Eric Kalapura

Where is your home country?

India and UAE

What languages do you speak?

English and Malayalam

Fun fact

I once city hopped around India by train, travelling over 8000 kilometres in 15 days. I would be keen to do the Sydney to Perth rail route someday soon.

What did you study?

Master of International Business

Where did you study?

University of New South Wales

Tell us about your experience studying in NSW.

I spent two years doing a master’s program in NSW. As with any educational journey, I came in knowing that my time would be benefited by how I utilised it. Studying in NSW opened a lot of doors for me to try and test out my interests, form lasting relationships and experience a range of cultures.

I was able to organise and participate in community programs, practicums and internships. I also had the opportunity to travel to the many tourist attractions through the state and country, with friends and visiting family.

I am particularly appreciative of the people and support I had the good fortune of being around, during my studies and after.

Erc quote

Take the chance to experience what NSW has to offer

What has been your favourite experience in NSW?

Most of my experiences while studying in NSW stem from living on campus at university. I was in a large house with over 150 students from different parts of the world, with new students from exchange programs every semester. I met some of my best friends in those halls and I am quite happy to be part of this global community of residents.

Living with people studying a variety of subjects, and at different points in their educational journey, opens the room for a lot interaction and learning. I have acted in mockumentaries for friends doing film studies, been a voluntary test subject for those prepping for medical school exams, involved in art projects, seen the ins and outs of multiple science labs, and directed a musical choir – none of which had anything to do with my course of study.

Whenever we had a few days together, groups of us would travel. This included hikes through the Blue Mountains, the whitest sand at Jervis bay, dunes at Port Stephens, camping in the Royal National Park, touring wine country in the Hunter Valley, experiencing a touch of farm life around Albury and much more. There were also a lot of first times, like watching live international sporting events including rugby's All Blacks at Olympic Park and cricket's Men in Blue at the SCG. I also participated in my first Mardi Gras parade bathed in glitter. The other thing to note is food and drink, Sydney is home to a decent spread. One of the things I enjoyed was the exposing people to their first taste of a new cuisine, coupled with a well-orchestrated pub crawl through Newtown or the Rocks.

All in all, it’s the relationships formed during these times that I cherish to this day.

What advice do you have for other international students?

While your primary pursuit here is academic knowledge and that should certainly be a priority, I would recommend looking up from the screen ever so often. Leaving behind your home country to come to a new place is never easy but it wouldn’t be worth the trip if you didn’t take the chance to experience what NSW has to offer. The New Year’s Eve fireworks on the Harbour and attending a performance at the Opera House are musts if you get the chance. Also, go travel – it’s a beautiful state and well-connected country.

I would recommend reaching out to build a support network for yourself. Here, the environment is safe, inclusive and accepting if you are looking to make friends and find mentors. This is certainly one of the easiest places to step outside your comfort zone.

What opportunities has studying in NSW given to you?

I was schooled in the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent. Packing up that life, I expected the move to Australia to be met with significant culture shock. Somehow that did not come, except for my very real fear of the drop bears in Centennial Park. I suppose it has to do with the melting pot of people that make up the universities of Sydney and the city.

My plan was to try everything I could in this new world. I found a pre-grad role in my first month and juggled work with evening classes and a university centric social life. In my two years of study, I was fortunate to be exposed to a wide range of experiences in the start-up and social impact space across Sydney. This was interspersed with a slew of personal and professional development programs across metro and regional NSW, particularly leadership activities.

Being a part of a multitude of student organisations meant there was always some social activity to be involved in - be it harbour cruises, surf camps, rounds of bowls, or even a good old-fashioned beach-side sausage sizzle. I learnt a lot in my time here and was quite delighted to back in the state infrastructure in a professional capacity, after my studies, and working at NSW Treasury.

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