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From War to Hope: Oleksandra’s Journey to a New Life in Australia 

By Emma Prineas | June 18, 2024

When war broke out in Ukraine in 2022, Oleksandra faced a difficult decision. Leaving her homeland was not easy, but with the support of her family she embarked on a journey to Canberra. Now, living with her daughter’s family, Oleksandra has made remarkable progress in her new life, thanks in large part to the opportunities provided by Navitas Skilled Futures (NSF), and the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP). The AMEP is a program funded by the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs, designed to support migrants and refugees on their settlement journey in Australia.

Oleksandra standing on a  cobblestone sidewalk in Ukraine

A New Beginning in Australia 

“I left my country because of the war and the journey to Australia was difficult for me due to flights and Covid restrictions and language barriers,” Oleksandra says.

“Flights, charter buses and trains were being cancelled at the time, so leaving Ukraine was quite a journey. However, my arrival in Australia was good, as I had family and government support during this critical time.”

Having her daughter in Australia has been a source of immense support for Oleksandra. “I am very lucky to have my daughter and her family in Australia.”

Learning English and More at Navitas Skilled Futures

Navigating a new country comes with its own set of challenges, particularly when it comes to language barriers. Oleksandra found out about NSF through Services Australia staff, who recommended it for improving her English skills.

Reflecting on her experience, she says, “Centrelink staff told me about NSF for my English skills and provided me with other useful information. It was not easy, but I did it. I am grateful to the teachers from NSF for their help. I learned a lot of new things there.”

The course at NSF not only helped her with English but also introduced her to Australian culture and history.

 “I really like this course because I learned about Australian culture, history, and multiculturalism. It gave me necessary skills and knowledge about the country to be able to perform basic tasks that I never had to deal with back in Ukraine. I met some incredible people at NSF and made new friends, despite us being from vastly different cultures.”

Oleksandra, AMEP Canberra

Pathways to Work: Building a Future

Currently, Oleksandra is enrolled in the Pathways to Work course, a subset of the AMEP which supports learners with industry specific English learning and work skills.

“I really like the Pathways to Work course. The teacher is very good, and the pace is just right. I am learning a lot, like how to write a resume and a cover letter, and how to apply for jobs. I also learned about websites for jobseekers, such as Seek. This information is very helpful for new people in Australia.”

Her ultimate goal is to work with children, a dream that she is working towards and is determined to achieve.

“My dream is to get a job in a childcare centre and to provide the best care and start in life for the little kids. Of course, I would need to complete further studies in order to achieve that. I want to learn all about early childhood education, so that I can build a career in this field.”

Oleksandra’s journey is certainly one of hope and great resilience. She’d also like to encourage other new arrivals to take advantage of the opportunities at NSF.

“NSF is a great organisation for the new arrivals to learn English and to expand their knowledge about Australia.”

Oleksandra, AMEP Canberra

Through her determination and the support of programs like those offered at NSF, Oleksandra is building a new life for herself and making strides towards her dream of contributing to the Australian community.

Oleksandra also feels a tremendous appreciation for her new home.

“I am grateful to Australia for the opportunity to live in this wonderful country.”

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