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Designing her story: Gazelle finds peace with the AMEP

By Emma Prineas | January 19, 2024

For Gazelle, enrolling in the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) was a key part of her search for a place to call home, allowing her to find peace and safety for herself and her young family and pursue her career in graphic design. 

Originally from Iran, Gazelle came to Australia in May 2023 with her husband and two children, to experience opportunities she said were unavailable to her in her home country. 

The AMEP not only helped develop her English language skills but became the linchpin for forging connections and friendships, cultivating belonging, and navigating the nuanced landscape of Gazelle’s new life.  

“Coming from the Middle East and Iran, a region fraught with various issues linked to the global powerhouses, Australia has the tranquillity I needed to pursue my passion for graphic design,” Gazelle explained.  

“My favourite part of the AMEP was the vibrant and supportive learning environment that Navitas created. It was more than just a language course; it was a gateway to building connections and a sense of belonging in my new home. The welcoming and inclusive atmosphere created by Navitas made it the ideal choice for my initial steps in Sydney.”

Gazelle – AMEP, Sydney

However, in her pursuit of professional recognition, Gazelle encountered a significant hurdle. Despite her qualifications receiving approval from Vocational Education and Training (VET), they fell short of the standards required for acknowledgement in Australia. 

“I realised that, unlike in Iran, academic certifications here are not as crucial as work experience. So, I temporarily paused my pursuit of further education and opted to work, aiming to gain practical experience and financial stability,” she said. 

“Then, I put together a portfolio of my work, as the job market often values a visual representation of skills. I decided to stay with my chosen career, and embrace the need for adaptation. I’m actively investing in my professional development to align with industry trends and enhance my skill set.”  

While working on improving her written and spoken English, Gazelle is currently advancing her skills in Motion Graphics at TAFE. 

Actively applying for jobs as a graphic designer, Gazelle’s aspirations extend beyond personal success; they involve contributing meaningfully to the local industry and creating a better life for her family. The AMEP stands as a crucial catalyst, turning challenges into opportunities and providing a scaffold for her continuous growth. 

“My hope for the future is to establish a successful career in graphic design here in Australia, utilising my skills and contributing to the local industry while continuing to build a life in this welcoming country,” she said.

“I love this country for its peaceful environment, opportunities for personal and professional growth, and a better quality of life. Even though there have been challenges, I’m optimistic about the future and I’m committed to retraining and adapting to the new professional landscape.” 

Gazelle – AMEP, Sydney

Gazelle credits the AMEP for having a such a great impact on her settlement in Australia, as the program helped turn challenges into opportunities. She also has advice for other new arrivals:  

“Stay positive, be persistent, and keep learning – it might be a bit challenging at first, but these steps can help you settle well and succeed in Australia.” Gazelle’s story is a compelling illustration of the enduring impact of the AMEP on her transition to Sydney life, with its pivotal role of fostering important connections, helping improve English speaking skills, gaining confidence and facilitating a harmonious integration into Australian society.

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