Finding her feet (and faith) at ACU

How Indian student Ekampreet Kaur built a new life at ACU and handled the year that was 2020.

When she first arrived at ACU’s North Sydney campus, Indian student Ekampreet Kaur wasn’t quite sure how to start making friends.

A naturally reserved person, she found it difficult to approach people she didn’t know. Instead, she decided to get involved in some campus activities as a way of meeting new friends through shared experiences.

“Instead of sitting alone and feeling left out, I realised it’s better to use my time to do something productive,” says the second-year Bachelor of Nursing student.

“That’s when I started reaching out to ACU activities, getting more information about what’s going on at uni and getting involved,”

At ACU, there are lots of campus activities to choose from – Ekampreet signed up for Leading with Impact, a leadership skills development program; and volunteered for the International Airport Arrivals team, whose job it is to welcome new international students when they land in Australia.

She took part in Interchange, an education program designed to help international students build entrepreneurial skills – “even though I’m studying nursing, I’m kind of interested in the business side as well,” she says – and also participated in a range of on-campus competitions and volunteering opportunities.

Her confidence grew quickly, and in early 2020, she took the ultimate leap out of her comfort zone, putting her name forward for the ACU Student Senate elections.

“I was always a conservative kind of person, but during elections, you have to reach out to people so they vote for you,” she says.

“In the end, I didn’t make it to the senate, but I made lots of friends during the election process who are still my friends today.”

When the COVID-19 shutdowns began in early March, the connections she’d made at ACU became more important than ever. Teaching moved online – a big change for nursing students like Ekampreet, who were used to doing lots of hands-on clinical assignments and completing hospital placements as part of their studies.

It wasn’t all bad – she says that teachers really tried to deliver a dynamic online learning experience, and she used the time she’d normally spend commuting to campus to get more involved with her studies. The university also delivered a wide range of support services and online events to help keep students connected to university life.

But after all the time she’d spent getting involved in campus life, it was the social aspect she missed the most. While teaching has been online for Semester 2, 2020, students can now visit the campus to participate in a range of COVID-safe events.

Ekampreet has now signed up to the Frontier Evangelising volunteer program, which is run by the ACU Campus Ministry. The goal? Engaging and inspiring the ACU student community through music, events, community outreach and faith-based initiatives.

“I want to be part of making ACU a more welcoming and friendly place for other students, especially for newcomers coming next year,” she says.

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