Meet one of Ballarat's International Students - Asia

This is Asia’s story. He is a participant in the Ballart East Neighbourhood House's Ballarat Buddies for International Students pilot project and is currently enrolled as a student at Federation University, Ballarat.

Asia’s story in his own words….

"I am from a very small country, Nepal with very big hills and mountains. So, I basically grew up within nature. My childhood was very fantastic, I was a member of SCOUT (volunteering) and made a lot of childhood friends. My family shifted to the capital city of Nepal 'Kathmandu' to pursue the career of my elder brother and I also came to a new place with the big light, big road, big buildings, many cars. It was like a movie scene for the small child and that child was me.

I completed my secondary and higher education in Kathmandu and I took a break of a year to know myself. I wanted to be a content creator at first and even tried. But I failed in that section because there was quite less support from my family and they wanted me to study and make a career. I then chose to study abroad and applied for a Federation University to study Bachelor of Biotechnology. I came here in February 2020 and I am very happy to be here. Taking specific about Ballarat, I really feel it as my home, small place, sweet people, very good environment, lake, and many more on the list. Fun fact, I have only been to Melbourne and that was when I first landed in Australia, and I have never been into Melbourne because this place is so attractive and also thanks to lockdown."

The Ballarat Buddies for International Students pilot project was inspired by the Ballarat Social Connections Network, created and originally facilitated by the City of Ballarat.

Social Work student and project coordinator, Fiona, who came up with the project idea, writes, "As I pondered what the impacts of the pandemic have had on the global population as a whole, I thought about the local university students who have been doing it a little bit tougher. Economically, most definitely, but living in such isolation and so far from their home country, culture, family and friends, feels like an entirely different thing. More so when back home family and friends are suffering such enormous hardships and distress while living in the time of COVID-19. I remember back in my own traveling days and living abroad experiences and how the moments that stay with you are those when meeting, staying with and/or getting to know the local people. To share in their culture and country through their tales, their eyes and taste is a journey and moment that is treasured. I think the experiences work both ways, we learn together about other culture's ways."

Fiona says, "So what better way to make connections in the broader Ballarat community than to create this pathway. This chance for people to chat online, over the phone and, in time, meet for a cuppa together and engage in some activities as a group."

The Ballarat East Neighbourhood House will coordinate the program, matching 25 community participants/Ballarat Buddies with 25 international students. With funding for this great initiative from the City of Ballarat, we are able to make this possible.

We already have engaged volunteer Ballarat Buddies and some international students, but we still need some more people to participate, both students and community members who are wishing to form some new, informal and meaningful friendships.

Fiona says, "Because if this pandemic has taught us anything, it is the value of human interactions."

If you are keen to join in the Ballarat East Neighbourhood House's Ballarat Buddies for International Students pilot project, please contact Fiona: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 0422 612 052 (please leave a voice message or text and we will get back to you).

Ballarat Buddies for International Students for FB and website POSTCARD back

Ballarat Buddies for International Students for FB and website POSTCARD front