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By Fiona West | August 12, 2021

When Sandy Kurdi left Lebanon in 2018 to start a new life in Sydney with her Australian-born husband she left behind not only her family but also a Bachelor of Physics degree, which she was just one semester away from completing.

Three years on, the 22-year-old now has a baby boy to look after, but she is as determined as ever to complete her degree and start her science career, which she is on her way to achieving with the help of Navitas English.

“Obviously making a family is a really nice thing but I’m not planning to have any other kids now. At the moment I want to work and focus on my future,” Sandy said.

With a good command of English from her high school in Lebanon, Sandy was able to enrol straight into the Pathways to Work program at Navitas English Bankstown, which led to a casual job at a local real estate agency. Then when a position became available at Liverpool college in administration and bi-lingual support, Sandy applied and was thrilled to return to Navitas as an employee. She worked there until last year, when she left to have her baby, Fadi, who is now 15 months old.

Successful student-turned-employee Sandy Kurdi, with 15-month-old son Fadi.

“Before Australia, as well as doing my degree I was working in a library as an administrative officer. I used to do invoices and data entry, which I am passionate about,” she said.

“At Navitas I worked in reception filing documents and training for data entry as well as helping students with bi-lingual support at the college and in the classroom. I really love helping people.”

Sandy also did some casual work at the Fairfield and Bankstown colleges, and she has recently applied to return, so she can work part-time while doing her degree.

“I have been accepted into Macquarie University for a science degree but I am waiting for my permanent residency to come through, rather than studying as an international student,” she said.

“I would like to go to uni part-time so I can work as well.”

Sandy said despite her experience in her homeland, the Pathways to Work program really helped her gain confidence for working in Australia. “It helped with what to say in an interview, what questions you’ll be asked, they taught me words we use in everyday conversations; it was really useful and it helped me a lot. The teacher was really good at preparing me for everything.”

After completing that program Sandy continued at Navitas, using AMEP hours to work on her IELTS (International English Language Testing System) with another trainer.

“Choosing Navitas was the best choice I made because it helped me to improve my English and gave me the experience and skills to find a job,” she said.

“As a student at Navitas you see there are a lot of opportunities there. You don’t need to go outside of Navitas to do something else. Anything you need in Australia they will help you. Even the simplest things. When you are not settled in the country yet you need so much help and they offer it to you.”

Sandy made friends at the course whom she is still in contact with, but also her workmates at Navitas became “like my family”.

“I really like Navitas, I’m comfortable there, I know the workplace there and they like me. It’s really nice working there,” she said.

“When I left to have the baby they made a little party for me and they all bought me gifts,” she said. “I was overwhelmed. Believe me, it was the best day and I can’t forget about it. I felt like they were like my family.”

Notice: On 1 December 2021, Navitas English changed its name to Navitas Skilled Futures. This name change reflects our programs, the focus of our work, and our positive impact on the people we serve. Find out more here.


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