I didn’t come from a wealthy background in Nepal. My father had to get a loan to pay for my flight and my first semester at university, and when I first arrived, I stayed in a house in Sydney with 28 others. Then I moved into another place with some friends, and all our furniture came from stuff that had been thrown out on the side of the road!

I really needed work so that I could continue to pay for my degree. But even though I dropped resumes off everywhere, I didn’t have any luck. Finally, my cousin in Brisbane got me a job in a restaurant, so over my summer holiday I went up and worked there, and just managed to save enough to pay for my next semester. While I was up there, I met my cousin’s flatmate, Grace, who had come from South Korea to do a nursing degree. I won her heart through my cooking skills and soon we started going out. As a result, I decided to move to Brisbane. Six months later, I proposed!

My next job in Brisbane was as a burger boy. Later, I was promoted to Assistant Manager and that job helped me pay for all of my degree. And even though my Dad didn’t ask me to, I also managed to pay back the bank loan which he took out for me.

After I finished my studies, I couldn’t get a job in my field because I lacked corporate experience and because I didn’t have permanent residency. So, in 2012, Grace and I decided to move to Darwin to look for work. Eventually, she got sponsored by the hospital where she worked, and I got work at the Bank of Queensland. The person who interviewed me, Andrew Highman, is one person I will never forget. He mentored me for the whole time I was there, passing on all of his 25 years plus of experience to me, and whatever I’ve achieved, he contributed a lot to. He really went above and beyond his duty. Now, he’s like family to me and I feel really grateful to him.

After having our first daughter, we decided to move to Toowoomba to be close to Grace’s family. We’re very happy here. I’m working at the National Australia Bank here as a Business Banking Manager, and I’m also the co-founder of a charity called Shelter for Hope. We organised fund-raising events in Toowoomba after the earthquake in Nepal, and thanks to the generosity of the people here and elsewhere, we are now in the process of building 2 community centres there.

A lot of people have contributed to my life’s success. My parents, who let me come over here, my granny, who cries every time I call her because she’s worried about me, and my wife, Grace, who also sacrificed many things just for us to get where we are now. We’ve been happily married for almost 8 years now, with two beautiful daughters.

It took a lot of hard work and sacrifice but it’s all been worth it. We find it our privilege to call Australia home.

Ujjwal “Udi”
Arrived 2007

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