Thousands of Nepalese students choose Australia as their destination for further studies every year. In 2019, a report showed that 69,315 students enrolled for tertiary studies in Australia. The report further stated that Nepali students were the third highest source of international student enrolments as per nationality – after China and India respectively.
What makes Australia such a popular destination for aspiring students, one might wonder?
Seeking answers for the same, Nepalese Voice reached out to UTS Insearch, a premier institution providing pathway courses to thousands of students each year, of whom many are Nepalese. Our team spent a day meeting with students, speaking with administration members, and exploring UTS Insearch and UTS campus – to understand UTS Insearch, and accordingly the Australian education system.
We first spoke to Ms. Natasha Wheeler who is responsible for marketing and student acquisition at UTS Insearch. “Many a time, when an international student arrives in Australia, they are dealing with a number of changes – moving away from home, learning their way around the city, making new friends, and other personal/social issues. Take that, and add a lecture hall with 500 students inside a university classroom, and the environment could be daunting”, Ms. Wheeler says, introducing the purpose of UTS Insearch.
“We specialise in transitional education; it’s going from high school to a pathway and then to university. What’s good about UTS Insearch, and pathway programs, is that we prepare students for university by honing their academic, cognitive, and interactive skills”, she adds.
We also learn that UTS Insearch designs its courses in collaboration with UTS – therefore, upon completion of their diploma, students will have essentially completed ‘what would have been their first year in university’ – the only difference being ‘students in UTS Insearch learned in smaller sized classrooms’. We learn from Ms. Wheeler that ‘UTS Insearch students are also permitted to use the facilities of the main campus, including UTS library and study areas. UTS Insearch also encourages active participation of students in social activitiesat UTS”, she adds with a certain sense of pride about her work and UTS Insearch.
Study Success Adviser
You know an institution really cares about their students when they set up a team of seven members to exclusively help students to succeed. According to Patty Norden, Study Success Adviser at UTS Insearch, the team of advisers is available between 9 – 5 during office hours, and 24 hours via email.
When asked about the purpose of the body, she explains that “they provide support to their currently enrolled students – say for example, a lot of students coming into Australia struggle with the education system initially. The advisers help them on several issues pertaining to academic success such as how to research a certain assignment or simply how to manage time”.
The body also has early intervention strategies, wherein they identify and contact students who are at risk of failing within the first four weeks of the semester. When asked how they identify such students, Ms. Norden explained that “they monitor student attendance, listen to teachers’ advice, and evaluate past performance. Once the student has been identified, we reach out to students to understand and resolve the concern”, she adds.
The Study Success Advisersare also not limited to academic concerns, we learn from Ms. Norden. They help students deal with several social or health issues, such as difficulty in adapting to the new campus or the city, social anxiety, and or mental health issues.
“They come and see us first, and then we refer them to onto the counseling services”, who follow up with them accordingly.
When asked how Study Success Advisers encourage students to reach out to them, Ms. Norden explains to us that “they introduce themselves to the students during orientation, and continuously encourage them to reach out via follow-up emails.” We also learn that teachers play a major role in identifying students who need help, and accordingly notify the advisers, who then reach out to the students.
Ms. Norden also explains us that she sometimes reaches directly to the Nepali students, and speaks to them in Nepali which helps the them relax and address their concerns freely.
UTS Insearch Graduate
UTS IT Student
Our interview with Mr. Pramesh Shrestha takes a slightly unconventional turn. We talk as Mr. Shrestha takes us along the several campuses of UTS that sprawl across Sydney’s bustling CBD, and at the same time he shares his wonderful experience of studying in UTS, and his enjoyable experience in Australia.
Mr. Shrestha,who will be graduating from UTS in 2021, takes us down memory lane to his orientation day at UTS Insearch. He remembers it being very helpful – the entire process of familiarising himself with the campus, getting his student ID, his student email and ID, and meeting new mates.
Pramesh loved his educational experience at UTS Insearch. He believes his academic success could be attributed to the totality of experiences at UTS Insearch – a mix of classroom setting lessons, practical applications, presentations with classmates of different backgrounds, and other academic and cultural experiences.
Pramesh also involved himself in a lot of activities during his time at UTS Insearch – which he believes helped him immensely. “The volunteer program helped me gain various sets of skills, including social, communication, and networking skills”, he adds.
When asked how he manages his busy schedule, he says it could be because he is driven by a passion. He also stresses priortising important tasks. For example, he would place his academics (assignments, tests) first, and then carve out time for other activities. “I use Google Calendar, which is very effective – it sends me reminders about upcoming events”, he says, emphasising his organisational skills.
Concluding our tour of the beautiful campus, Pramesh shares his dream of establishinga startup upon completion of his course at UTS. He speaks briefly about UTS Startups, an intriguing department at UTS which helps students who wish to begin businesses. According to Pramesh, ‘students with new ideas reach out to UTS Startups, and they help you on key aspects of making the initiative a success. They give you ideas on how to build your team, how to find investors, and how to further enhance the product/service’.
“I am thinking about a few ideas that I would like to work on. Hopefully, I will have a concrete idea by the time I finish university”, Pramesh tells us with a passionate zeal.