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Student Stories – Arsham Eghdamian


Travel buff, wayfarer, solivagant, any of these words could be used to describe Arsham Eghdamian’s educational journey. The point is, he’s well-travelled. But how does a 21-year-old student who left his home country of Iran at the age of 13, attend public school in France, university in California then end up in sunny old Brisbane to study health sciences at UQ? Let’s find out!

Where are you from and where were you schooled?

I am from Iran and lived there until I was 13. Then I moved to France and studied in Strasbourg for approximately 1 year. I went back on exchange to Iran, then ended up in the United States for approximately five years. I finished high school in New York, then went to California for a year of uni. Back home I live in the capital, but it’s not comfortable. It’s culturally different here and you have more freedom.

Is that traditionally Iranian, the travelling?

It’s very Iranian to do that. Normally after someone has their masters when they’re 24 or 25. It’s not as common for someone to leave so early like I did. I was 16 going through the airports, it was exciting but a little bit scary. I was 13 when I went to Strasbourg alone. I’ve been to France so many times before with my parents, and my aunt lives in Strasbourg so it was why they sent me there in the first place.

Was it a culture shock?

It was! I always felt like it was a trip. When I got there, I asked my aunt about the culture and the environment. The strongest culture shock I got was when I went to school, because in Iran we don’t have a manual of how to behave in school, but in France they give you this 20-page manual. You shouldn’t ask questions about this and that, this is how you behave. Very French.

How many languages do you speak?

I speak Persian, English and French. I can read Arabic because we have similar letters, but cannot speak Arabic.

Where did you spend your high school days?

When I went to the US I was in a New York boarding school for about 3 years. It’s the same with residents, kind of like here at Atira. You see all the students hanging around, but you have school at the place where you are living. From there I moved to California with my other aunt. And in the beginning I was at another boarding school.

How did you end up in Australia?

I had this friend of mine who was in my boarding high school, he went to Australia. I said, “Dude why are you going to Australia when you’re already in one of the best places in the world?” He said “Brisbane is one of the best places in the world.” So, I checked it out on YouTube and I still moved to California. After a year I had a video call with him. I asked him if he was still satisfied with his choice, do you like Brisbane and is it the same as you told me before? He said, it’s even better! I asked him his school and he told me. I researched it and wow, it was one of the best schools in the world. Great campus and great city. I was at the university of California, now I go to UQ.

Did you get tired of the California lifestyle?

I was a little bit tired of the suburb life in California. You’re either in Los Angeles or the suburbs. My aunt was in Orange County 60minutes, from LA. Here, it’s 5 minutes and you’re in the city from Toowong, Uni is at St Lucia.

What degree are you studying?

I’m doing pre-med. I’m doing a bachelor of health sciences so I can get into medicine long-term and become a doctor.

What do you like to do in Brisbane?

Every weekend I go into the city to watch premier league football, I support Chelsea F.C. All the things I love to do are really close to me. I’m in a really calm area, I walk along the next to the river every day on my way to Milton Station. It’s great. There’s always something going on. If I want to go to a martial arts class or something I can easily, and I enjoy being here. I feel that this is the time of my life to get the city life experience.

How did you end up at Atira Glen Road?

First up I chose Atira Merivale Street, I had a nice Japanese roommate and had a great experience. After my contract finished I saw that this great company had two more locations, so I took a look before deciding on the next one. When I came here (Atira Glen Road) the building was so nice and the location was amazing. Living in Toowong is awesome, I can walk to Uni, everything worked perfectly. I’ve got really nice housemates, sharing a 6 bedroom with four girls two guys. It’s one of the cleanest apartments in the building I promise you!

After uni?

I have a year and a half left of my bachelors and I want to get into medical school at UQ in Brisbane.


That’s it for the 1st edition of ‘student stories’. Stayed tuned for more interesting interviews from Atira residents Australia-wide.


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