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Yousuf studies his dream course

 
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A refugee from Afghanistan who now calls Melbourne home, Yousuf Karimi is enthusiastic about the opportunities an education can bring. He’s just completed the first year of his dream course, Bachelor of Architectural Design, at RMIT.

‘I couldn’t believe the day when the offer came—I did not want to open to see my offer. And I just saw that I got into architecture and I was just so happy and couldn’t believe it that I got in,’ Yousuf said.

‘My friends and family, they were all happy about this, especially my brothers and sisters, because I was the first one from my family who finished Year 12.’

When Yousuf arrived in Australia on New Year’s Eve in 2007, he didn’t speak English.

After nine months of intensive language courses, he went on to Years 11 and 12 at Narre Warren South P-12 College, which is part of RMIT’s Schools Network Access Program (SNAP). SNAP aims to increase the number of students coming to RMIT from disadvantaged backgrounds. Schools recommend students who are interested in studying at RMIT, but may not achieve the score to gain course entry.

‘My ATAR score wasn't as high as I expected, but the way RMIT select students is very different. We had to do a pre-selection kit. You had to design something, like a house or anything you were interested in.’

Yousuf designed a visual arts exhibition gallery to suit a free space near the art classrooms at his school. Based on his work and an interview, he was accepted into the course.

University is his main concern now and he puts in long hours studying. He is supported by Youth Allowance and some scholarships.

‘I get the equity scholarship and laptop scholarship from RMIT, which is very helpful and it helped me with the material—making models is very expensive.’

Yousuf hopes to study a master’s degree on the way to becoming an architect.

‘I’m very lucky that I came to Australia to do my studies because if I was in Afghanistan I couldn’t do my studies. Australia’s a very good country and a multicultural country and they have this education for everyone so you can study as long as you want,’ Yousuf said.

‘The more you study, the more you learn about the world and the future and what’s happening.

‘I recommend to everyone, even if they don’t get into their dream course, there are always other pathways and other options. If you can’t get into university but you still can go to TAFE, after you study two years or one year, you can transfer from TAFE to university.’

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