Leaving my home country for the first time to study: Tatenda's story
For Tatenda Simbarashe Mapuranga, moving to Darwin to study a Business degree at Charles Darwin University was a series of firsts. He’s the first in his family to study at university and the first to travel abroad in pursuit of education. It was also the first time he had left his home country, and the first time he’d been on a plane. Read on to find out how Tatenda coped brilliantly with the huge adjustment that comes with studying as an international student.
As a new student, I figured I’d feel safer if I was accepted by the society I was joining. CDU and the Northern Territory are the epitome of that.
Until now, no-one from Tatenda’s family had pursued university education. Due to health issues, his mother didn’t study beyond high school and his father studied a diploma. Initially planning to follow his father’s footsteps as a managerial accountant, Tatenda soon realised accounting was not his biggest strength.
“I was more into people management: interacting with and gaining knowledge from others intrigued me as a socially active person,” Tatenda said.
“The Bachelor of Business was better suited to me as it offered units like project management, ethics and organisational behaviour, which were directly related my future aspirations of becoming a manager or someday a CEO or COO.”
Tatenda said when he was choosing a place to live and study, he wanted a place that felt most like home. Hailing from Zimbabwe, a country with a small population, Darwin looked like the perfect fit with the ideal weather for him.
“Since my uncle and aunt were living in the Northern Territory, I had a close family who I could stay with, rent free, which was a big bonus for me as a student,” Tatenda said.
It was Tatenda’s uncle who suggested he study with CDU in Darwin; his cousin had already completed his degree with CDU and recommended he considered studying here as well.
There are plenty of cultural associations in Darwin. You can always reconnect with people from your home country.
“I really liked how multicultural the place was; as a new student, I figured I’d feel safer if I was accepted by the society I was joining. CDU and the Northern Territory are the epitome of that,” Tatenda said.
Tatenda said there have been many challenges he has overcome during his studies. At first, culture shock presented challenges in adapting to simple things like the accents, the different nationalities and cultures and the food.
“It’s always a challenge when moving from one place to another; you experience loneliness distress and homesickness. Luckily for me, I had family close by, which certainly eased these feelings,” Tatenda said.
“The best thing about a multicultural city like Darwin is that there are plenty of cultural associations, so if you feel down, you can always try to reconnect with people from your home country.
“On Sundays play soccer with some of my Zimbabwean fellows living in Darwin; it really kills the homesickness and it is something I look forward to every week.”
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