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RL Rundown - Swapna

From the ‘City of Pearls’ (Hyderabad) in India to Darwin, Resident Leader (RL) Swapna is following her passions in pursuit of a Master of Business Administration (MBA) at CDU.

Swapna completed a Bachelor of Electronic and Communication Engineering in her homeland and soon began working for a successful company in the industry. However, her heart wasn’t in it. 

“I’d done what was expected of me after graduating,” Swapna said. “Inside though, I was deeply unfulfilled. I wasn’t enjoying my work; I felt like I wasn’t using my full potential. I found more interest in running a business than working for someone.”

“Being an entrepreneur, I can be independent, be my own boss. I can implement and apply all my thoughts, knowledge and skills, and above all, I can create jobs for others which helps in making their lives and the economy better.”

She began looking into post-grad study but hadn’t considered studying abroad until her dad had encouraged the idea.

“I never thought that I would do my post-graduation study abroad,” she said. “I was only applying for the universities in my country, but my dad wanted and encouraged me to go abroad and pursue my degree. I looked to Australia, especially Darwin because I’ve got some friends who were already living here in Darwin.”

“My post-grad experience motivated me to do a Master of Business Administration. One day I want to be known as a great businesswoman. I believe that If you do what you love success will follow. Passion is the fuel behind a successful career.”

Even with the support of friends and family both back home and at IHD, Swapna has experienced homesickness. Nevertheless, her resilient attitude allowed her to see the personal growth encouraged by such situations as living abroad. 

“Leaving home is no easy feat,” Swapna said. “Homesickness, loneliness, stress, and anxiety are all common feelings among international students.” 

“I never thought that I would say it, but I actually miss my stupid brother and annoying sister. I miss mum’s terrible cooking (I say this every time to tease her) and her scoldings for not waking up on time, for always misplacing my things at home, for skipping my meals, and I miss my dad’s support and love. There’s a saying that ‘It is perfectly healthy and normal to feel homesick, just do not let it become a crippling part of your experience away from home.”

“The other hard part of living away from home is that you must do all the chores – cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping etc. But by the end of it, you will be far more independent and self-sufficient. All you can do is start practising healthy habits, being proactive about making friends and keep yourself busy by doing what we love. Stay connected to home while being open to learning new things. With all the challenges of moving abroad and settling into a new country, there is no doubt that every bit of the struggle is worth the result.”

Despite the ‘terrible cooking’, Swapna sees her mum as someone she can aspire to be.

“The person I look up to the most in my life is my mother,” she said. “She is the most genuine and caring person. Throughout my whole life, my mum has helped nurture me into the woman I am, with her wisdom and guidance. I can talk to her about anything, and we’ve had so many fun memories together. She is the strongest person I know. She deals with things I would never be able to. She is the definition of unconditional love. I’m constantly astounded by her unwavering patience and good nature. She stands by me no matter what, whether I’m happy, sad, or just plain moody. Someday, when I am a mother, I will look at the lessons my mum has taught me. I am truly blessed and thankful to have such a wonderful mother, friend and role model.”

Many of her mum’s attributes have already rubbed-off on Swapna and are what IHD look for when recruiting RLs. Swapna became an RL at the beginning of 2019 and has thrived in the role. 

“RLs are the ones who help in establishing, maintaining and promoting the safe, healthy and friendly environment at IHD,” Swapna said. “We help residents in understanding different cultures, settling into a new place, introducing them to the community.”

“RLs are event coordinators, conflict mediators, medics and caregivers with the attitude of giving away a hug because someone needs it more, even if we need one ourselves. All this made me want to be RL.”

Having now settled into life at IHD and as an RL, Swapna is optimistic about what’s to come, including the completion of her MBA mid-2020.

“My experience at IHD is helping me improve myself in many aspects,” she said. “I’ve learned a lot about different cultures and people. I’ve met many new people and made great memories and amazing friends. I feel that there is still so much that I have to experience.”

“Living abroad changes you in ways that nothing else can. Inside your comfort zone is a safe, but dangerous place. If you never leave, you’ll never change, and you’ll never become your very best self.”

If I had a superpower, it would be... the power of controlling time - stop time & still walk around & live within the individual moment that I've stopped. Never be late again, never not have time to do something I want to do, never be exhausted from lack of sleep, just stop time & own the world. In addition, in my paused moment, there would be nobody else, unless I extend my powers to let them into the time-stopped world. I'd spend as much time as I like before letting the world restart.

 

Something you may not know about me... I know three languages; Telugu, English & Hindi. I am afraid of lizards & snakes. I am very scared of watching horror movies.