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By CASEY NEILL

HEBA Zahid is not your average student.
The Springvale South resident moved to Australia from Saudi Arabia in 2008 to complete a Masters of Clinical Embryology.
“I came pregnant with my first child,” she said.
“Then I did masters research for one year to qualify for a PhD.”
Ms Zahid is now a year from completing her PhD in breast cancer research at Monash University, has three children and is a finalist for a Victorian International Education Award.
On 1 December she’ll find out if she’s the International Student of the Year in the Research category.
“It’s an honour. I was very excited. I was very, very happy,” she said.
The nomination recognised her advocacy for support services for international students at Monash University – and puts her in the running for a $10,000 scholarship to contribute to her studies in Victoria.
She’s the Saudi Student Association south Melbourne female sector president, and recently volunteered to be a first-aid officer at Monash University within Hudson Institute for Medical Research.
“You learn more when you engage with other people,” she said.
“If you want to improve your language you need to communicate with other people who speak the language.”
Training and Skills Minister Steve Herbert said all student award recipients would become ambassadors of the State Government’s Study Melbourne initiative and help promote the state as a leading international education destination.
“International education is a vital part of Victoria’s economy and these awards will help showcase the fantastic results that can be achieved from studying at a Victorian university or vocational education provider,” Mr Herbert said.

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