Nayonikja Bhattacharya

Where is your home country?

Oman

What languages do you speak?

Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, English

Fun fact

I am absolutely obsessed with collecting cool laptop stickers and you can bribe me with ice cream any day. Summer, winter, hail or rain, ice cream is my go-to comfort food.

What did you study?

Arts and Law

Where did you study?

University of New South Wales

Tell us about your experience studying in NSW.

My experience of studying NSW has been full of positive opportunities academically, professionally and socially. I have had the opportunity to be a City of Sydney International Student (ISLA) Ambassador from 2018-2020, an MHAHS International Student Advisor from 2019 - 2020, be a student representative from UNSW in 2019 and have served three terms on the UNSW Student Representative Council from 2018 to 2021.

I have grown as a fresh faced 18 year old with no contacts or support in Australia to knowing thousands of people who have given me the support, insight and opportunity to help the Australian community and become a part of it. All of us have so many aspirations and NSW is the place that makes them come true for you. You are always surrounded by a community advocating for your welfare, safety, academic quality and growth.

Nayonika Quote

All of us have so many aspirations and NSW is the place that makes them come true for you

What has been your favourite experience in NSW?

My favourite experience has been how NSW so effortlessly makes studying a fun process. While everyone is actively encouraged to make the most out of their academic learning experiences, everyone is encouraged to have fun and grow.

I love being able to finish classes, enjoy the different night markets, weekly events and special events such as Vivid with my friends all while being supported by fantastic City of Sydney volunteers. My most favourite period of the year has to be Vivid Sydney and the Night Noodle Food Markets. It is such a great time to share laughs and food with friends and family and enjoy the beautiful views of Sydney.

The views the city has to offer are strongly paralleled by the beautiful stretches of vast sandy aquamarine beaches lining the coast of NSW. These getaways down the Southern and Northern Coast of NSW are a great break from the routine of everyday life. Hiking trails, historical lessons and fun opportunities to paraglide and skydive are some of the thrillers I cannot recommend enough!

What advice do you have for other international students?

My only advice would be (cliché but try) to stay true to who you are in your heart and throw yourself towards every opportunity you can. It genuinely can be super scary, intimidating and confusing as a new International Student in NSW.

The best part though? You learn so much from this, meet so many amazing people from doing so and have a whole new world of opportunities and chances that you have opened up for yourself. The worst that can happen is that they say no, but I assure you that someone will eventually say yes.

The resilience you build gives you a newfound appreciation for your culture, heritage and friends that you make in this journey. Don't be afraid to ask. So many of us are guilty of sitting quietly, being shy and worrying ourselves to tears. Ask for help, for opportunities, for responsibility, for conversations and people will happily share their time with you.

What opportunities has studying in NSW given to you?

Studying in NSW has changed my life for the best in so many ways. I have learnt to grow as an individual, I have found a place to call home in this beautiful state and have had the opportunity to gain world-class educational and professional experiences.

Here, I started from 0 with no connections in Australia, to find friends who are now family in a village of mentors, supporters and advisors who have helped me grow and learn. I have been given opportunities to learn from business owners, industry mentors, former international students and community Elders.

All of this growth has been so positively complemented by the beautiful beaches, trails and stories the land of NSW holds. The friends I have made through various Study NSW initiatives and opportunities have been great travel buddies, study buddies and industry mentors. I would not have been nominated as a 2019 Higher Education International Student Award if I did not have the opportunity to grow across all walks of life in NSW.

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