I had the address but I didn’t know how to use the GPS on a phone. Public transport makes it easier to decide how to go where you want to.
This picture represents the long path we need to travel on to achieve our goal. If you want to be a person who can improve and help people, you need to travel a long distance. Sometimes it’s not easy and you have to accept that there will be difficulties.
For instance, when I studied for a Certificate III in Childcare, I had to go by train and by bus. Sometimes the timetable was very horrible and I had to wait for a long time in bad weather. When you don’t have a car in Australia it’s hard if you have to go a long distance for your education.
I did this certificate at the same time as doing my language classes, and I was working too. All of this meant I needed good time management skills. I also had to be at home sometimes to help my siblings. This photo symbolises continuing towards your goal for a better future.
I experienced inequality in my home country where there is no freedom and women don’t have many rights. I had plans for my future when I was in my home country, but unpredictable things happened every day.
I know that difficult situations sometimes make you brave or powerful. In that kind of situation you need a big heart to be brave [and] to accept difficulties. This is not easy. In Australia there are more opportunities and freedoms. If we have freedom we can improve ourselves and become what we want to be. The ability to improve yourself or society doesn’t relate to whether you are female or male.