Even as a little girl, I had the dream of coming to Australia. I had an uncle who lived in Perth and he would always bring us gifts and tell us stories. This is why I have been fascinated with Australia from a very young age.
I completed my Bachelor of Computer Science in India and worked for three years as a technical support consultant. However, it was just a matter of time before I made plans to move abroad. With the help of IDP Education, I applied to study a Masters in Business Information Management and Systems. Thankfully, I was offered a place at La Trobe University and so in 2008, I headed for Australia.
The dream of a student visa comes with a few challenges
But first I had to sit an IELTS test! I was already exposed to the English language during my studies and at work, and even spoke it at home, but I still made sure I practised by reading newspapers, novels and reviewing online resources. I didn’t have a lot of trouble getting the required score. So in 2008, I started the journey that would fulfill a long-held dream and left for Australia!
Australia was everything I had imagined it to be – and more! I loved the people, the beaches, the environment, the lifestyle and the culture. I enjoyed studying at university and fast became friends with my housemates and classmates. Initially, I found it a bit hard to figure out the Australian accent, especially during daily conversation, but eventually I just began to pick it up.
I had to deliver a much higher level of English skills
I completed my degree in 2010 and started the steps to allow me to stay in Australia. After graduation, I had to apply for temporary residency that would allow me to go on a bridging visa before I could apply for my permanent residency.
I had to take the IELTS test once again. I was able to easily prove my skills were at the level required for the visa, but the timing was pretty tight because my visa was due to expire. I had been offered a job and had this wonderful opportunity in my hands, but couldn’t celebrate because my situation was still uncertain. Finally, I was given my bridging visa days before my visa expiry.
My journey didn’t end there. My temporary visa would expire in a year’s time, and so I knew that I would have to apply for permanent residency very soon. Part of that process is to take another IELTS test. This time I had to deliver a much higher level of English language skills which I was not prepared for.
I was determined to show I had mastered the English language
I was doing everything I could to improve my English skills. I was practising every day. However, I kept missing the required score by just a margin. I took a lot of tests and was getting increasingly frustrated. Many people I knew went back home, but I was headstrong. I kept trying. Finally, I decided I needed to do more than retake the test repeatedly.
I enrolled in an English language class. Thankfully, there are many accredited language schools in Australia that help people like me who want to build our English language skills to a higher level.
Taking that step was just what I needed to get the IELTS score for permanent residency. I advise anyone to take classes. If you are moving abroad, always try to practice your communication skills. Attending an English language class will help a lot in making you feel more ready for living abroad.
Australia is the country I now call home
When I finally achieved the score I needed, I felt fantastic! It was the best day of my life. You wouldn’t be surprised to know that I applied for my citizenship as soon as I could. I am now looking for my own place, to firmly plant my roots in the country I call home.
My IELTS score and my Australian citizenship are by far my two biggest achievements!