University of Southern Queensland, Australia: Study Experience of Ram

Ram is currently pursuing his PhD degree in Valuing Ecosystem Services at University of Southern Queensland. We asked Ram to share his story of studying abroad with us.

Tell us a bit about yourself. What is your name? How old are you? Where do you come from?

I am Ram P. Acharya. Now I am turning 45 years old. I am basically from a remote village, Dolakha, in Nepal.

What is the name of your university, study programme, which discipline? When did you start studying?

I am a PhD student at University of Southern Queensland, Australia. Having a forestry background and being involved in economic upliftment of local communities, I chose my carrier in Forest Resource Economics and Green Economy. Currently, I am doing my PhD in "Valuing Ecosystem Services' Contribution at Local to Global Scale: Case Study from Chure Region of Nepal". I started in February, 2017.

What made you choose this programme? How did you decide?

I have set my long-term goal to be an environmental economist and want to contribute to Nepal's rural poverty reduction. The proposed PhD on "Valuing Ecosystem Services' Contribution at Local to Global Scale: Case Study from Chure Region of Nepal" will be a milestone to achieve it. This research aims at adding knowledge on total economic valuation of mountain areas, focusing on both market and non-market goods and services.

The research area is of particular importance for my professional career, as there are very few experts available in Nepal. I believe this programme will enhance my skills and knowledge by broadening theoretical knowledge base on valuation techniques and adopting computer based choice modelling of non-market goods and services. I expect the programme will expose my economic potential for developing incentive mechanism and contributing to poverty reduction of resource dependent communities. The outcomes will serve as a suite of knowledge generation and enhance my capabilities to be an independent researcher on green economy.

Did you find your study programme on StudyPortals? If so, how then did StudyPortals help you in your decision process?

Yes, I received regular mails from StudyPortals about the scholarship schemes. Out of the mails was about the endeavour scholarship, which was very helpful to achieve my goal and decision process.

What were the main challenges you had to face before being accepted to your university?

I have completed a Master’s degree at the Indian Institute of Forest Management (IIFM) in 2003. After my graduation, I mostly worked from very grassroots to policy level. During that period (2003-2016), my focus was mainly developmental delivery and limited time was provided for communicating our achievements through academic and other types of writing.

Then, I applied to 4-5 other universities, but they did not respond to me. Some of the universities declined me due to age limit and limited funding resources. Later, I realized that there should be some publications and tried to get published my paper too. When I succeeded to have my paper published,, that helped me a lot to get admitted. When I sent my CV to my current supervisor, he immediately asked to send some pertinent publication too. As he evaluated my publication, then he accepted to be my supervisor and then send the paper to my current university.

Did you take a language test (e.g. TOEFL, IELTS) when applying for the programme? If yes, which one did you choose, why and how was your experience with it?

I have taken IELTS when applying for the programme. One of the major things to apply in any university is getting a minimum score in the language test. I had a bitter experience with IELTS since there were a limited number of dates and seats available to take the exam. Since I was involved in several jobs and limited time to allocate to this test, it was very difficult to find time for this.

Check IELTS test locations worldwide.

What are three things you like most about the university? Why?

I have a dream to graduate from Australian university with selected course i.e. Resource Economics. I like mostly:

  • the friendly, supportive and academic environment
  • physical facilities
  • courses cover global views, from an equitable and justifiable manner

If you could improve anything about the university, what would it be?

I am new here and I have limited suggestions to my university.

What are three things you like the most about the city?

I have come here since last three and half months. I have observed few peculiarities compared to my country, especially:

  • traffic control
  • land use management including housing and property management
  • clean and green environment within the city too.

What was the biggest surprise in your study adventure?

Being a citizen from a developing country, the extend of use of technology to every sector was the biggest surprise especially from education, marketing and other areas.

How would you rate your experience on a scale from zero to ten (0 – It is/was a total disaster, 10 – I have/had the time of my life)? Why?

I will rate my experience here with a 9 since I will get my PhD graduation and it will be helpful to my country as well as to Australia. I will share some very interesting findings that might also be helpful to developed countries too.

What would be your advice for students from your country that consider studying abroad?

If anybody wants to study abroad, he/she should prepare and it will take a considerable time to achieve that opportunity.

Is there anything that you would do differently if you could do it over again?

I will certainly allocate enough time for academic work such as writing and sharing our achievements to larger societies.

What are your future plans after graduation?

When I will finish my PhD, I will develop some project focusing on natural resource management, with support from this university and other groups of people.

Share your favourite spot, at the university and the city with us!

I like my university's surroundings mostly.

Were you inspired by Ram's story?

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