In late 2017, nursing student Tadesse Chinkie was one of two recipients of the Allianz Worldwide Partners Refugee Scholarship in partnership with Western Sydney University. Insider Guides spoke to Tadesse about his experience arriving in Australia, the importance of study, small encouragements, and chasing every opportunity.

Settling into Australia

For Tadesse, adjusting to his new life in Australia was a bit of a challenge at first. “I just left my family and the culture and everything, back in Ethiopia. So it was a bit different,” he says. “For a few months, it was challenging to communicate and to work, so it was a bit tough. But then I tried to manage, tried to engage with people. And things got better and better.”

Currently, Tadesse is in his third and final year of study, completing a Bachelor of Nursing degree at Western Sydney University.

“I love studying a Bachelor of Nursing,” he says. “It’s part of my career progression. I would like to help people who are not able to help themselves.”

It’s clear from the way he speaks that Tadesse holds a genuine passion for Western Sydney University. “The first thing I found is that Western Sydney University was very lovely, interesting and a multicultural university,” he says.

“It was a helpful and supportive environment. Especially being in Western Sydney, there’s Australians, Nepalese, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Arabic people… so it’s everyone together here. Very multicultural!”

The Allianz Worldwide Partners Refugee Scholarship

Through Western Sydney University, Tadesse discovered the Allianz Worldwide Partners Refugee Scholarship. It was the perfect opportunity for him to seek extra support while he studied.

“I have a family, I have two kids. I’m working, I’m studying. My wife is studying as well,” he says. “I am new to Australia, so it’s a bit challenging to work and study, especially for financial reasons.

“I was looking for something to support myself financially … so I got a chance to apply for assistance through the Allianz Worldwide Partners Scholarship. I attended the interview and was selected, and got awarded the scholarship until I finish my study.”

Tadesse says the scholarship has helped in more ways than one. “The scholarship helps financially support my uni course and costs, like stationery, transport, books and uniform. But it also helps psychologically,” he says. “I’ve just become strong. Strong and encouraged.”

And how did he feel when he learned he’d be receiving the scholarship?

“I was so excited!” he says. “Very, very happy.”

Looking into the future

After graduation, Tadesse can’t wait to start working in the local healthcare industry. “The first thing, I would be working in one of the Australian hospitals after I finish. I’m just trying to help the Australian people,” he says. “The other thing, I would like to study a bit harder. This scholarship opportunity has honestly encouraged me and there are a lot of opportunities in Western Sydney, so I’ll be working in the hospital for a few years and then I will keep on studying just a bit further.”

As part of his Bachelor degree, Tadesse has already completed ten weeks of practical studies at Australian hospitals. The experience, he says, was very interesting and helped him gain further confidence working in the Australian system. The best part was, one of his placements turned into a job.

“I just got offered a job at one of the hospitals, where I worked during a clinical placement — St George Hospital in Sydney!” he says. “I got a job and I’ll start on Monday!”

Advice for other students

When asked if he has any advice for fellow students who want to apply for a scholarship, Tadesse believes you have to be in it to win it. Besides, he says, sometimes a little bit of encouragement can make a whole world of difference.

“I just encourage [students] to try anything,” he says. “I encourage them to try every opportunity. I want to motivate other students to apply for this and other scholarships, because every little bit helps.

“I really would like to thank Western Sydney University and Allianz Worldwide Partners for giving me this chance. It’s a great opportunity.”

The Allianz Worldwide Partners Refugee Scholarship was available through Western Sydney University to students who had been granted a humanitarian visa, demonstrated equity considerations, and were undertaking a degree in one of the following schools:

  • School of Education
  • School of Medicine
  • School of Nursing and Midwifery
  • School of Science and Health

Applications have now closed, however, to discover more opportunities with Western Sydney University, visit the Western Sydney University website.