Why I left My High Flying Career To Study In Australia
The Australian $30bn education industry has boomed over the last 15 years attracting both skilled professionals and high school leavers from around the world to benefit from its world-class education and vibrant culture.
Tayo Williams is one of many young professionals who quit their full-time jobs to further their education in specialized fields in Australia. As a Public health professional working at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention CDC in Nigeria, he was exposed to the failings of the Nigerian public health system and its shortcomings at disease prevention.
I called Tayo at his Melbourne home to share his story about leaving his high flying career and his thoughts so far on life in Australia.
Back in Medical School, I was president of the Lagos State Medical Student Association, a position that gave me the opportunity to meet government officials and top health organizations while I was a student. After graduation in Medicine and surgery, I landed a job in a large non-governmental organization called AIDS Prevention Initiative in Nigeria and grew my career from there.
Why I left My Job To Study
I had the privilege of working with highly skilled professionals from around the world in my role and learned a lot about the Nigerian public health sector. I was the Technical team lead for monitoring and evaluation for the Global Fund grant and the United States President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief through APIN Nigeria.
Over the years, I observed critical shortcomings in our disease prevention programs in Nigeria. We deployed more resources towards secondary prevention and treatment initiatives while neglecting primary prevention and root cause elimination which is the whole essence of public health. This issue arises from the fact that Nigeria does not have a well developed public health system and due to its heavy reliance on international funding, they have to put donors priorities over the actual need of the system.
After attending several international conferences, I realized the blind spots in my work experience which were mainly due to my lack of exposure to early-stage disease prevention and controls, hence my decision to further my studies overseas.
I did a lot of personal research to find the right place to study and I got a lot of support from Skoolmates Education Advisors. The scale of advice I received made me confident I was making the right decision and that Australia public health system was a good model to learn from. My course adviser sent me an article on Australia’s public health ranking in the world with Australia ranking second. I didn’t hesitate to accept my offer in Masters of Public Health (Global Health and Advocacy) from Australia Catholic University.
Views on Australia Education
It’s a very rich education system that goes beyond learning to focus on the application of knowledge to real-life problems and outcomes. It is totally different from what I am used to. It is not exams based, so you can’t procrastinate your study time to a few weeks before exams, overdosing on coffee to cram through your modules.
How Easy Was It To Settle Into The New Life?
I got the right briefing, orientation and knew what to expect before my arrival. I was always in touch with my education company – Skoolmates even after arrival and they helped me settle in quickly. Most international students don’t leverage their relationship with their agents after arrival that’s why some struggle alone in their new country. It’s important to keep in touch with your education agent post arrival and even better if they have an established presence or community in your new country.
I found a job within 45 days of my arrival. I currently work in the emergency services of Australia’s largest telecommunication company. The Australian student visa allows you to work 20hrs when school is in session and 40hrs during school breaks. This has helped a lot with savings and preparation for the next session.
Living in Melbourne has been amazing. It is very multicultural, welcoming and you meet people who want to know more about you and your background.
Are you happy with your decision so far?
I would have had regrets if I had allowed indecision and fear to keep me in my comfort zone. In reflection, I am very happy with my decision and a lot more confident in my ability to contribute meaningfully to global public health.