Graduation a family first

Australian Maritime College

19-12- 2013

Jyoti Bhandari was just two years old when his family was forced to flee their home in Bhutan. They spent the next 18 years in a refugee camp in Nepal before being granted humanitarian visas and moving to Launceston, Tasmania in 2009.

Coming from a landlocked country, he had never laid eyes on the ocean before and certainly never considered pursuing a career in ocean engineering.

But his enthusiasm to take on a new challenge combined with sound advice from the university’s Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) officer led him to enrol in an ocean engineering degree at the Australian Maritime College.

“To see the ocean and ocean structures was only possible in pictures for me,” Jyoti said. “I was always passionate about huge ocean and offshore structures but it was impossible to develop this interest from where I was living.”

Four years on, he has become the first member of his family to graduate with a university degree after being admitted to a Bachelor of Engineering (Ocean Engineering) last Saturday, 14 December.

“I couldn’t be happier to have graduated as an ocean engineer,” Jyoti said. "It has brought a lot of positive impact to the Bhutanese community in Launceston. As a result, many young students including my brother are now studying at AMC.”

Jyoti most enjoyed the hands-on aspects of his degree: using the engineering test facilities and team work projects such as the pasta bridge competition, submarine and design projects.

His final year project focused on safety and risk management in engineering and this is the area he is aiming to forge a career in.

“I would like to be a practical engineer solving challenging engineering problems to improve safety, integrity and operations of systems,” Jyoti said.

With two published papers in his chosen field, he is already well on the way to achieving that goal.

Meanwhile, two other members of the Bhandari family will soon follow in Jyoti’s footsteps. His younger brother, Tulsi, and his wife, Ganga, are set to graduate next year with maritime technology management and nursing degrees respectively.

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