By plane, bus and foot, Jakhongir Khayatov travelled more than 11,000 kilometres to attend the Southern Cross University graduation ceremony in Lismore last month.
The 23-year-old business alumnus from Uzbekistan, in central Asia, said he was determined not to miss it.
“I decided to participate in the graduation ceremony in Lismore because it is a very important moment for me,” Jakhongir said after crossing the Whitebrook Theatre stage to receive his degree from the Chancellor Nick Burton Taylor AM.
After 16 hours in the air to Australia, 10 hours on a bus from Sydney to Lismore and ‘countless kilometres of walking – I like walking’, Jakhongir joined the University’s academics and graduands for the Lismore CBD street procession earlier that day.
“It was very special to be part of the parade,” he said.
“If I had the time I would have walked from Sydney to Lismore. It was a great opportunity for me to travel. Yes it was a long journey but it’s worth it.”
Jakhongir completed a Bachelor of Business in International Hospitality Management with Southern Cross University international collaborator MDIS in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan.
Uzbekistan was once part of Silk Road, the ancient trade route between China and the Mediterranean. With a population of more than 30 million people, the former Soviet republic is known for its mosques and mausoleums.
Jakhongir’s family joined him, when he graduated for a second time, at the MDIS Tashkent graduation ceremony in October.
After the SCU graduation, Jakhongir returned to Sydney for job interviews.
“I decided to take a chance while I was here. I’ve sent my resume to hotels and airline companies like Qatar and Emirates.”
Jakhongir was full of praise for Southern Cross University.
“The degree was very good. I did the foundation year with MDIS Tashkent. From the second year we studied the SCU units. It was very different and challenging but I found it interesting.
“I am happy that I studied with Southern Cross University.”