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Hailing from Nigeria, Kayode already had a Bachelor of Science in General Microbiology and a Master’s degree in Industrial Microbiology when he came to Tasmania to pursue a PhD at the University of Tasmania (UTAS).

“I had always wanted to attend a world-class and research-oriented institution to continue my education, and UTAS ticked all the boxes for me,” he says.

Despite being offered places at universities in the United Kingdom, the support given by a UTAS professor made Kayode’s final decision easier to make.

“My initial contact was Professor Margaret Britz, the then Dean of Science, Engineering and Technology, who later became my primary supervisor. During the application process she was so supportive that I didn’t want to attend any other school.”

Kayode knew he’d made the right decision to study in Tasmania when he arrived at Hobart Airport and his supervisor was already there to pick him up.

“My supervisor welcomed me at the airport and drove me to my hotel. That was very different from my previous experiences with supervisors at other universities. I was also given a new laptop, an excellent office workspace and a well-equipped laboratory.”

Kayode’s study experience in Tasmania continued to be defined by this kind of support.

“UTAS provided all the support needed for excellent performance for any serious candidate. The staff were super-friendly, and the senior researchers were encouraging and willing to help. My primary supervisor was knowledgeable in the field and very passionate about helping me and other research candidates to succeed.”

When Kayode needed to learn a set of skills that wasn’t available locally he was given support to gain these skills elsewhere.

“My supervisor told me to look for the best institute in the world, and then go and learn. When I told her the University of Helsinki in Finland would be good she was supportive and even provided further financial aid with travel grants so I could also attend a conference in Budapest.”

Outside of university, Kayode immersed himself in the local community.

“I joined a very welcoming church and I was also involved in many volunteer activities within the university and events at the Hobart City Council . These activities helped me to get to know the locals and Australian culture.”

For Kayode one of the many benefits of studying in Tasmania was getting to experience all of the state’s natural and cultural attractions.

“The fresh and sometimes windy weather came with what appeared to be the cleanest air I had ever breathed. I could not get enough of the air and the city’s historical beauty. I would walk around the Salamanca area almost every weekend, shopping for local materials from Salamanca Market.”

And while Kayode enjoyed experiencing a new culture, living in a multicultural city like Hobart meant that he also had access to some of his own.

“I wanted my African foods sometimes, and it was super easy to purchase from the African stores around the city,” he says.

When Kayode first came to Australia he was determined to bring his family over from Nigeria. But while his academic scholarship covered tuition, living and research expenses, he needed to save a lot more money to get his loved ones to Australia.

“After applying for a few casual positions and speaking to other people around me I got a casual job barely two weeks after my arrival. This helped me save enough money to bring my family to Australia a few months later.”

After completing his PhD at UTAS, Kayode found work as a probiotic specialist and received a nomination for the Global Talent Visa Program, a very rare streamlined visa pathway that allows highly skilled professionals to work and live permanently in Australia.

As the first Nigerian ever to be nominated for the program it was a huge achievement for Kayode. Alongside his work in the probiotic industry Kayode credits his experience at UTAS with helping him to achieve the nomination.

“Studying at UTAS exposed me to opportunities to learn new things and equipped me with the skills to solve societal problems . I was learning skills and acquiring knowledge from my supervisors. My primary supervisor taught me to look at the bigger picture and I began to search for areas within my field that could be more relevant to society.”

Currently, Kayode is working in the Australian state of Victoria as a quality control microbiologist for a pharmaceutical company that deals with medicinal cannabis.

“My role ensures that quality is built into processes and laboratory operations. It’s an exciting position as it requires me to set up procedures for a new microbiological laboratory as per national and international pharmacopeia. I also develop test methods and oversee all microbiological activities within the company. This ultimately drives a quality culture delivering quality products that are safe for Australians and people around the world.”

We asked Kayode whether he has any advice for other international students thinking about where to study in Australia.

“Tasmania is a beautiful place. I would recommend it, and UTAS, to any international student”.