Twelve years ago, Srijana Karki’s family reluctantly farewelled their youngest daughter, as she left their home in Kathmandu, Nepal.
The 19-year-old had always dreamt of studying overseas. Australia was in her sights.
“My parents were really emotional because I was 19 and their youngest daughter and I was leaving for a long period of time,” Srijana said.
“They kept asking me not leave.
“They said: ‘We are a small family, and we can have a better life here! Why do you want to go abroad and want a hard life?
“But I was stubborn, and I had a dream to achieve an international education.
“I always wanted to be independent and strong financially and emotionally.”
Srijana recalls landing in Sydney in July 2009 and catching her first train. She soon settled into her accounting studies.
“As I studied, I worked in a café which helped me develop my English because I was interacting with different customers every day.
“I was busy with 4 days of university and 3.5 days of work.
“I never had any days off. I had to work so hard because I was looking after all my living expenses and bills.”
Srijana graduated from a Bachelor of Accounting in 2013, but she struggled with the sedentary nature of the profession.
“I like moving around all the time and sitting in the same chair 8-9 hours a day was simply not good for me - mentally and physically.
“I left the accounting job, and I went back again to working in a café.”
After almost four years living in Dubbo in NSW, Srijana was granted permanent residency. A friend, who was a Registered Nurse, convinced her to embark on a new career.
Srijana applied to study a Bachelor of Nursing (Fast Track) at the University of Tasmania’s Rozelle campus in Sydney.
“In my first year, I had a plan that if I failed any subject, I would quit and would go back to my old job, but I studied hard with support and guidance from my teachers and friends to overcome many obstacles,” she said.
Whether it was bringing coffee and cakes to tutorials, or inspiring lectures or lab sessions, she credits the support and guidance of friends and staff for helping her complete her degree.
Not even the challenge of switching to online classes during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia could dampen her enthusiasm and application.
“Now I have graduated from the University of Tasmania and I am a Registered Nurse and an Australian citizen, ready to serve with my honesty, kindness and compassion!”
Srijana recently featured on the Humans of UTAS Sydney Facebook page, which was set up by alumnus Dr Chin Liang Beh (BSc Hons 1996), a Lecturer in Bioscience at the School of Health Sciences, College of Health and Medicine.
The page celebrates the University of Tasmania’s diverse range of graduates and students.
“My vision for the page has always been to showcase the genuine and powerfully personal stories of our students’ journeys,” Dr Beh said.