Nanki Luthra

Where is your home country?

India

What languages do you speak?

English and Hindi

Where do you live now?

Hong Kong

What was the name of your course?

Bachelor of Nursing, Master of Health Management, Master of Public Health

When did you graduate?

2012 BN, 2014 MHM, 2016 MPH

What is the name of your education institution(s)?

Western Sydney University (WSU), University of New South Wales (UNSW)

An advantage of studying in NSW has been that my qualifications have been recognised outside of Australia. Most employers have trust in my qualifications when they’re hiring employees.

Why did you choose to study in this field?

My goal was to become a public health professional where I could solve problems, help others and create a social impact. I had worked in a hospital environment and noticed how many health problems and hospitalisations were preventable, and I was able to understand that ‘prevention is always better than cure’. Hence, I wanted to work towards building prevention programs and determining the needs of the community.

Healthcare in general benefits and improves the wellbeing of people and communities. I knew that this field would help me make a lasting impression on society and I would be able to see the impact of my work. I was also aware that healthcare is a vast field with exceptional diversity.

Why did you decide to study in NSW?

I chose NSW because of its diversity, and I wanted to live in a city (Sydney) with reputable universities. Coming from Hong Kong, I believed I would easily be able to adapt into the Sydney cultural dynamic. I also had a few friends who were already in Sydney, and I had heard only positive feedback.

The major universities in NSW welcome international students, and after some research I noticed that they provide programs and services that are tailored towards helping students make the most out of their educational experience.

Australia also allows students to work part-time while studying. I believe this is not just essential for earning a bit of extra cash, but also highly important to develop life skills to supplement university learning.

Tell us about your experience studying in NSW

I really enjoyed living and studying in Sydney. I was able to meet friends and classmates from various countries. Even my Australian friends were a true melting pot, from the UK, China, Lebanon, India, Columbia and other countries.

The lecturers and tutors were very helpful and responsive. I found the course curriculum to be highly evidenced based and I was able to challenge my critical thinking and analysis skills.

What opportunities has studying in NSW given to you?

An advantage of studying in NSW has been that my qualifications have been recognised outside of Australia. Most employers have trust in my qualifications when they’re hiring employees. I have also worked in Singapore and Hong Kong - both cities having a high number of graduates from NSW and a large alumni network. It made the transition from university to work life much easier.

I’m especially grateful as Australia allows students to work part-time while studying. This really allowed me to supplement my studies with real world experience, not only in my field but it helped me gain significant soft skills and confidence. This allowed to be more resilient and ready when it was time to graduate and take my first steps into the working world.

What was the highlight of your experience living in NSW?

I found Sydney to be a truly iconic city with its landmarks and history and culture. My friends and I enjoyed the beaches, coastal walks and weekend drives to Gosford.

What I really liked about NSW was its amazing combination of nature and urbanisation. Sydney has some great views, restaurants and night life. This is paralleled with the scenic coastal areas and beaches of NSW. Getaways to the Southern and Northern Coast of NSW are great stress busters especially during long weekends. In the city I especially enjoyed Vivid, Mardi Gras and the night noodle food markets.

As a nature lover, I loved spending time in the Royal Botanic Garden in the city while visiting the various surrounding museums. I had a lot of my ‘first’ experiences in NSW,  such as learning to drive, rock climbing and even sky diving.

Did you work or undertake projects with employers or industry groups during your studies? If yes, how did this experience benefit your career?

During the weekends, I worked as a nursing assistant at a hospital. At the university, we had textbooks and lectures which gave the theory, but it’s not until you apply this knowledge on real patients that you fully begin to comprehend the complexities of everything. Besides applying theory into practice, I was able to learn other soft skills such as time management, working in a team and making the most efficient use of my time.

Working with real patients allowed me to use critical thinking skills. This included understanding why a task needed to be done and how a procedure benefits the patient. I understood that there is more to simply following procedures and carrying out tasks in blind obedience. As I learned theory and applied it into practice, I was able to master critical thinking, and this elevated my understanding of patient care and enabled me to act as an advocate for them.

What are you doing now in your career?

In 2021, I founded my own company ‘Blueberg’. At Blueberg, I work with my partners to build diagnostic tools and develop programmes for companies to implement them in their workplace. We work towards wellbeing, inclusivity and diversity. I’m specifically in charge of product and programme building. Through my experience in hospitals, community settings and the non-profit sector, I’ve gained valuable experience and insight on what works best in different settings.

Can you share any career advice for current students or graduates?

My only advice would be to get out of your comfort zone and throw yourself at every opportunity you can. It can be really scary and intimidating at first, but the end results will be everlasting. Try out volunteering opportunities, join clubs and social groups and look out for some part-time jobs.

The job doesn’t even have to be directly related to what you’re studying, it’s all part of the experience and taking part in new opportunities. It’ll help you network and build resilience which goes way beyond the classroom.

Don’t be afraid to email lecturers, speak to other students in the classroom and go out for coffee with new friends. Studying should not just be limited to the classroom but goes way beyond. This is something I was able to realise and connect the dots much later.

Nanki Luthra and a Mascot at UNSW graduation

Nanki Luthra and group of friends during Christmas