Varun Reddiar has always been a high achiever. With a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from Monash, a Masters of Biotechnology (Advanced) from Deakin University, and a PhD in Chemistry from RMIT University, he’s also a firm believer in the Australian dream.
‘Coming to Australia and fulfilling your goals is inherently achievable’, says Varun.
‘Everybody here is doing it. Many have done it. You can do it as well. All you need is a little patience.’
With over a decade of experience studying and working in the education sector in Australia, Varun has a wealth of knowledge to share with future students. We sat down together to chat, and to ask him for a few of his top tips for future international students.
Sofiri: Tell us a little about yourself and your experience in education.
Twelve years ago, I moved from Sri Lanka to Melbourne to study a Bachelor degree.
I remember feeling quite nervous, and unsure about what to expect. But look at me now – I’m a PhD holder in Applied Chemistry. I’ve also worked for number of universities, and have been involved with specialised research topics.
The education system in Australia empowers you to ‘think outside the box’, and helps you learn to use creativity and critical thinking in problem-solving. The teaching methodologies here don’t spoon-feed students, and I think that encourages independent growth that can continue on into professional life.
Sofiri: What should future students ask themselves?
If you begin looking for employment opportunities in Australia when you graduate, you’ll find that employers seek candidates based on their qualifications and their merit. In Australia, ‘selection criteria’ help eliminate biases. Employers genuinely look for the best in their prospective employees.
So, if you’re choosing what and where you should study, keep this in mind. Ask yourself not only, ‘is this the course I want?’, but also, ‘where do I need it to take me?’. That way, you’re more likely to meet the criteria for a job that you want. Your opportunities can be immense.
Sofiri: How should international students make the most of their time in Australia?
When I first came to Australia, the first place I went to was in the countryside. I met an amazing older couple who took me to a local pub. The population was pretty small, but the quality of life there was mind-blowing. Since that moment at the countryside pub, one of my favourite meals has been a ‘pot’ and ‘parma’ with salad and chips.
You might find that some of your most vivid memories are the ones where you stepped off the beaten track.
Sofiri: What are some of the ways you adjusted to life in Australia, Varun?
I am Sri Lankan, and I have always dealt with living away from home. It can be an unsettling experience, but over time I became accustomed to it. All it took was time.
One suggestion I would make to adjust to life in Australia, is to appreciate smaller, daily differences.
For example – I am familiar with a few languages including English, Sinhala and Tamil. But Australian English is really something else. Hearing the Australian greeting, ‘G’day mate, how you doing?’ first thing in the morning is a great way to start the day. This is something about Australian culture that I’ve come to enjoy and appreciate.
Sofiri: What drew you to becoming an Education Expert with Sofiri?
Honestly, I like to help people. I’m looking forward to the positive impact I know I can make on the educational journeys of aspiring students.
I hold a strong regard for what’s possible to achieve with education. My favourite quote is, ‘An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest’.
Sofiri: Thanks, Varun, for sharing your story!
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