When OzTREKK students Parham Esfahani and Naayla Khan first started seriously thinking about studying as a couple outside of Canada, Australia immediately stood out.
With its climate and unique spectrum of flora and fauna to enhance outdoor adventures, Naayla said the natural beauty and the high-quality Australian academic scene were obvious attributes for taking the plunge into studying as a couple in Oz.
“Growing up in the Middle East, being of Indian origin and studying in Canada has really made the idea of moving and exploring new places seem very natural to me, so when Parham introduced to me the idea of studying abroad for our masters, I was very excited,” Naayla said, noting they had several options, but Australia was always at the top of the list.
“Academically speaking, Australia has some of the world’s top universities and the quality of education being offered was a definite focal point for us.”
OzTREKK sees numerous Canadian couples apply to Australian universities. It’s the perfect way to combine travelling with further education, seeing the world with your loved one – while also keeping your eye on the future.
Naayla said deciding to study together and move across the globe was made easier knowing how well she and Parham work together as a team. “We have both spent countless hours studying together for our undergraduate classes and we know that we are both huge nerds that don’t leave the table until we are done with our work,” Naayla said.
Once they decided to study in Australia, Naayla said the application process was a breeze. Parham agrees, noting that the preparation experience was much simpler than he thought it would be.
“With OzTREKK’s assistance, things went very smoothly; (Admissions Officer) Shannon’s timely responses and kind attendance to our case guided us every step of the way, making it seem very easy and effortless,” he said.
To that end, he offered advice for Canadians considering starting the process of studying as a couple in Australia: get lots of information and enlist OzTREKK.
“Attending an Australian university fair at your university and speaking to some of the presenters there is probably the best first step, just to get an idea of what programs are available and what the admission and program requirements are,” he said. “After making a decision on what universities I was interested in applying to, enlisting OzTREKK’s help in the application and pre-departure phase of the journey made life much easier. It allowed me to focus on school, while I relied on Shannon to remind me of important dates and to answer any questions I had about the process of applying to a university, accepting their offer and moving to Australia.”
Now that they’re in Oz, the couple is looking forward to digging into their coursework – but also hoping to take in their new surroundings. They’re looking forward to travelling Australia, immersing themselves in the culture and enjoying Sydney’s beaches.
Parham said studying in Australia with a partner is beneficial on a number of levels. “Going to Australia with a partner, for me, means that I will get to share this experience of a lifetime with someone I love and someone who I know I will have a great time with,” he said. “Importantly, going as a couple provides each person with a basic framework of support, helping them with the adjustment to graduate school and life in Australia. In short, I feel that going through this journey with a partner will enhance the experience, in more than just academic terms.”