A new country, culture and community at just 17 years of age.
While a foreign concept for many, this was Hamida Nazari’s reality after arriving in Australia with her family in 2017.
Originally from Afghanistan and raised in Pakistan, she witnessed her fair share of hardship growing up.
But it was her intrinsic belief that there was more out there to experience and learn that fuelled her dream of helping marginalised communities.
“When we arrived in Toowoomba, I had just completed high school,” she said.
“I was a bit of an odd case though because usually people from migrant backgrounds go to TAFE to start studying – but I was only 17, so no one really knew what to do with me.
“It was either back to high school or TAFE, but I knew I was ready to start studying at university so I contacted the University of Southern Queensland right away in hope they’d have something for me.”
Wasting no time, she enrolled in the University’s English for Academic Purposes Pathway Program in 2018 to prepare for her dream dual Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws degree.
Now four years in, Ms Nazari has immersed herself in university life and is showing no signs of slowing down.
“I’m honestly having the time of my life and learning something new every day,” she said.
“As well as studying, I’m currently the undergraduate representative on the University’s Strategic Advisory Board for the School of Humanities and Communication, heavily involved in the International Relations Student Association and Editor-in-Chief for the Law Society’s Law Review.
“All of these experiences are giving me a great insight into how I can combine my skills with my passion to have a meaningful impact in the world.”
And when asked where her passion lies, Ms Nazari said it was fundamentally about empowering people to pursue theirs.
“I’ve always been interested in human rights, immigration and women’s education,” she said.
“I want to be able to use my background and my education to have an impact and inspire change for women everywhere.
“It was possible for me, and it’s possible for others too.
“You can do anything if you set your mind to it.”
Find out more about studying at the University of Southern Queensland.