Your Story Winner Issue 21.04: My story as an international student at UniSA

By Nabil Imran

As always, a story begins with a name and a bit of history. My name is Nabil Imran and I’m from Malaysia. Before I transferred to Adelaide, I was studying at Taylor’s University in Malaysia. I did two years of my degree back home and only came to Australia for my final year of study. I can now say I wished that I had transferred here earlier rather than later, as the experience that I have gathered here in the past few months is purely unbelievable and unforgettable.

I never thought I’d say this but, “Hey Dad, you were right.” I did not want to transfer here to Adelaide as I was comfortable with my life back home but my dad, being the strict and strong-willed person that he is, convinced me to give it a go. Saying ‘no’ to my dad would usually cause a similar to pattern to occur: repercussions that lead to reverberations, which would cause me to require recuperation. Not that he is abusive—he’s just doing what every dad should do, which is encouraging his children to try something new.

I can now say that I’m really glad I listened to my dad, which is not something that you would hear me say every day. My experiences at UniSA and in Adelaide have been nothing short of spectacular and they will definitely stay with me ‘til God claims me back from the land of the living.

Before I came here, I was a slacker, and I probably still am. My assignment usually gets going a day before it’s due and I would only open my textbook a few days before the exams. My friends could actually faint by watching how I work and they often label me ‘crazy’ due to some of the ridiculous nonsense that I can conjure up. However, even though I’m still quite the slacker, I would like to clarify that perception and say that I have changed, albeit in a small and rather insignificant manner. There’s still more that I can do, should’ve done and if I could, I would’ve done them if I had the chance.

What’s the most important thing about transferring to UniSA as an international student? Firstly, I met plenty of other international students, ranging from China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, India, Australia, the Ukraine, Jordan and the list goes on. You may ask what’s the benefit and I’d say like it or not, you’ll find yourself changing your behavior as you’d feel really pathetic being in their company if you were a slacker like me while they’re all so motivated and active in extracurricular activities. I’m not saying that I’ve changed completely, but I have been doing things that I never envisioned myself doing back home. I started to volunteer and join university activities. Important message to other international students: please join any university club and societies. Trust me, you won’t regret it and you’ll gain plenty of experience that you never believed possible.

Slight detour here, I highly recommend any international student to join the Global Experience Program, as it’s really beneficial. You don’t have to pay for it and it’s not compulsory to complete. Not that I’m encouraging you guys to not complete it but just to clarify, you can still graduate from your program even if you did not complete the GE program, so worry not. You’ll meet plenty of wonderful people there and the staff members are really helpful.

What was the most difficult thing I experienced when I first arrived here? Missing my family is one thing, but I also missed my close friends back in Malaysia, my Xbox and pile of games just begging me to take them with me to Adelaide, and, of course, watching the Barclays Premier League on live television.  Once again, worry not. You can still catch the games at the casino, in the local pub or if you’re privileged enough, watching the game at your friends’ place and gleefully shouting at them when your team scores. That bit about missing your friends back home? You’ll still be in touch with them and you’ll make some really good friends here as well. You can still Skype your family members, so you won’t be missing them too badly. You’ll miss plenty of stuff back home, but you’ll be able to handle it. I did, as did all the other international students here.

What is the best thing so far that I’ve experienced here in Adelaide? Joining the ‘Your Culture My Culture’ program at UniSA was definitely a blast, as we had a trip to Hahndorf, a picnic in the Botanic Gardens, and we even went surfing. You don’t get these kinds of experiences back home, so wherever you come from, I encourage you to try this program out as it’s a wonderful experience.

I was also lucky enough to be given the chance to catch an AFL game (it’s a mixture of rugby and soccer), which was definitely memorable as you’ll never be able to catch an AFL game anywhere else in the world (it’s called AustralianFootball League for a reason). If you have the opportunity, just try and catch an AFL game. You may like it or you may not. At least you’ll be able to tell your friends and family back home that you’ve watched an AFL game.

There are tons of other things that I could talk about but my word limit alert is already beeping, so I guess I should just leave it here for now. In a nutshell, all I can say is that my experience as an international student here at UniSA has been fantastic and unforgettable. I definitely will cherish it, as clichéd as it sounds. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask anyone around and they’ll be more than happy to guide you. Ask Campus Central, go to the UniSA website or like I suggested, just ask around. We won’t bite.

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