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Nusrat Sharmin: Studying in Australia to improve health law in Bangladesh

Posted: 27 April 2023

Bangladesh, Bangladesh, Experience, Impact, Scholar,

Nusrat Sharmin is a Senior Assistant Judge of the Bangladesh Judiciary. She is passionate about using the law to find solutions to health issues prevalent in her country. Her Australia Awards Scholarship will help her to navigate this path, and to assess health laws in Bangladesh with a new perspective. Her Scholarship is not only helping her achieve her dream of undertaking higher study internationally but also offers an opportunity to connect with a global network of professionals who will help her enhance her personal and professional growth.

Nusrat was featured as ‘the face of’ the Australia Awards – Bangladesh promotions for study commencing in 2024. We asked her some questions about her Australia Awards experience and what advice she has for prospective Scholarship applicants.

What made you decide to apply for an Australia Awards Scholarship?

I have always wanted to work for health rights in my country, but I lacked knowledge about health laws and issues. Over time, health-related disputes were increasing severely. But effective solutions were unknown to us. Unfortunately, in Bangladesh, no university offers courses in law related to health regulations. So, I started looking for such courses in foreign universities and noticed that top universities in Australia, like the University of Melbourne and the University of Sydney, offer this course. But the problem was financing. I could not afford to pursue my studies abroad if I had to fund them myself. Then one of my colleagues, an Australia Awards alumni, told me to apply for this Scholarship to pursue my long-cherished desire for higher studies. I searched the internet and learnt that it is a prestigious Scholarship with considerable benefits. Therefore, I applied and was fortunate enough to be selected. This one piece of advice from my colleague just changed my life!

Where and what are you studying?

I am studying a Master of Health and Medical Law at the University of Melbourne, one of the top law schools in the world.

How has your Australia Awards Scholarship contributed to your personal and professional growth so far?

This Scholarship has significantly contributed to my personal and professional growth. It has broadened and refined my ideas and professional outlook. Before getting this Scholarship, I was an introvert by nature. But through Australia Awards I got to meet a bunch of scholars and classmates from different countries and professions who all share similar values and motivations. Their cooperation and interaction helped me come out of my shell and be confident. Different events and short courses arranged by Australia Awards and the university community taught me how to communicate effectively with others and socialise through networking. I also learnt to be focused and more target-oriented regarding my aim and vision, and increased my professionalism.

Different short courses arranged by Australia Awards prepared me well and enriched my research aptitude prior to undertaking my core modules. I also got some ideas and examples about presentation and examination skills, which later helped me to do well in my main course. All these preparatory courses will add more value to my professional career too.

Nusrat with other Victoria-based scholars

Can you share how you are growing your professional network during your Scholarship?

My Australia Awards Scholarship is not just a scholarship; it is a community and a massive platform for professional networking. Different programs and get-togethers arranged by the Australia Awards community helped me to get acquainted with professionals from different backgrounds and countries. As a result, I have a strong network that extends beyond my country and profession.

Through this Scholarship, I got to study at the University of Melbourne, where I came across lecturers with a worldwide reputation in their respective fields. Their contribution to the health law sector inspired me to learn more about their work and write several papers on contemporary health law. In doing so, I built a close connection with some of them, whom I believe will assist me in my country’s needs regarding laws related to health issues. In this way, I am gradually developing my professional network. Apart from this, well-known judges from Australia also deliver guest lectures for my course. I sometimes exchange thoughts and discuss different issues with them. This exchange of thoughts and ideas fosters professional cooperation and networking.

Can you tell us a bit about your experience in Australia so far, beyond your academic studies?

Besides my studies, I am exploring beautiful Australia as much as possible. I have already travelled to New South Wales, Queensland and Tasmania. Exploring from the picturesque Great Ocean Road to the Great Barrier Reef, the Blue Mountains to Mount Wellington, gave me a sense of inner peace. I believe that I need to garner more and more life experiences and knowledge by visiting new places, meeting their people, and exploring their culture, lifestyle and philosophies. As a judge, this experience will help me try different cases from different perspectives. It will also extend my outlook and perception of the place, people and events.

Because Melbourne is a cosmopolitan city, its cultural diversity taught me to be respectful to others irrespective of their race, religion, gender and culture. As a woman, I experienced more freedom and empowerment here.

Nusrat engaging with other Victoria-based scholars from Bangladesh

What do you hope to do in the future, particularly after your Scholarship experience?

I want to utilise my Scholarship experience and learning outcomes professionally and personally. After returning to my home country, I will deliver my renewed ideas and knowledge to reform and update Bangladesh’s existing health laws and policies. I will also impart my Scholarship experience to my colleagues and fellow citizens to inspire them to be leaders in their respective fields. Mainly, I will encourage women to apply for this Scholarship to enlighten themselves with wonderful experiences and memories and utilise those in responding to the country’s economic situation as self-dependent, empowered human beings.

What advice would you give to potential Scholarship applicants?

Always try to be focused on your objective and purpose and articulate it in your essays. Make a roadmap for your future plans. Try to research your subject area and find flaws in the field you want to work on, set targets on those and go ahead according to your plan. Represent yourself in your application and interview as the person you actually are. Be confident but modest. Do not lose your patience. Remember, it is not the end; it is just the beginning!