'Bwe Thay's Swinburne Story' transcript

My name is Bwe Thay and this is my Swinburne story.

Starting a new life in a new country can be challenging and tricky, especially when you have to get your qualifications again, and with limited financial resources. It was very challenging for me. But I stuck to my dream and here I am.

I'm a Burmese refugee migrant. And I came to Australia in 2009 with my wife. Apart from my brother-in-law's family, we had no other relatives or close friends when we first arrived.

Before arriving here, due to the Civil War in Burma, I fled to the closest refugee camp in the Burma-Thai border. Me and my wife were among the 50,000 refugees locked up in a place which was overcrowded.

I lived there for five years. After two weeks from my arrival, I enrolled to do the Adult Migrant English program at Swinburne Croydon campus. It was an exciting and new experience for me.

It took me 3 and 1/xx years to complete my first degree. But I think it was the most exciting time of my life.

What is education for me? I will say it has liberated me. Education has enabled me to work effectively in my professional employment here at Swinburne and my voluntary advocacy work that I do for the migrant and refugee communities.

Last year, I received the Vice Chancellor's Culture and Values Award 2014.

That, in my opinion, highlights the commitment, partnership and teamwork of the different departments at Swinburne to reach out to the local migrant communities.

Today, I have many friends. I knew that starting life over again in Australia would be a great challenge. But the opportunity to give my children a better future and contribute even greater to my communities.