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Supporting students through shared experience

Suruchi travelled from Nepal to Australia to seek better opportunities and ultimately found her calling within the AMEP team at TAFE Queensland. An initiative she holds close as she understands the challenges and triumphs. 

Venturing from Nepal, Suruchi Shrestha pursued higher education in Australia, in search of better opportunities, ultimately finding her calling at TAFE Queensland.

Suruchi arrived in Sydney in 2016, embarking on a path of academic pursuit, she completed her Masters of Professional Accounting and Masters of Business Administration by 2018. Following her husband's engineering studies, they relocated to Toowoomba before settling in Cairns in search of new opportunities.

Transitioning from her previous role in Marketing at TAFE Queensland, she found herself drawn to a vacancy in the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) at TAFE Queensland. Suruchi said the timing felt like fate, one door closed whilst another one opened, aligning her career aspirations with a meaningful opportunity to support migrants in their language and cultural integration, a struggle she could heavily relate to. “I felt AMEP's mission to support adult migrants resonated with my values,” she said.

"As someone who was once on the same journey as these students, I understand the emotions and challenges that accompany such a big change. Each step, from leaving behind the familiar to navigating a new culture and language, can feel overwhelming. However, it's in these moments of feeling uncertain that students discover how resilient they can be, I know I experienced this.”

“Learning new language is always challenging, however it also depends on an individual’s capacity, as it is a progressive but time-consuming process that involves constant effort.”

“Personally, I think the most common challenge faced by migrants learning English would be understanding the culture that ties with the language. TAFE Queensland's AMEP addresses this by blending language education with cultural engagement, allowing migrants to navigate daily life and employment with confidence.”

While her direct impact on students may be subtle, she finds inspiration in the success stories shared by her colleagues.

“I find it inspiring to hear stories of students achieving milestones, learners getting their licenses, securing employment, and furthering their education at TAFE Queensland. It makes me think about my journey and I am proud of where I started to where I am now.”

“TAFE Queensland integrates English language learning into everyday life and work environments, offers free classes, and provides childcare support, demonstrating a commitment to helping migrants feel welcome and supported.”

“It's gratifying to know that the work we do indirectly contributes to these positive outcomes for learners in the program.”

Beyond language education, TAFE Queensland plays a pivotal role in integrating migrants into Australian society, fostering diversity and enriching communities.

As Suruchi looks forward to celebrating her first Harmony Week in March 2024, she highlights the importance of embracing diversity and unity within our society.

Drawing from her own experiences, she offers practical advice to migrants facing language barriers, “practice patience, utilise the available resources like TAFE Queensland's language classes, engage in community events, and have a willingness to learn about Australian culture.” These are all things she said she wished she could tell her past self.

“Moving to Australia is an enormous adventure. Avoid getting overly concerned about the future; instead, enjoy the present. Concentrate on the journey rather than worrying about what lies ahead. Seize each moment, derive lessons from it, and have a great time. I assure you; everything will eventually fall into place. Therefore, stay calm, be present, and thoroughly enjoy this incredible experience.”

Suruchi’s journey highlights the values of resilience, empathy, and inclusivity that define TAFE Queensland. As we continue to empower individuals and bridge cultures, we invite you to join us in celebrating the diversity and unity that enriches our community.

The AMEP is funded by the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs. In Queensland, the AMEP is delivered through TAFE Queensland.