Torrens University's first international student reflects on his journey

Dele Ogunsoto

"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world,” Nelson Mandela.

When Nigerian-born Dele Ogunsoto walked into Torrens University Australia's newly opened Adelaide campus in 2014, he had no idea of what he wanted to do, but he knew he wanted to study.

“Things were very tough for me – I didn’t know what to do. I was walking around Adelaide Square, and I saw the Torrens campus building – I was amazed that I could just walk in! I said to the staff ‘I want to study.’ They said the only course they do was Bachelor of Commerce and gave me a form. I filled it in and went away.

“Then I got the call - ‘congratulations, you have been accepted.’ I thought to myself, ‘how am I going to pay for this? I had no money! Then two days later, I got another call – ‘congratulations, you have been awarded a full scholarship!’ I thought it was a scam!”

Torrens University's first full international student scholarship

That scholarship for Torrens University’s first international student led to a Masters and now a pathway to a PhD in the application of machine reasoning (Artificial Intelligence) to improve employee performance and a job as Operations Support Officer at Torrens University helping other international students make their dreams come true.

Dele’s journey has not always been easy – but what has made the difference is the support that he has received as both a student and employee at Torrens.

“At the start, it was tough – I was failing my subjects, but then my tutors offered me extra support and I knuckled down and the academics and students – we became like a kind of a big family. After I completed my Masters, I was offered a job at Torrens – and I love it.

“I can say it 100% is a very good place. If you work in Torrens, you know that it is not about the building, it is about the people. It is about the people you work with, and they are there to support you - you can't ask for more when you have an employer that looks after you.

“Torrens University has helped me so much that I want to reciprocate that and help other international students. I work with the international team to support and motivate students and give talks to the Student Representative Council.

Dele’s top tips for international students:

  • Follow your dream wherever you have come from – your dream is valid. And you can achieve it irrespective of challenges you face in Australia - I am a living testimony that - I came here with nothing
  • Your resilience, your perseverance and your attitude will help you to go far
  • Don't allow any challenges to discourage you
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