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Tehila Rasin (Papua New Guinea)

Hi, I am Tehilah Rasin from Papua New Guinea, and I am currently in my final year of a Bachelor of Biomedical Science, majoring in Microbiology and Immunology at James Cook University.

I always had my heart set on JCU, and attending the JCU Open Day really solidified my decision. I was able to visit JCU for the event along with my Year 10 class from Rockhampton Girls Grammar, where I was studying as an international student. I was immediately fascinated by the multicultural student body! As the day went on, I explored the different study areas and experiences that JCU offers and learned that JCU’s health degrees have a tropical, rural, and remote focus. Coming from a small tropical country, these two factors ticked all my boxes. I wanted to attend this university that celebrated diversity and would enable me to make global connections, while also building relevant skills that I could bring back home. So, I applied, received an offer, arrived at JCU, and have now built a network of friends, professors, and colleagues which I will hold on to for life.

The saying 'a place is only as good as its people' holds true for JCU. From day one, I have felt comfortable here, thanks to the wonderful staff who welcomed and supported me at the start of my studies. They helped me learn that despite the large campus, you aren’t ever lost in the crowd at JCU, the community is tight knit and getting help is as easy as asking for it. Once I settled in, my friends and fellow students made me feel at home. I’ve always thought that it’s hard to find people as crazy as you, but there is power in the realisation that while people you have known for years may not understand you, or embrace your individuality, a stranger from halfway across the globe will. It has been so refreshing to be able to connect with like-minded individuals from different parts of the world all in one place. After being at JCU for two years, I can confidently say that even the lecturers here are the best of the best. They are always incredibly supportive and make an effort to nurture individual students’ goals.

This year, I find myself in a fortunate position, having secured a coveted internship alongside globally renowned scientists A/Prof. Jeff Warner and A/Prof. Catherine Rush at the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine (AITHM), where I will be contributing to research on Tuberculosis and Melioidosis, two tropical infectious diseases prevalent in my home country. It is an exciting prospect to have the chance to gain insight into their world of research and contribute to something that has the potential to steer diagnoses and treatments in the field of tropical medicine. I feel privileged to be involved in this research that could make a tangible difference in my country, all while still pursuing my undergraduate studies. This opportunity would not have been available to me had I remained in my home country, and yet here, it is at my fingertips.

Coming to JCU is probably the best decision I have ever made. It’s different, yes, and scary, but the best things are. I have gained many skills, experienced new things, and made memories that I will hold forever. If you look beyond your limits, the opportunities are endless. All you need is to put yourself in a position where you can access the necessary support and opportunities. I did that for myself here at JCU. How about you?