The Joy of a New Life and Career.
20 Aug 2018
Babin Joy is from a small town just outside Kochi in India’s south. Recently he completed his Masters in Business majoring in Sports Management at Griffith University. As a shy young man Babin’s transition into the culture of the Gold Coast had its challenges, but having embraced his opportunities he’s now forging a new life and career in his adopted home.
Babin says it wasn’t easy trying to adapt to his new life.
“Community is everything in India, but it’s a bit different here, so it took me a while to blend in and become part of the local community. It really helped when I started doing a lot of volunteering, working with organisations where I could meet more people.
“I don’t believe that you really learn anything in isolation, it’s so important to be involved. I knew that having wider experience in the community would improve my chances of getting a job after graduation.”
Interestingly, Babin made a conscious decision not to exclusively associate with fellow Indian students.
“I deliberately went out of my way to mix with people from other nationalities because I wanted a better understanding of them. I had share accommodation with Aussies and Europeans and that really helped me out. It had its challenges, but I learnt a lot from the experience. Even something as simple as cooking - I like spicy food, so basically everything I made was spicy and my housemates would say ‘do you have to make everything so spicy?’ Brazilians and Colombians for instance don’t eat spicy food, it’s just not part of their culture.”
Babin’s first day on campus was much easier than he expected thanks to Griffith Mates, with two members of the group taking him on a campus tour and explaining what he needed to know.
“It was a big help because I had no idea where to go or what I should be doing. Australian university culture is a very liberal culture, but if you don’t know what to do it can be daunting.”
Babin was so grateful for that assistance he decided to become a Griffith Mate the next semester so that he could help other international students too.
Later, he took on a management role in the program, which gave him his first real experience of managing events and dealing with stakeholders.
“When you get involved to that extent people really start to notice you. It wasn’t long before a short term management position became available at Griffith Mates and the Student Coordinator asked me if I would like to backfill that position. I was like ‘Woah! Absolutely!’
“Even though it’s not a sports related role, the experience has been invaluable. The funny thing is, I know there will be a number of sports management roles coming up soon in India, and while initially that’s where I thought I wanted to be, I’m really loving the job I have now. It’s a good culture at Griffith.”
Becoming an Ambassador
In 2016 while still a student, Babin became a Mayor’s Student Ambassador. The experience shaped his outlook significantly.
“It’s an excellent program. It opened up a world of new opportunities for me. At Griffith Mates you’re representing your university, but with the Ambassador program you’re representing the city. It was an incredible experience.
“It gave me the chance to meet a lot of interesting people, a number of which have influenced me and my career. I couldn’t recommend it highly enough to any student to apply.”
“One of the big advantages is that you get to know students from other institutions – it really does bring everyone together. That’s the beauty of the program. Then you throw the different nationalities and cultures into the mix and you’ve got something unique. The program itself is very well curated, it’s totally tailored to enhancing your experience as a student.”
Advice for International Students
“Understand and accept that it will be a little difficult early on”, says Babin.
“You’re in a new country and it takes time to adjust. Often students are in too much of a hurry, they want to do everything in one go, but you need time to settle in. Just learn to relax and do it in your own time.
“When I arrived on the first day I was in a panic ‘where do I find my Go card, where do I find my ID card?’ – there’s no need to hurry, the important thing is to prioritise what you need to do.
“Make sure you engage in the local community. Volunteer or join an organisation – you never know where it might lead. Look at what happened to me!”