Too little, too late: Why A Filipino student transferred university from Australia to Canada

Transferred university
It’s been announced that more than 200,000 international students can return in December without an exemption putting an end to its shut borders since March 2020 but for Diana Olivar, it's too late. Source: Diana Olivar

Filipino student Diana Olivar didn’t expect Australia to close its borders for that long. Needing to move on, she’s transferred university from Australia to Canada.

Currently, students are scrambling to book flights to Australia following the country’s shock announcement that it would be reopening its borders to them from Dec. 1, 2021. More than 200,000 international students can return to Australia without an exemption, putting an end to its shut borders since March 2020.

Olivar is not one of the returnees. “I decided to apply to Canada two months ago and everything has been approved,” she says. “I don’t regret anything.”

transferred university

Oliver transferred university and has been accepted to study in Canada. Source: David Gray/AFP

Olivar is ready to progress and put the stress of the last 20 months behind. Below we speak to her about her feelings on the South Australia borders being closed why she transferred university:

How long have you been stranded from your studies in Australia?

Since April 2020.

What are your thoughts about Australia reopening? You’ve transferred university — will this latest news change your mind?

The recent announcement which will see Australia — including the South Australia borders — open gave me hope. I knew this day would come. 

But I think it’s too long overdue. I grew anxious about my future and it came down to deciding whether I would wait or move forward. 

So, I transferred university and decided to apply to Canada two months ago and everything has been approved. I don’t regret anything and I’m happy for my friends and other people who have been waiting for this news. 

It’s been almost two years and I’m glad Australia is taking a step forward to accommodate thousands of stranded visa holders. This is a great time to open up to the world but also cautiously.

Did your uni give you enough support and information throughout your educational journey?

Unfortunately, not enough. My uni and government did nothing to inform or prepare me for my journey back and all they did was give me false promises.

What about the obstacles you faced?

I’ve been deferring my studies since last year as I really didn’t want to study remotely. The Internet connection in the Philippines is not very reliable. 

What’s one thing you’re looking most forward to doing?

I look forward to seeing my friends travel as Australia and South Australia borders open to pursuing their dreams. They’ve been waiting for almost two years and, as I previously mentioned, it’s been long overdue. 

I hope Australia will finally recognise the importance of international students and temporary visa holders.