I studied for a Bachelor of Dentistry in India and, as part of my training, I took a course in community dentistry. During the course, we practised in rural and remote areas, providing free dental treatment to those who couldn’t travel to urban dental clinics or afford to attend them.
In doing this, I quickly realised that there was a big need for health services in communities outside of big cities. I wanted to serve those communities, and that is why I switched my career to public health.
The main reasons I chose to study in Australia were because it's close to home and multicultural. Learning that Australia has a reputation for being one of the best study destinations for international students then made my decision even easier. I decided to study a Master of Public Health at the University of Adelaide in Australia.
As part of my university course, I was placed as an intern with SA Health in Adelaide. I graduated in late 2021 and SA Health offered me a full-time job.
In 2022, I became a team leader and public health officer in their COVID-19 Operations Branch. The health guidelines, messaging and contact tracing work that have been in action since the pandemic began are all managed by this branch.
Currently, I am working with the Aboriginal Outbreak Response Team, which is focused on healthcare for rural communities.
We are trying to help the most vulnerable populations of South Australia. This includes the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities where there isn’t easy access to health services. Having comorbidities (two or more medical conditions at the same time) is common in these communities, which also makes them more vulnerable to diseases and infections.
We try to support their health by working with local health networks and organisations. We also build relationships with community members and provide them with guidance and support to reduce the spread of new waves of COVID-19.
The most exciting part of my job is getting to work for and with the community. I get to stay with the locals in remote areas, interact with them, understand their issues, strategise how they can best be helped, and, most importantly, make a difference in their lives.
My job keeps me on my toes, challenges me and gets me thinking creatively and critically.
I have had the privilege to go to APY Lands and Coober Pedy in the Australian outback for work. I have been able to explore and experience these places from a local perspective. I am truly mesmerised by the beauty of this country.
Working with others to serve these communities and helping to keep one of the oldest living cultures alive is really humbling and rewarding.
My advice for future international students who are thinking about studying in Australia would be - just do it!
Studying here has really been great for my career and personal development. The practical learning, diversity and career progression I’ve experienced made it truly worthwhile.