Online student juggles kids, track work and text books


Nursing student Sary Walsh competes in Cambodia’s premiere distance event.

A Charles Darwin University nursing student who lives in Cambodia continues to amaze lecturers with her focus, fitness and determination.

From her home in Phnom Penh, busy mother-of-three Sary Walsh juggles a full-time study load with a daily training routine as a long-distance runner.

The online undergraduate, who is on schedule to complete her studies next year, has twice competed in Cambodia’s premiere distance race, the Angkor Wat International Half Marathon.

She has her sights set on another half-marathon this December, and possibly a full marathon next year.

Sary, who took up exercising to offset the often-sedentary nature of tertiary studies, said she did a lot of training on a treadmill at home.

“I attach my laptop, or a textbook, to the treadmill so I can train and study at the same time,” Sary said.

“I have to be quite disciplined.”

Sary is one of 20 second-year students participating in an intensive training block at Alice Springs campus this week, before a two-week clinical placement in Victoria.

She will then return to Cambodia, where she has spent much of her time since 2009.

Sary said she first came to Australia as an infant in the 1980s, having been born in a refugee camp on the border of Thailand and Cambodia.

Having grown up in Melbourne, Sary was enrolled in a tertiary course when she and her husband decided to move to Cambodia. The course did not accommodate external students.

Sary said she was grateful for the freedom that CDU’s nursing program offered through its external mode.

“It means I can go anywhere and see the world and study at the same time,” she said.

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