Now in his fourth year of a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degree at the University of Tasmania, James Jong says he’s certain living and studying in Tasmania has been one of the best decisions he’s made.

James studied medicine in Kuala Lumpur, in his native country of Malaysia, and came to Australia to complete his degree in January 2018.

“I expected I’d be heading to the UK, New Zealand, or one of the big cities in Australia. I ended up being accepted into the University of Tasmania and I have no regrets whatsoever,” James said.

Tasmania wasn’t completely foreign to James: he’d holidayed on the island twice with his family as a teenager. What struck him when he arrived to study and live in Hobart was just how much had changed since his last visit.

“I’d remembered Tasmania being really quiet. But now, there’s been a big influx of immigrants which has given Hobart’s population greater diversity.

There’s a big international cohort at the University of Tasmania and many Malaysians study here.

“Because it’s not a big city or a large university, it’s easier to get to know people, build friendships, and forge professional relationships.”

The 24 year old is studying in Australia on a three-year international student visa. He lives in West Hobart with two other medical students.

“Studying medicine is full-on, so living together, we can support each other and keep each other on track.

The University really looks out for international students. In Tasmania, the community is extremely welcoming, so that makes being away from home so much easier.

“I feel safe here. It’s beautiful. There are not too many people. It’s not too hot or too cold and it’s a great place to relax.”

James is due to graduate in August 2020 and says he has no immediate plans to leave his new ‘island home’.

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