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Students in Focus

Xi’s journey: Coming home to Canberra

Originally from China, Xi Li is now a Canberra local, having completed her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in the city. After returning home to China before COVID-19 disrupted international travel, she spent an expectant two years there, hoping to return to Canberra to complete her PhD at the University of Canberra.

Luckily, Xi was one of the first groups of students selected for the NSW International Arrivals Pilot Program, and she was able to return to her adopted home.

“I could not wait to return to Australia …​ ​Thanks to everyone involved [in the International Arrivals Pilot Program], I have safely arrived in Canberra and can continue my PhD studies at UC,” Xi shared.

Preparing for the move back to Australia

For Xi, the first step of preparing for her return to Australia involved careful research and being proactive.

“I had been keeping an eye on Australian border opening information to see when I could travel to Australia and continue my studies,” she explains.

“I was thrilled when I heard that the NSW/ACT International Arrivals Pilot Program would commence in January 2022. I did not hesitate to complete the Expression of Interest online.”

Fortunately, Xi was accepted into the program and was able to start packing her bags. However, she also wanted to ensure her safety on her travels, and UC was there to help.

“Due to concern about the return journey, I had contacted the UC Student Quarantine team several times. Every time I had enquiries about the scheduled flight, quarantine arrangements, or COVID-19 testing, they gave me timely and detailed responses,” Xi says.

Xi’s first week in Canberra

At the start of the academic year, Xi was busily re-familiarising herself with international student life.

“I was very excited when I arrived back in Canberra after two years. I went back to my accommodation on the UC campus and spent nearly two days settling in … Everyone gave me a big and warm welcome,” she says.

Then came the fun part – Xi can explore all of the new things Canberra has to offer and revisit some of her favourite highlights. If you’re new to the city, she has some recommendations.

“The small-yet-mighty capital of Canberra is a city that punches far above its weight,” she says.

“The well-known museums and galleries are just the beginning of your trip. It is also worth digging a little deeper to look for bustling brewpubs, hidden gems, quiet nature spots and family-friendly attractions. In addition to its history and culture, Canberra is now becoming a foodie lover paradise. There are a number of must-try restaurants here.”

Researching a new frontier

Most importantly, Xi is ready to progress her PhD project, which she will complete in 2022. Following her Masters in Public Health, Xi identified a keen interest in economics. This unique mix of interests meant finding the perfect university to nurture and support her studies.

“My supervisor suggested that it would be much better to change my research area into health economics, which is a new and promising study area,” she explains.

“He recommended two supervisors at UC who are experts in health economics. Fortunately, I got the offer from UC!”

You can catch Xi completing her research in socioeconomic disparities in health outcomes in the Chinese population at the world-class Health Research Institute.

“I am looking forward to seeing more international students back to campus in the upcoming semester,” Xi shares.

“Safe travels and I wish you all the best for your studies.”

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