Poornima Ajayan is a doctor from Kerala in southern India. After graduating from medical school in 2017, she emigrated and began a new life with her husband in Australia.
Here she tells us about her exciting journey. You’ll find out about her race against time to prove her level of English with PTE after being offered a dream job at the Royal Perth Hospital.
Life in paradise
Australia is a country famous for its white-sand beaches, unique wildlife, and opportunities for skilled workers. For Poornima it lived up to all her expectations: She loves the tropical climate, the relaxed atmosphere, and the space that Perth offers.
“There are a lot of things I like about living in Perth. It’s a very calm, quiet, beautiful place in fact. I feel very peaceful. I studied in one of the busiest medical schools in my state. Although I like being among people – I like some me-time too!”
Poornima is also a big fan of the fact that it’s easy to call her family back home (there’s just a two-hour time difference) – and she loves that she can travel to Bali easily.
Hard work and a last-minute shock
But life hasn’t always been this relaxed. Poornima tells us that it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to settle in a new country. And, as a medical doctor, she had to take a series of exams in order to practice her profession in the country.
She took PTE as part of a job application.
“I recently got offered a job contract in the Royal Perth Hospital. In order to get my registration after the job contract, I needed to do a lot of paperwork. Having an English test score was mandatory for that.”
Poornima may have taken the PTE as part of her job application, but she certainly wasn’t expecting to.
“I took IELTS two years back, in India. When I decided to take it, I had never taken any English tests before that… I did get a good score, but unfortunately for me, it expired just when I needed it – when I got the job contract!”
Because she had just been offered a job, Poornima had very little time to prepare for or take another English test. She decided to take the PTE because she needed her results quickly.
“Honestly speaking, compared to IELTS, PTE was a lifesaver and a breath of fresh air for me PTE is much simpler and it’s easier to do. And you get the results faster. That was my main selling point to take the PTE.”
Just two days to prepare for PTE
Poornima found out her IELTS score had expired on Thursday evening. Although she hadn’t heard of PTE, her husband had. He’d taken it as part of his visa and master’s applications. He told her how much easier and faster the test was.
With no time to spare, she booked PTE for 8 am on Monday. She needed a score of 60 – and had just two days to prepare:
“I studied for six hours each day. ”She tells us that while she had a strong foundation in English, this preparation was key. It helped her feel confident enough to walk into the exam center. So did she get the score she needed?
“I don’t exactly remember what it was, but I think it was pretty good!”
We knew you could do it Poornima!
Passing was important, but fast test results were essential
Poornima was under a lot of time pressure to prove her level of English. She was relying on getting her results to make her job offer official. So how quickly did they arrive? “I got the test results the same day! I really needed them as soon as possible for my paperwork and by the time I got back home at 11 am, I had them.”
So what does she think about PTE now?
“I’d recommend the exam to anyone. It’s an awesome test.”
A joint decision to explore the world
“If you’d have asked me some three years back, I might have said, oh no, an English test? Pursuing a career in a foreign land? It’s too difficult! But deep down, I always wanted to go abroad, see new places, be adventurous, and think out of the box.”
Before Poornima was married, she had been planning to do a master’s in India. “But then, I decided I should be more adventurous and explore the world.”
When Poornima met her future husband, they agreed that they would leave for Australia as soon as they were married.
“I’m a huge admirer of Paulo Coelho and his book The Alchemist. It’s what drives me forward every time I have a roadblock in front of me. So I believe that you have the right to dream big. You shouldn’t suppress your dreams.”
Taking the leap and moving countries
Poornima explains that before you emigrate to a new country, you should research to find out if you can really survive there. “Nothing’s impossible if you put your heart soul into it, with much-needed hard work. That’s what I believe in and that’s what drives me forward,” she says.
And will Poornima and her husband be staying in Australia?
“For the time being, nothing has been decided concretely, but I’d say maybe we’ll be staying here for the long haul. Given the option, we’ll be sticking to Australia.”