CBD beyond compare

By Sunny Liu

Chintan Pathak came to Melbourne from India to pursue his Master of Business Administration at Deakin University in 2015 and has been living in the CBD ever since.

Mr Pathak said he never thought about living anywhere other than the CBD.

“To me, the CBD is the best place to live in for young people and international students. You get easy access to everything, such as transport, schools, jobs and shops,” he said.

“The CBD is very condensed so it’s very convenient. Everything is within five minutes’ walk from my apartment. So I’ve never thought about moving away from the city.”

Mr Pathak said living in the CBD helped him maintain an active lifestyle.

“I think people living in the suburbs can easily grow lazy because they would stay at home a lot and drive around in a car,” he said.

“But living in the city means you walk everywhere and there are always things to do. So you get more active. It’s like a 24-hour life and you won’t get bored whatever the time is.”

He started working at RMIT as a data wrangler and project officer in 2016 and would not leave the CBD as he both lives and works here.

Coming from small Indian city Bhauj, Mr Pathak said Melbourne offered a more modern and urban lifestyle.

“The lifestyle of my hometown and here is nothing similar. Melbourne is way cleaner than India and even if you sleep in the streets it still would not be too dirty,” he said.

“Life here is very relaxed and we feel safe crossing the street, whereas in India you take your life in your hands crossing an intersection!”

As an international graduate, Mr Pathak said he got a sense of satisfaction through helping other overseas students and providing them with study and career advice.

“I love to help international students who feel stuck in their current situation. Some of them find it challenging to find work in Australia and some are exploited by their employers,” he said.

“There’s a big international student community in the CBD and sometimes I feel Melbourne is more international than Australian.”

He said the best tip he could offer international students was to step out of their comfort zones and small social circles.

“Many foreign students only socialise with people from their own country and don’t even get many chances to speak English. But it is very important for them to be able to communicate with others and go out of their own circle and put themselves out there,” he said.

“They should keep in mind that employers look for their willingness to try new things rather than perfection.”

Mr Pathak also said students and graduates should find more time to invest in themselves through volunteering, networking and mentorship.

“International students need to challenge themselves and build their contacts and find the appropriate mentors,” he said.

“I know how it feels to have nothing in Australia. Students who feel exploited should know their rights and when to speak up.”

Mr Pathak said he had decided to settle down in Melbourne indefinitely, having applied for permanent residency and fallen in love with the city.

“Melbourne really is the perfect place to live in. It’s flexible, convenient and also buzzing with festivities.”

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