I arrived in Adelaide in January 2017, with little to no English, but big dreams. I am an Afghan refugee girl who was born and raised in Iran. We had always faced racism and discrimination throughout our life in Iran - no opportunity to study in mainstream schools, we had to pay double or triple the tuition fee to be able to attend school, and we were not allowed to participate in extra-curricular activities or sporting teams.

Everything changed when we received the big news that we were migrating to Australia. After settling in Adelaide, our case manager helped us to enrol at Thebarton Senior College.

With the enormous support and guidance of my NAP (New Arrivals Program) teachers and staff, my English improved significantly within months, and I then successfully transitioned into year 11 and then year 12 to complete my SACE. With all of the opportunities provided during my time at Thebarton, I grew as a student and leader. Upon completing Year 12, I was blessed to receive multiple awards for my community involvement and service, which are listed below. I always felt included in the college, had access to many opportunities and had the encouragement and advice of my teachers.

I remember starting at the college - I didn't know what to expect, I was lost and did not know what to aim for in my future. The teachers and staff guided me through each step of my education and leadership journey. They taught me life-long lessons of resilience and how to be adaptable when I come across obstacles. I owe them my life and my success.

Thebarton is the best place to complete your secondary education, especially for students where English is not their first language. During NAP, as well as learning English, you also learn about Australian society. By participating in clubs within the college, students can also build their confidence, improve their English and communication skills, find like-minded friends, and more importantly, have fun while learning.

Thebarton is very multicultural and a great place for preparing students for a multicultural workplace and outside world. Thebarton has a wide range of unique clubs and programs that you cannot find in any other school. These clubs and groups promote diversity indicating an inclusive and supportive environment. Students get extraordinary opportunities to educate, inspire and motivate not just themselves but also those around them to do their best and realise their potential, to do great for themselves and for their communities.

One of the clubs that I joined was the Rotaract Club, which has a wide range of incredible programs for young people, especially for refugee students. I was the President of the club for two years and started my leadership journey from there, it opened many windows of opportunities for me.

I am now in my second year of a Bachelor of Physiotherapy at Uni SA and am the only Muslim and Afghan girl in the program. My wish is that one day, through education, we can change the world for the better by understanding one another and accepting each other the way we are.

My Awards:
- Order of Australia Association Student Citizenship Award 2019
- Caltex Best All Rounder Award 2019
- College Distinction Award 2019
- Australia Day Council of South Australia Leadership in Languages and Cultures Award 2020
- City of Salisbury Young Citizen of the Year 2021
- Governor's Multicultural Awards - Youth Category - Finalist 2021
- 7 News Young Achiever Awards SA Multicultural Youth South Australia Spirit of Resilience Award 2021
  • AuthorZahra
  • Date13-Oct-21
  • CategoriesTerm4