Having dual nationality has its pros and cons. For Curtin student Dilkash Parabia, sharing her life between India and Australia has only enriched her life choices and bubbly persona. She’s now about to study a Masters in Business Management (Global) at Curtin, although the road up until this point was not exactly easy. Dilkash’s path to success was a difficult one as she struggled with a culture crossover and getting into university. As a Curtin student ambassador, she now tells her story to prospective students in hope that it will inspire them to believe that anything is possible.
Can you tell me about your background?
I was born in India, my whole family is from there. I came to Sydney, Australia when I was around five years old. We moved back to India for a year or two, and then came back to Western Australia.
Living in India was a lot of fun but the schooling was really different. At schools in India there was a lot more pressure, you have exams since year 1. And also different languages were hard, I had to learn two different languages when I got there in year 4, so that was difficult. But it was just a huge change for us because we all were in higher levels, so having to catch up was really, really difficult for us.
Do you feel connected to India when you go back there? Or do you feel more Australian now?
I’d probably say I am more Australian in the way I think and the way I act. I do feel connected to India, I still talk to my family and friends all the time, literary almost every day over social media. But the way I think is so different to what is acceptable there (India). We still do a lot of cultural Indian things here.
How would you say Indians think differently to Australians?
Just little things. Like in India they probably wouldn’t allow a girl to go out with a guy. But over here I go out with a guy to the movies and that’s fine. It doesn’t really matter, whereas over there it’s a big no-no. Also the way they wear their clothes as well, and what they can’t or can say to adults is different.
What did you study at Curtin?
I just finished my bachelor’s in Marketing and Management. I didn’t really think I would get into uni. I’m good at studying but I really don’t like it. I’m actually really bad at it in times when I don’t want to do it, to the point where sometimes in year 12 my Dad would be like, “ If you don’t pass in year 12 you’ll have to repeat to get into uni.”
I had two older sisters that also went to uni as well, so there was a lot of pressure to get in. But after the first semester of year 12, I literally broke down in front of my teachers because I had such bad reviews from my parent-teacher night. After that I thought I never want to feel like that again. So I did everything I could second semester and I got into Curtin first try and haven’t looked back since. It’s been an amazing ride and I never thought I could do it, and now I’m a Masters student, I’m doing an MBA (Global) (Masters of Business Administration (Global)) at Curtin. So going from not even thinking that I would pass year 12 to being a Masters student now is a great feeling.
Why did you pick to do Marketing and Management?
My dad was in marketing and I always had an interest in business. It’s been something kind of embedded into me, the way I think is very similar to him and when I was little me and him used to talk about businesses and things like that, that’s one thing we really bonded over.. And I really enjoy it.
What has been the happiest moment of your life so far?
When I got my acceptance letter to Curtin was the happiest day of my life, it probably beats everything else. As I said, I didn’t think I could do it. I was probably better than when I got my acceptance letter for my masters, because I honestly didn’t think I would get in.
What is your ultimate goal in life?
I want to work in the fashion industry. I’d like to work in the head office management department of any fashion icon label. I always liked being creative ever since I was little and I’m more of a practical person. That’s probably why I want to work in the top level of management so I can actually implement things that can be used, rather than being told what to do.
If you could give one piece of advice to a group of people what would it be?
I really believe in the saying ‘Where there’s a will, there’s a way’, mainly because of what happened to me in year 12. I literally didn’t think I would pass, but then I changed and was determined to get into Curtin straight away, and it didn’t matter which way I got in.
I applied for TAFE, scholarships, and all the enabling programs, everything I could possibly apply for. Then I got in through the first way, so that was really lucky for me. I was always a student that wasn’t really academically strong. I definitely believe when you want something you can definitely make it happen, that’s how I stuck out three years of a degree.
What’s it like being a Curtin student ambassador?
It’s really good because I get to talk to a lot of students who are in the position that I was in. I enjoy talking to students and sharing my story. And every time I tell them my story it ensures me about what I’ve done and gives me a little push to keep going too. It’s been such an amazing journey.
I’ve also grown as a person as well, I’ve gained confidence to be able to talk to people and am now able to manage situations that just pop up out of no where. And being able to quickly adjust in certain situations is something that has come from being an ambassador.
What’s the best part of being a student ambassador?
I went to a lot of expos, I probably did most of the expos out of the group and it gave me a chance to meet a lot of prospective students. And the best moments happened on Curtin Open Day when people would come up to me and recognise me from the expo. It was great to know that they remembered me and that they probably took on what I recommended.