Case Study

"The welcoming nature and hospitality of the people of Geelong makes it stand apart from a major capital city."

- Aayushree Kharel

Q: What attracted you to Geelong as a destination to study and live?

A: After completing my bachelor’s in biotechnology, I was looking for a university with a Masters course that had a combination of biotechnology with bioinformatics. Back then, there weren’t many universities offering this combination. Deakin University Geelong campus was one of the fewer universities offering the program, however, at that time, I had no idea that Geelong was not part of Melbourne. Hence, firstly, it is my course that brought me to Geelong and I must say, that is one of the best decisions because I have fallen in love with this place.

Q: Can you describe your experience in first arriving in the City 

A: One of the thoughts I had during my first few days after arriving in Geelong is – it is so quiet. I am from Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, and you can hear cars honking, dogs barking pressure cooker whistling, people talking- it is a busy city. Geelong was the complete opposite, all I could hear was the wind blowing and the rustling of leaves. It took me a while to get used to the silence but soon after, I started embracing the calmness of the place.

Q: What is it about live/work/study here that you find appealing – what is it that makes you want to stay?

A: I cannot think of only one reason that has made me to stay in Geelong, however, I have tried my best to summarize few of the crucial points:

  • It is amazing how a place can teach you so much.
  • The places I have lived in are almost like two individuals with different personalities. Kathmandu taught me to hustle, get myself noticed and make a fortune for myself. Geelong has taught me to take a step back, soak in the serenity and appreciate people around me.
  • It is the livelihood of Geelong that makes me want to stay here. In terms of living, it is a regional area but it has almost everything a city has to offer. Also, Melbourne is only an hour away, so if you ever miss the city life, you can just hop on the V-line.
  • The work-life balance of the people is great and everyone is supportive and encouraging. It is great to see managers/supervisors taking time to understand your career aspirations and support you.
  • As an international student, it is important to feel like we are part of the community. The diversity that international students have brought to Geelong is noteworthy and the way the locals have welcomed us is commendable. Whether it be the Pako Festival or multi-cuisined restaurants along little Malop street or locals opening their door to international students, it is evident that the people of Geelong respect us and like the diversity we bring to the region. In terms of studies, Geelong has great universities, schools and TAFE institute. I think the calmness of the place has helped me stay focused academically.
  • When COVID-19 started, I was at the end of my Master’s degree and I could have relocated myself. However, the support I received from the locals and organisations (Study Geelong in particular) helped me get through difficult times. As an international student, living in a foreign land during a pandemic is daunting, however, knowing that there is support available and people willing to help, gave me a sense of belonging to the region.
  • It is a plus point that Geelong is so rich in biodiversity, whether it be the Otway National Park or a walk along the Eastern Beach, visiting these places gives you a chance to take a break from whatever is happening in life and rejuvenate yourself.

Q: How would you describe the community in Geelong. What makes it different from moving to a major capital city?

A: The people – I am amazed by the welcoming nature of the locals in Geelong. When you hop on the bus, the driver greets you with a ‘Good day’, when you take a stroll down the park, people exchange smiles, at the local cafes the staff try their best to not just give you the best coffee but also, have a chat with you. The welcoming nature and hospitality of the people of Geelong makes it stand apart from major capital city.

Q: What would your advice be to any students (domestic or international) considering Geelong as a study destination.

A: Give Geelong a chance – even though it is a regional area, there is so much this place has to offer. Moving to a place for studies is a long-term commitment. I moved to Geelong in 2018 and have been here for almost 4 years now.  Hence, it is important to research about the place and understand what the region has to offer. As students, some of the essential points in the checklist are – good education institute, peaceful studying environment, flexible work opportunities, access to sports and recreational activities and support for health and wellbeing. Geelong ticks all these boxes and hence I think you should consider the region for further studies.

Q: What do you love most about Geelong?

A: It is like a puzzle – the people, the diversity, the culture, the forests and beaches, the serenity, the food, the café culture, the constant support from people around you – all of these make me love Geelong. It is a package that you sign up to and the combination that Geelong holds is amazing.