Sanjeev Murthy was all smiles on Wednesday as he graduated from the University of Wollongong with a masters in engineering management, but his journey towards the hard-earned degree hasn't always been a happy one.
The 29-year-old from Bangalore, India, had a tough time when he first arrived in Australia two years ago, battling culture shock and home sickness.
"I'm an only child for my parents and I haven't spent much time away from them, I felt a bit lonely here," he said.
"The food was another aspect, I'm a vegetarian and I didn't know what to cook as well.
"It was a cultural shock."
He could easily have given up and headed back to India and the familiar comforts of home, but Mr Murthy decided instead to reach out to the university for support.
"As days went by I felt more comfortable and I was able to concentrate on my studies," he said.
Mr Murthy threw himself into helping other international students settle into Australian life and has volunteered with numerous student groups and charities, including the Red Cross, the Illawarra Committee for International Students and the International Students Program, among others.
For his efforts he has been nominated for UOW's International Student of the Year.