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Postgraduate Study in Australia

Surviving and Succeeding

Edited By Christopher McMaster, Caterina Murphy, Benjamin Whitburn and Inger Mewburn

Each contributor to this book was given the remit: "If you could go back in time to talk with yourself when you began your studies, what advice would you give?" Hindsight is such a bonus, especially, when vying for your doctorate or postgraduate degree. Postgraduate Study in Australia: Surviving and Succeeding addresses this with advice from postgraduate students and recent graduates that will assure that you are not alone in your endeavors.

This project follows similar editions that focus on Aotearoa/New Zealand, South Africa,
the United States, and the United Kingdom, and is currently being replicated in Scandinavia. This down-to-earth anthology shares personal stories from postgraduate students and recent graduates, employing a practical approach and focusing on the context of postgraduate studies in Australia. This first-person approach to research about postgraduate study helps curate the current understanding, with critical reflections adding to our collective knowledge. Both prospective and current postgraduate students will find this collection insightful.

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Chapter Twenty-six: It Should Not Be a Lonely Journey: Being an International Student in Australia (Khoi Ngoc Mai)


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It Should Not Be A Lonely Journey

Being an International Student in Australia



My favorite childhood memory is that of exploring the hilly terrain beyond my grandmother’s garden. I remember treading carefully on the narrowly winding and uprising footpath that seemed to have no end. As a child, I was scared of falling down, yet stubborn enough to not chicken out. Perhaps it was my curiosity and adventurism, in addition to the cheering encouragements of my playmates that kept me climbing the precipitous hill. Doing postgraduate study can in many ways resemble an arduous mountain climb. It requires passion, careful planning, strength, and dogged persistence. It is an individual journey with an end goal, to reach the summit and to graduate with flying colors and rewarding comments from the examiners. However, more importantly, the journey itself is more valuable and memorable than its results. Doing a postgraduate degree means pushing yourself ahead every day, learning from your own mistakes in order to get back on the right track, and supporting and being supported by your fellow postgraduate students. For me, as an international student from Asia, that journey in a foreign land seems even more daunting. I was 26 when I committed myself to the project. Young and inexperienced, I stood at the foot of the mountain and just started climbing. Now, writing this just a couple of months...

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