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Full Circle: Student Turned Advocate

By Emma Prineas | June 5, 2024

Lina’s settlement journey with Navitas Skilled Futures 

In the Western Sydney suburb of Fairfield, one of the most culturally diverse communities in Australia, Lina Mrad supports over 1000 students in her role as an Administration Officer at Navitas Skilled Futures (NSF). Having previously studied in the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) at NSF, Lina revealed how she’s been able to empathise with students and their sometimes challenging circumstances.

Lina Mrad profile photo

The AMEP is funded by the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs and supports the English language settlement needs of migrants and refugees. In addition, it provides a community to those arriving on Australian shores. This year marks 76 years of the AMEP, and 26 years of NSF delivering the program. NSF currently delivers AMEP in parts of Western Sydney & the ACT, and offers additional settlement support through services such as pathway guidance.

“I love being a part of the team at NSF. Having been through the AMEP, I understand the people who come to study at NSF and the pain they may have had to go through to get here.” 

Lina Mrad, former AMEP student

Married in her home country of Lebanon, Lina moved to Australia with her husband 12 years ago on a partner visa; she is  now an Australian citizen and has two children.

“We’ve made a life in Australia. We still manage to see family in Lebanon every couple of years – I always get my mum asking if I’ve booked my flights yet!” 

Lina admitted that when she first arrived in Australia, she suffered from depression, as she found it difficult to adapt to the culture. Although she had studied English in Lebanon, the significant life changes and settlement challenges, combined with separation from family, affected her confidence and sense of identity. This was until she came across the AMEP at NSF. 

“It was a really tough time and I only started to improve after I came across the AMEP’s free classes. It was a big stepping stone for me where I developed my English and met people from around the world who had similar experiences.” 

Lina Mrad, former AMEP student

NSF General Manager, Jetinder Macfarlane, commended Lina on the positive impact she has had on students and the wider NSF community.

“Lina’s journey is a wonderful example of how the AMEP helps migrants and refugees to live their best life in Australia. Being part of the AMEP at NSF provides so many more benefits than learning English, such as being part of a community, sense of purpose and personal growth gains, which all contribute to individuals feeling supported to reach their own identified goals,” Ms Macfarlane said. “Her commitment to our students and dedication to her role is inspiring. We’re very proud to have her as part of the NSF team.”

Looking to the future, Lina is feeling positive about her family life and the growth of her career. Her long-term goals are to create and run her own online trading business, and to support her children to reach their own goals.

“The AMEP helped me emotionally and to better understand the culture and society of Australia,” Lina said. “Before I enrolled in the AMEP I was stuck at home, but now I have the drive to improve myself, and my family are happy.” 

Lina Mrad, former AMEP student

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