Close up photo of Omotola sitting on a lounge in Auchmuty library, smiling at the camera

Your Stories – Meet Omotola

Name: Omotola

Degree: Masters in Public Health

Why did you decide to study public health?

Public health is an interdisciplinary course – it covers fields such as policy, research, communications, health, equity, business and finance. Public health encompasses what we do in our daily lives, it’s the practice of medicine not just the clinical aspect. It covers accessibility to ensure everybody has access to health regardless of gender, race or abilities. Everybody has the right to access equal and free healthcare. That’s one of the reasons why I love volunteering in health-related areas, to make sure everybody is included.

Omotola studying in the Auchmuty Library

What volunteer work have you participated in?

In Nigeria, I volunteered for different NGOs. I did campaigns for menstrual health which involved travelling to secondary schools and under-privileged communities to distribute free sanitary towels and provide education on menstrual health and awareness. We also went to communities living in poverty and distributed food and clothing.

I spend time outside of study volunteering for Uni Crew and working for UNSA, a student-friendly organisation that takes part in events on campus such as Wednesday BBQs, Stress Less week, Orientation and more. Through UNSA, I get to meet more international students like myself and be more involved with the university community. Uni is not just about studying, it’s also about being part of the events and student community.

Omotola volunteering at the trimester Orientation BBQ

What has your experience been like as an international student?

I moved to Newcastle last year in January from Nigeria. Australia is such a beautiful place, that’s why I chose to live here. Culture shock, making friends and navigating life on my own without family has been challenging but fun. I love the beach but the climate and weather are so weird. One minute it’s sunny and the next it’s raining! I wanted to come to Australia to build something for myself – to study, work and have a family of my own.

Exploring the Sydney Harbour

Combining study and work to pay my living fees is a real struggle. International students like me try to work a lot to compensate financially. It’s more expensive to live on campus so I currently rent an apartment with others in a suburb close by. Aside from finances, trying to adapt to a new culture, lifestyle, and finding your community is very daunting for international students, especially when they come from countries where English isn’t their primary language. Home sickness too. Christmas was different for me last year. I’ve always spent it at home in Nigeria celebrating with my family but last year I mostly just slept.

Do you have any advice for other students?

Make more memories. Time flies, it feels like yesterday I was arriving in Sydney but I’m already about to start my second year. As much as possible, make memories. Get involved with everything, live your best life. I study but I party as well. I work as much as I want to work but I save time to go to the beach, the museum and spend time with my friends because I want to make memories that will stay with me.

Omotola at the Colour Scramble at Ourimbah

By getting involved with other people and hearing them say “where are you from?”, “I love your hair” or “I love your eyes, the way you smile”, it means a lot and puts you out there. People don’t know you when you keep to yourself in your room. Volunteer, go to careers services, get merch and free food, join clubs, make friends, find your circle and study because that’s also important as well. Challenges come and go, but stay hopeful and be yourself.

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2 thoughts on “Your Stories – Meet Omotola

  1. Well said girl! I agree with you totally. It still sounds a tad stressful merging everything together though. I guess your time management skills are top notch😃

  2. Wow. I also want to have masters in Public Health if Dietetics will take time due to several requirements for international students

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