A dramatic career shift: Moving to Sydney and starting a new life
“If it was not for PTE, then I wouldn't be here in Australia.”
Samuel Ihura was born and raised in the suburbs of Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. Today, he lives more than 12,000 kilometers away with his family in Sydney, Australia.
This was a big change in Sam’s life. But his career shift has been even more dramatic.
In this story, we learn about Sam’s plans to make a big impact on society. We also find out why a different language exam almost stopped him in his tracks. And we read how PTE has helped him overcome the challenges he’s faced on his journey.
Heading down under
Sam made the big decision to migrate to Sydney, Australia, in 2019 with his wife and two young children (aged 4 and 13).
“There are plenty of opportunities here [in Sydney] compared to what we have at home. You know it's sort of like a struggle to get a good job and to earn a good wage that you know would let you live a good standard of life.”
And how is his family enjoying their new lives?
“They’re settled in and adapting well. The big one is currently in high school. So she's loving it here and really getting to explore the Australian culture,” says Sam. “The small one is pretty excited right now too, she just going to start school, and they, she's doing very well yeah she's loving it here.”
But it wasn’t just a change of countries for Sam. He’s also changed his profession entirely. Working as a banker was no longer inspiring for him, “I wanted to make a change in people's lives. I was tired of just sitting at a desk and helping banks make profits.”
Sam took a brave step and moved into healthcare. “I wanted to do something that will be able to help society or the community in general. And healthcare is a basic need. We all need healthcare.”
Sam is currently doing a Master of Nursing at the University of Sydney. At the same time, he’s working as a healthcare worker. His strong interpersonal skills alongside the knowledge and skills he is learning at university will make him an excellent nurse.
“I'll be able to offer the best of my life to Australia.”
Passion led Sam to focus on Australia
Sam was able to stay focused on his goals as he wanted his children to have better opportunities. “When you plan, then that keeps you focused, it gives you an edge, it makes you want to continue doing what you want to do!”
But an English test nearly stopped Sam in his tracks. Sam and his family’s new life in Australia were far from guaranteed. Despite speaking English as a first language, Sam needed to prove his proficiency in order to be accepted for his master’s degree and visa.
When he was in the process of migrating to Australia he decided to take IELTS. “I found it to be a little bit biased in one way or the other. This is how I felt: I felt that the person who was grading me was grading me as, you know, a person who is not a native speaker. You see, so they would go and they would listen to my accent. And with that...they gave a low score.”
Sam needed to score at least 8 and above in IELTS to get his permanent residency. Unfortunately, he was not able to pass.
“I tried doing IELTS twice and then I met my immigration agent,” says Sam. “She was like, ‘Sam, I'm just wondering why you're not able to get an 8 and above,’ and she told me, ‘Well, why don't you go and try PTE?’”
Passing PTE first time
For Sam, booking the test was very easy. “I booked the test online and when you're booking the tests, It will show you where you need to go and do the test. It's very simple.”
Unlike other language tests that rely on human examiners, PTE uses a state-of-the-art artificially intelligent (AI) scoring system. It ensures there is no discrimination or human bias during any part of the test, including during the speaking exam.
“When I tried PTE I passed the first time. I got a score of 85. Actually, that enabled me to come here to Australia. If it was not for PTE, then I wouldn't be here in Australia. So, yeah, I'd say that PTE is factual and it is not biased.”
Sam proved to the world that he was fully proficient in English and that accents are not a marker of English ability.
“I really needed the result within a short period of time and I got it within a short period of time and that enables me to be enrolled into uni within the specific time that was given to me,” he says.
It takes dedication to pass
Sam believes in being prepared. “I studied for around a month. There's a lot of material out there. And with PTE, you have the scored practice tests that are very helpful. And I read some English materials, you know, to prepare myself, learn about basic English. I think that helped a lot.”
If you want to take PTE, Sam recommends you also take some time to study even if you have a good foundation in English. “You have to go back to learn the basics of English for you to be able to get the score that you want.”
Sam’s advice for moving countries
“The best advice that I'd like to give to somebody who's wanting to change their life and take the PTE exam, whether you want to migrate to another country, or if you want to go for further studies is, you know, just go for it,” he says. “The PTE exam is scripted in a way that it is not biased, and if you prepare well in advance, then you assure that you're going to pass your exam. Don't wait for tomorrow, do what you have to do today.”