This piece was submitted by Dara Tafazoli, a PhD candidate in the School of Education.


Moving to the furthest part of the world, Australia, from Iran, was not a new beginning to me, at least not at first. In contrast, it was a beginning of decadence, as I lost all that I had loved (family, home and friends), missed all that I had achieved (job, social status, etc.) and left all that I had cared for (home foods, the neighborhood, memories, music and many other captivating things).

Yes, it was terrifying! I started this journey to learn more. To learn about ‘Aussie’ culture, education, society, customs, etc. However, I never imagined that living in a 4 x 5 room in another country could be so troublesome. Tolerating a 7.5-hour time difference with Iran to talk to one of my family members was not an easy task. I always said to myself, “You have to tolerate to achieve what you want.”

If I can express one of the issues of a PhD program, I must declare that finding a friend is quite difficult. In my opinion, the reason is everybody focuses on his/her research and only maintains a relationship with his/her supervisors or some of the university staff.

Meanwhile, I had – and have – two Iranian friends in Malaysia who video-called me three times a day. Each video-call lasted at least 30 minutes. Surprisingly, we had many video-calls for around 2 hours. Both were really trying to motivate me to accept the challenge and stay on track. Although I had already made my decision to reach a new achievement in Australia, they could not know just how much their words and presence would bring ‘life’ to my life. They always had my back, from the very early hours of the morning to the very late hours at night.

During these two weeks, I found that A REAL FRIENDSHIP is the biggest ‘new beginning’ I have experienced in my life. A REAL FRIENDSHIP is exhilarating. A REAL FRIENDSHIP is what I have discovered.

Thank you Erfan for teaching me how to be a ‘valuable man’, and thank you Gelareh for teaching me how to love unconditionally.


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