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My journey to Australia

My journey to Australia


Charles Sturt students each have their own unique story. Having grown up in Iraq & Türkiye, Geilan shares her childhood experience and her journey to Australia. This journey inspired her to study Law & Criminal Justice at Charles Sturt to give a voice to the voiceless.

Written by Geilan Khodedah

Let’s embark on a journey together…

My journey to Australia.

If I have to sit here and write about the chapters of the past decade, you better sit here and read it. No but seriously, it’s a journey filled with challenges, but is also very inspiring.

I hope you also feel inspired by the end, whether remembering your own journey of self-discovery, pursuing your own education or just simply stepping out of your comfort zone; and as we know, every obstacle is an opportunity to learn and grow!

Iraq Breakaway:

I lived the first 9 years of my life in Shingal, Iraq (my hometown), and to be honest I don’t remember much of it and I don’t know whether it’s intentional or not.

I have a blurred image of myself from back then, I remember myself as being a shy and a quite little girl who always wanted to say something but didn’t have the confidence for it.

Perhaps that’s where my passion for advocacy and justice comes from…

I was in year 5 when my parents decided to flee the country for a better life and a better future, far away from the constant fear, and I will always be thankful that they did.

Next chapter takes place in Türkiye:

It was January 2014 when I arrived in Nevşehir, Türkiye with my family, and oh boy the first few days really did the magic in my eyes.

Türkiye was beautiful.

I mean really different than my home country, although I grew up watching Turkish shows and was obsessed, but it still seemed magical and historic.

Now before you realise it, I did not get any education in Türkiye unfortunately.

My father needed our help to get food on the table and pretty much almost three years went by with this busy life.

Almost all the family members did something to help.

But also, in those three years I created so many memories, bad and good; and learned to do many things, like riding a bicycle!!!

Young Geilan in Türkiye

This chapter takes place in down under:

I was 13 when I first came to Australia, and the city that was assigned to us by the Australian agency at the time was Wagga Wagga.

So yes, when I first arrived in Wagga, I really did think that no one lived here except grandparents and their pets.

Well, until I went to school like two months later and actually saw young people like me. Before coming to Australia, I knew nothing about this country besides my dad loving it so much and wanting to live here one day.

I went to primary school for only a term and then transitioned to high school (yay), and before you know it I graduated high school in 2022!

Now I study Law and Criminal Justice here at Charles Sturt. Just something you would have expected from someone who wanted to give the voiceless a voice.

Want to hear another student voice?

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