How Romy is fulfilling her nursing dreams


Originally from Amanzimtoti, South Africa, Romy Altenburger sums up her motivation to move to Australia with one word: curiosity.

"I've always wondered what was on the other side of the world," she shares. "So, I decided to get the ball rolling: I jumped on a plane and came to Australia to check it out."

While Romy originally came on a working holiday visa, she soon decided to study at TAFE International Western Australia (TIWA). While there is a wide range of courses for international students, Romy opted to study the HLT54115 Diploma of Nursing at the Central Regional TAFE Geraldton campus, which she says reminds her of her hometown.

"In South Africa, I get to see the sun rise over the ocean and here in Australia, I get to see it set," she says. "In a strange way, it's almost like I've followed the sun."

Romy at the beach

She notes that Geraldton's tight knit community made it particularly easy to feel right at home in the regional town – and that sense of togetherness also happens to be one of the defining traits of her TAFE campus.

"One of my fears in beginning my course was going into a new environment and meeting new people, such as lecturers and fellow students. But both of these parties have contributed to my enjoyment here," says Romy. "I've made some good friends along the way."

In addition to settling into her home away from home and making new connections, Romy shares that her educational journey at TIWA has been incredibly fulfilling, largely due to the outstanding equipment provided to students.

Romy says, "As a nurse, we've been offered a true representation of what it's like to work in the field. We're getting insider knowledge on how the patient might react and as a result, we're getting that knowledge base."

Some of the most useful equipment, she shares, has come in the form of medicine cabinets, injections and lifelike manikins, which mimic human movements such as breathing and coughing. These tools give students the opportunity to participate in simulations and gain the hands-on experience they'll need to succeed in healthcare workplaces.

"The lecturers will set up different scenarios around these manikins and we have to assess the situation," explains Romy. "We have to take care of the patient until they return to primary status. It's quite unique."

Affordability is another one of TIWA's unique offerings, adds Romy. While international tuition costs can be extremely expensive, she says that TIWA international student fees have been much more budget friendly, which has provided some added peace of mind.

"The campus offers the HLT54115 Diploma of Nursing at a reasonable international fee," she notes. "I've also had the opportunity to set up a payment plan to pay my fees each semester through TIWA, which I am very grateful for."

When it comes to the future, Romy is currently keeping her career pathways wide open. Rather than pursuing a specific nursing specialisation, she is focusing on honing her skills.

"I want to become a well trained enrolled nurse who has the ability to adapt to situations well." Without a shadow of a doubt, Romy shares that she is certain her course at TIWA will set her on the path to achieving this goal and securing a job, no matter which nursing path she chooses.

"The coursework and lecturers have given me the confidence and knowledge to assess certain situations and be able to make decisions based on the patient's health," she says.

When asked about her advice for fellow international students hoping to embark upon their own educational journeys at TIWA, Romy's guidance is simple: "Be confident in the direction you have taken. As daunting as it may seem to start all over again, it will be worth it in the end. Remain open minded, have fun and trust the timing of your life."

To develop strong links with industry to succeed in the future employment market, choose TAFE International Western Australia (TIWA) for globally recognised courses delivered by dedicated lecturers with industry experience and connections. Check out the wide range of courses that TIWA has to offer and detailed information on the application process. You can apply to study with TIWA by completing an online application. 

Added to shortlist view shortlist0
  • You have not added any courses to the shortlist yet.