The person I am today as a student in my final semester is completely different from who I was in my first semester.
There’s a lot to be said for family traditions, particularly when it comes to selecting a university and choosing a career path. International student Sweta Maharjan is the fourth member of her family to study at Charles Darwin University, pursuing her dream of becoming a chartered accountant like her dad.
Family is everything to Sweta. Her drive to study accounting bloomed as a child growing up in Nepal, where she witnessed her father’s passion and professionalism when going about his work as the chairman of a cooperative.
“I’ve always seen my father wearing a proper suit to work,” Sweta said. “I remember him giving speeches at annual general meetings in his role as chairman, and he’s still the chair, delivering speeches each year!”
As a little girl, Sweta would picture herself as an adult, following in her father’s footsteps as a chartered accountant, a dream and tradition her dad was delighted to support by encouraging Sweta to study a Bachelor of Accounting. Sweta’s aunt, uncle and sister had wonderful experiences as students at Charles Darwin University and were quick to recommend it to her.
“My aunt, uncle and my sister have been living in Darwin for more than five years,” Sweta said. “They told me all about the city when I was making up my mind about where to study.
“Some things, like the weather, are very similar to Nepal, which made it easier for me to adapt to life here.”
Until making the move to Australia to study with CDU, Sweta had lived her life under her parents’ wings and it took a while to get used to her new life as an international university student, where she would have to fend for herself.
“The reality of my first day of university did not meet my expectations,” Sweta said. “I was feeling homesick, I didn’t know anyone, and because English was my third language, I struggled with communication barriers.”
“Everywhere I looked, I saw strangers and I started really missing my friends back home. I was too shy to ask questions in class, and it took me some time to adjust to the pace of university study. Plus I had no idea how to balance study and work. There were just so many adjustments I had to make in my life.”
By talking to her family about how she was feeling and learning from their similar experiences, Sweta said her confidence began to grow.
“After the first semester, I had learned how to manage my time better and I was able to keep on top of my study load,” Sweta said.
“I’d developed the confidence to ask questions in class when I was having trouble understanding. I’d also made some great friends and by having a support network at university I was coping better with feelings of homesickness.”
By Semester 2 of her first year, Sweta had joined the ranks of CDU’s Student Ambassadors, where she made lifelong friends and helped new students make the transition to university life.
“The person I am today as a student in my final semester is completely different from who I was in my first semester,”
“I feel more confident because of everything I’ve experienced along the way—the good and the bad—and I know I can do things that used to scare me.”
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