How many hours have you spent online, researching universities, colleges, and courses? We’re going to bet…. many. Many hours. Scouring the Internet for course fees, intake dates, and scholarships is a complex maze of information, and it’s no wonder that so many people leave their university or college applications until the very last minute.
Online course counselling is a much easier (and fruitful!) path towards deciding what and where you’ll study. Experts in education are, after all, best placed to help you achieve your study goals.
Experts in education, like Nicholas Lyall.
Nicholas is a researcher at the Australian National University. His professional experience has spanned the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors, and so it comes as no surprise that Nicholas has an incredibly strong grasp on what Australian university life is all about.
“It’s impossible to spend a day at an Australian university without being exposed to an incredibly wide and diverse range of views and ideas different to your own’, he says. ‘This is the perfect environment to grow your mind and become a more well-rounded and capable individual.”
It’s experts in education like Nicholas, whose extensive experience and knowledge can provide you with course counselling that is unparalleled to what you can find out on your own.
We sat down with Nicholas to chat more about his story, and to find out why he chose to take on his role with Sofiri as an Education Expert.
Sofiri: Hi Nicholas! Tell us a little about your story.
I was born in London to a British dad and an American mum. We moved to Australia in 1997 and I’ve lived here ever since.
My experience of the Australian education system began in pre-school and extended all the way through to university. I attended primary and secondary school in Canberra, and then went on to study at the University of Sydney.
I have had quite a diverse professional history, having been involved in the private, public, and not-for-profit sector. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this diversity, as it’s given me a wider and more pluralistic knowledge base than if I’d stayed working in one area.
For the past couple of years I have been working as a researcher at the Australian National University. Here, I have worked at the National Security College, the Melanesia studies program, and the International Relations Department.
Before that, I worked at the Grains Research and Development Corporation, which is the government body responsible for facilitating the agricultural science research that helps our farmers grow crops.
At various points over the previous several years, I’ve also worked in the start-up industry. I covered roles at the Griffin Accelerator in Canberra (helping a start-up there with its marketing strategy) as well as at General Assembly in Sydney (where I was an entrepreneur liaison and helped with social media strategy).
Sofiri: What is it about Australian people and the culture here that drew you to stay here?
I appreciate Australia’s diversity.
People here are from absolutely all backgrounds and cultures. Australian culture is a very interesting mix of lots of other global cultures – we really are a multicultural society.
“It’s easy to find people with common perspectives to you. It’s just as easy to find people with very different perspectives to you as well. I find this balance incredibly important and worthwhile. This is something you will find nowhere more so than at our universities.”
It’s easy to find people with common perspectives to you. It’s just as easy to find people with very different perspectives to you as well. I find this balance incredibly important and worthwhile. This is something you will find nowhere more so than at our universities.
Sofiri: What would you advise a future student on the employment opportunities in Australia for university and college graduates?
There is a huge focus in Australia at the moment on promoting the ‘innovation economy’. The government is really pushing to have more start-ups created. This means there is a lot of support for entrepreneurs.
This is also the case at Australian universities, where there are many entrepreneurship incubators and initiatives with great financial support. If you’re willing to show a bit of initiative and determination, the job opportunities in entrepreneurship are widespread and well-resourced here.
Sofiri: What are some of the most important questions people should ask themselves when they’re choosing what to study?
First of all, ‘is this the best university for my specific field of study?’. While some universities may have great overall reputations, you may find that another, lesser-known university will be a better venue for the specific degree that you want to study.
Another important question to ask is, ‘In what ways does the university support my goals outside of the classroom?’. For example, does it have a good, well-resourced careers centre? Or does it help organise internships in your field of study?
Sofiri: Couldn’t agree more, Nicholas! What led you to become an Education Expert with Sofiri?
I’d like to put my diverse work history, as well as my wide base of interests and life experiences, to positive use. I’m in a great position to be able to help provide prospective students get both a big-picture understanding as well as a detailed perspective on the huge amount of opportunities available at Australian universities (and in Australia in general)!
Honestly, I love living in this country and believe that the quality of our universities is incredibly high. Not only do I have expert knowledge of the Australian education system, I also have expert knowledge of what it’s like to live in Sydney and in Canberra. This makes me extremely well placed to help aspiring students in a very meaningful way.
Sofiri: Thanks, Nicholas, for sharing your story!
Whether you’re considering an English language course, bachelor degree, master’s degree, or PhD research, Sofiri is a free and convenient way to find out what you’re eligible to study. Our Education Experts – like Nicholas Lyall – are some of the most knowledgeable professionals in the education industry today.
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