Tell us a little bit about yourself and your achievements to date.

I'm a medical doctor that decided to step away from clinical practice to instead pursue a career in biomedical research. This (brilliant) decision brought me to Australia! I first studied a master’s degree in Infection and Immunity at the University of Sydney. Due to my academic achievements, I was then awarded a full scholarship to complete a PhD at Monash University here in Melbourne. I work in the field of Microbiology and I am researching new ways to combat the problem of antibiotic resistance. My research has been published in leading scientific journals such as Nature Microbiology and my work has been cited almost 300 times according to Google Scholar.

Fernando Gordillo Altamirano

What are your goals for the future? 

I have fallen in love with Australia and Melbourne, so I definitely envision my future in this city. I want to keep working in something called "translational medicine". This means building bridges between the lab and patients: making sure that new scientific discoveries made in the laboratory are able to transition towards the patients that would benefit from them. I also want to keep using my communication skills to make science engaging to a wide audience. Most importantly, I want to keep the beautiful work/life balance that I have been able to achieve since moving to Australia.

What is the most useful advice you ever received when you faced a challenging time as an international student?

It's okay to ask for help! In fact, acknowledging you are facing challenges that feel bigger than you is a great act of courage. And remembering that help can come from many sources, from friends and family to colleagues, school supervisors, neighbours, and of course health care professionals.

Do you have any words of advice or encouragement for students who are thinking about studying in Victoria?

Over 14,000 km and 16 time zones separate Victoria and most of Latin America. But do not fear my Latino brothers and sisters, you will feel like you belong here from day one. The tacos, ceviches, mojitos and asados here give the original ones a run for their money. You cannot help but smile when you catch the public transport and your instinct tells you it is okay to use your phone or laptop, no one will steal it. You will fall in love with the coffee, I guarantee (I’m typing this as I finish my second flat white of the day). Your favourite artists include Melbourne in their world tours, and spending some money to catch first-class theatre productions and sporting events is well worth it. Victorians smile when they hear your cute accent. The education is world-class. The natural beauty surrounding the city is breathtaking.

They say home is the place where you stop looking for reasons to leave. If that is true, then I’m home.