When Huynh (Harry) arrived to study in Queensland in 2011, he spoke very little English. Four months later, he had completed a High School Preparation (HSP) program at Whites Hill State College giving him the language proficiency he needed to join mainstream Year 11 classes at Cleveland District SHS.
By Year 12, Harry already knew he wanted to study nursing but says he was confused by the array of tertiary study options available to him. With the help of his school guidance counsellor, Harry set his sights on a course at Queensland University of Technology and chose senior high school studies in mathematics, chemistry and biology to take him there.
"(The counsellor) would go through every single thing about nursing, the subjects you had to be good at, or you need to do. That's quite helpful because in Year 12 even though I knew what I wanted to do in the future I still felt lost because uni (university) is so broad," he says.
As an international student, Harry says his teachers gave him the support he needed to succeed in his studies.
"I got a lot of support from my high school teachers but one of the most inspirational teachers was my biology teacher – he was very supportive, he spent his time helping me out with my study, he's quite a knowledgeable person and he inspired me a lot in high school."
During Year 12, Harry also had the opportunity to undertake work experience at Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital.
"It's quite amazing when you get to work in a cardiac ward and I was inspired by all the nurses. I just felt it was amazing to have so much knowledge about nursing, know so much about human anatomy. I felt like this is what I want to do in the future and it really helped me to refine why I chose to do nursing."
Now qualified, Harry is excited about the future and where his degree and practical experience will take him next.
"Nursing is internationally recognised as a degree so once you get the degree you can actually work wherever you want in most countries around the world. It's fantastic; it's a great advantage."