La Trobe welcomes students at O-week

TWO Kenyan women, who are two of more than 50 international students starting at La Trobe next week, chose to study in Bendigo to find out how Australia differs from their home city of Nairobi. 

Silvia Ilere and Zipporah Oduol, who are studying bachelors of nursing, arrived in Bendigo five months ago. 

Ms Illere said the pair were trained nurses back in Keyna but were keen to discover how other countries trained nurses. 

"We are trying to get work as carers here but we can't seem to get any," she said. 

"We are struggling and our money needs to last until March 2015.

"So you can understand that we are beginning to stress out, we'll keep applying for jobs and hopefully something will come up."

Ms Ilere said Australia was interesting and she felt safe in Bendigo. 

"I haven't had any unkind words directed at me," she said. 

" I don't feel threatened."

Ms Zipporah said young children came up to her in the street to ask why her skin wasn't the same colour as theirs.

"It is cute," she said. 

La Trobe international student coordinator Badraa AL-Darkazly works with new students to ensure they integrate into the Bendigo community.

I work with students to make sure they settle in well to life in Bendigo. - La Trobe international student coordinator Badraa AL-Darkazly

"I work with students to make sure they settle in well to life in Bendigo," she said. 

"If they have any financial issues I help them with that.

"The most common issues that arise are the student adjusting to a different education system.

"We provide support for that transition and tell students where they can go to get more help."

City of Greater Bendigo Mayor Barry Lyons said in the official opening of O-Week that Bendigo was honoured to be hosting 52 international students from 23 countries. 

More than 1400 students attended the opening of La Trobe's O-Week on Tuesday. 

La Trobe pro-vice chancellor Professor Richard Speed said that O-Week was an opportunity to welcome all new students. 

merran.reed@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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