RACHNA CHANDARANA, 24, GRIFFITH UNIVERSITY
Born and raised in Rajkot in the western Indian state of Gujarat, Rachna headed straight from high school to Australia. But it wasn’t an impulse decision; she had completed plenty of research and had settled on Griffith University on the Gold Coast for her Bachelors’ degree in Information Technology. Rachna arrived in mid-2015 and not only achieved her degree but also a career she loves and an amazing lifestyle – and all of it is in what she describes as her “second home, this beautiful city of the Gold Coast”.
Q. What made you choose Griffith University and the Gold Coast?
While doing my research I decided that the Gold Coast was the most desirable place to study, work and grow. Griffith University offered the degree I was looking for and the best quality education. And, the Gold Coast has a large number of employment opportunities, along with a range of support for professional workplace development.
Q. Did it live up to expectations?
My experience at Griffith was amazing. The courses I had selected throughout my study included theoretical as well as practical knowledge. In addition, the student culture was fantastic, with various activities around campus. All of it just encouraged wellness in day-to-day life. Griffith also offered various opportunities where I was able to grow professionally and personally. One example was Work Integrated Learning in the final semester where I got an opportunity to work with an employer for a mobile application project. The skills I gained from that experience were transferable to the job I have now at Queensland Airports Limited (QAL).
Q. Can you give us an insight into your job with QAL at Gold Coast Airport?
I work in the cyber security team at QAL, which includes the Gold Coast, Townsville, Mount Isa and Longreach airports. I’m the first point of contact for the Security Operations Centre and my role is to monitor QAL’s cyber environment for threats and vulnerabilities. I get to learn something new all the time because my role is different and unique every day.
Q. Is this the sort of job you thought you would be doing when you decided to study?
Yes, when I started studying IT, I was very interested in network and security. One of the professors at Griffith University inspired me to further grow in this field.
Q. Did studying on the Gold Coast shape your life in a personal way?
It has played a big role. When I came here I wasn’t even 18 and now I have been living on the Gold Coast for more than six years. I can proudly say that I have grown as a person and have achieved my goals – coming from a different place and culture, being successful at completing my degree and getting a dream job. The Gold Coast is like my second home as it embraces diversity and the people here are extremely friendly and supportive.
Q. Do you have a favourite memory with your friends at uni?
We used to go to different events happening across the Gold Coast such as Million Paws Walk, the Colour Run, beachfront markets and many more wonderful events.
Q. What advice would you give someone who is considering studying on the Gold Coast?
Go for it! If you have found a degree that you love, then you should definitely study on the Gold Coast. You will have an amazing experience. The city is full of beautiful beaches and adventurous activities.