Ayub Alam Khan is one of 242 students who graduated in three Charles Sturt University (CSU) ceremonies in Port Macquarie today (December 9).
The Master of Information Technology international grad is the first student from Pakistan to attend CSU in Port Macquarie.
During that time Mr Khan was elected National Postgraduate Officer for the Council of International Students Australia, president of the Charles Sturt International Student Association and became a Student Ambassador of CSU Port Macquarie.
"All the opportunities I have got here I don't think I would have been able to get elsewhere. The interactions between lecturers and students, academic pursuits are more focused than the big cities," he said.
"You can see your professors and your student ambassadors daily. You can easily learn what you can do in the community.
"To be honest the education I received in Port Macquarie, I don't think I could get in any other big city like Sydney or Melbourne."
Mr Khan used his time to further specialise in Computer Networking and Network Security. He also founded the Port International Student Club, organised cultural festivals on campus and was a cricket umpire.
"Within of two or three months of being here I realised there are many community opportunities. I understood that I can do heaps better than other students in other big city universities and I could graduate in just two years," he said.
"Living in an Asian country we do have international options such as the UK, USA and Canada in our mindset but Australia is the most multicultural country in the world. That made up my mind.
"The best thing about Port Macquarie is how welcoming it is, how nice the people are."
More than 860 guests such as families and friends were in attendance for the three ceremonies held at The Glasshouse in Port Macquarie.
Mature aged student from Lake Cathie and North Coast TAFE Community Services and Health student of the year 2017, Nerida Wallace is graduating with a Bachelor of Science, Nursing.
"I began that degree in February 2018 with distance education because it wasn't offered at CSU as yet," she said.
"I am also an enrolled nurse so CSU accepted my qualifications so that I could study full time and graduate in November this year.
"The distance education was flexible for me when I could access the tutorials at any time of the day or night. That fit in with my work at an aged care facility and teaching aged care nursing at TAFE.
"As a mature aged student I didn't ever think I would go to university, let alone graduate from university. To be able to graduate in my home town of 20 years, I think that is fantastic."
Seventy-five students graduated from the Faculty of Arts and Education, 87 from the Faculty of Business, Justice and Behavioural Sciences and 80 from the Faculty of Science.
The presentations were presided over by master of ceremonies, University Secretary and Director of Governance and Corporate Affairs, Cassandra Webeck.
"It is fantastic to see such a great number of students being recognised for their hard work and the academic success they've achieved under the guidance of the University's dedicated educators," said CSU vice-chancellor Professor Andrew Vann.
"They are leaving the University with great career prospects, secure in the knowledge that Charles Sturt University has been ranked the top Australian tertiary institution for undergraduate full-time employment for the fourth consecutive year."
Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Students, Jenny Roberts congratulated graduating students and encouraged them to make positive impacts in their future endeavours.
"By completing their courses and earning the right to graduate, these students have shown themselves to be industrious, intelligent and inspiring," said Ms Roberts.
"(These are) all attributes which will help them forge successful careers in their post-university lives."
What else is making news, sport.
While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox from the Port Macquarie News. To make sure you're up to date with all the news, SIGN UP HERE.