“Sydney was a city I only saw in Bollywood movies, I never thought I would be living here.” In a world struggling to grapple with a new normal amidst COVID-19, stories like that of Nepalese International College of Management, Sydney (ICMS) student, Ojaswi Shrestha, are a testament to the resilience of international students in challenging times.
Shrestha, who is studying a Master of Management (Tourism and Hospitality) at ICMS has said, “I come from a humble middle-class family in Nepal. My family has always emphasised my education more than anything. I have always been surrounded by strong and independent women since childhood, be it my grandmother, aunties, or my mother and that has always motivated me to achieve and outdo myself.”
Growing up seeing her grandmother as a restaurant entrepreneur and her mother as a hotelier sparked Shrestha’s interest in the dynamic industries of tourism and hospitality. She has big dreams to “help Nepal’s tourism industry in a sustainable way.” Shrestha has been able to position herself well in a time of uncertainty as those who graduate with a postgraduate qualification from ICMS benefit from a variety of enhanced career opportunities including up to 600 hours of work-integrated learning.
Shrestha’s time at ICMS has allowed her to excel in all aspects of her life “the college offers so much to students which is not limited to just academics. There are numerous activities where you can really be involved, it truly helps you to get out of your comfort zone and explore new things.” Shrestha also speaks highly of the Sydney lifestyle she once thought she would only experience in movies. “The diversity and inclusivity of Sydney is amazing. You can learn so much from different people and their perspectives, it helps to broaden your horizons. I was thinking of moving out of Sydney because of the economic pressures brought on by COVID-19 but there are so many opportunities here, it is hard to let go.”
The adversity caused by the pandemic has been tough for everyone. Being an international student, Shrestha knows this all too well. “Although going through COVID -19 is extremely challenging from an economic point of view – emotionally and mentally it has made me stronger and more resilient in times of hardship.” Shrestha attributes this optimistic outlook to the support she was provided by her family and ICMS.
Every year ICMS provides a comprehensive range of scholarship opportunities for students. As a two-time recipient of The Postgraduate Innovation Scholarship, Shrestha found this to be a great opportunity and relief in combination with support provided by the ICMS Student Success Centre.
Looking to the future, Shrestha says “my goal is to enjoy every moment here in Australia, gather as much knowledge as I can, and really work on my craft and skills so that I can make a significant and sustainable impact in the tourism industry of my country Nepal.”
To her fellow students, Shresta encourages them to: find strength in challenging times, ask for support – and never give up on your big goals.
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