Firmo Franz Navarro, Masters in Nursing Practice, UNE Syd Student

Interview with Firmo Franz Navarro, Masters in Nursing Practice

Interview organised by the awesome team at UNE Sydney

We love sharing the stories of our students, those on campus here in Armidale, in Sydney, Taree, Tamworth or any of the other places that our incredible bunch of students study across the globe. It’s pretty special to be a part of your lives no matter where you or we are!

The team from UNE Sydney recently got chatting to the lovely Firmo Franz Navarro. Firmo is an international student from the Philippines,  who has previously completed studies in Nursing and Midwifery at home, and is now studying a Masters in Nursing Practice here in Australia – we would love to share their conversation with you!

How did you learn about UNE?

I have friends who studied here in Australia. They encouraged me to do so as well, as they knew I always wanted to further my education. I was contemplating studying a new degree in my home country, but the thought of moving to a new country was just too enticing. I happened to meet the staff of an immigration company, and he introduced me to the owner, it was he told me to consider enrolling at UNE, strongly – as they offered a great course that would suit me!

What’s the biggest difference between uni at home and uni here in Oz?

University in the Philippines was centred towards learning through classroom lectures and related learning experience through hospital duties (for medical students). A knowledge test is performed with long unit quizzes, they all have complex scenarios which stimulate critical thinking. In contrast, University education here encourages self-directed learning and is guided by lecturers, unit coordinators and facilitators. Knowledge assessment is tested by writing assessments such as case studies and reflection papers. One huge difference here is the extensive use of databases to search for journals, current relevant sources and fact-checking.

What’s your favourite thing about UNE Sydney?

I have two favourite things at UNE Sydney. First, the study room; It can host up to 8 people prior to social distancing rules (trust me – the more, the merrier). It is interactive, equipped with an up-to-date technology which can be handy on having those long fun-filled hours of case studies.

Secondly, it is conveniently located near Parramatta River, which is tranquil, especially during spring when the Jacaranda trees are at full bloom and not to mention the cafes around Church Street. It’s a good place to be!

Firmo Franz Navarro, Masters in Nursing Practice, and Sydney Opera House

What’s the most exciting thing about your degree?

Hospital placements have been exciting! I get to travel, to mostly regional areas in NSW such as the Blue Mountains, Toronto, and Grafton.

What is your dream job, once you’ve completed your degree?

My goal is to work in academia either as an educator or a researcher. I have a passion for teaching, and I’m looking forward to getting myself involved in research opportunities in the future. I see myself as a University lecturer and, a part-time mental health nurse. Of course, I would be happily married and have two kids and still probably playing PS8. 😊

Which skills have you learned or developed whilst studying that you didn’t expect?

Research skills by a mile. It is needed to ensure a better understanding of assessments and lectures as well as being critical about health information and be aware of the latest advancement in the medical field.

Another one is adulting; Being independent is a huge part of University life here in Australia. Most of us are living away from home which requires learning important life skills. Simple things like cooking, developing healthy habits, and of course, making ‘ends meet’.

What’s the best thing about being a student?

None. I’m just kidding! 😊  The best things about being a student and the most taken for granted is the opportunity to meet new people, develop long-lasting friendships and since most of us are international students, the opportunity to learn new cultures and beliefs which will make you a more well-rounded person. And of course, trying out different foods like Momo’s (wink wink to my Nepalese friends)!

Firmo Franz Navarro, Masters in Nursing Practice, and Sydney with a bunch of his freinds

What support have you received from UNE throughout your time as a student?

I thought I had the right mindset before starting my University life. But, I have to admit, when COVID broke out, with all the rule changes, isolation and the uncertainty of air travel I felt trapped here in Australia. I had plans of going home every semester break, but all that was in limbo because of the uncertainty that COVID has brought us. Also, I had a terrible time adjusting to the online class set up. Fortunately, UNE provides access to services that helps us cope with these uncertainties. I keep in touch with most of my lecturers, especially Sophie and with our admin staff, Gen, for queries regarding my studies – which has been really helpful!

What does a regular day look like for you?

I take it one day at a time. I do have my very own morning routine. 40% of my time is allotted to studies, 30% to work, and 30% for a relationship like talking to my family and playing computer games (yes you still can)!

What’s one piece of advice you would give to any aspiring students?

For aspiring students, learning time management skills is so necessary! Learn, practise, and adhere to this and you’ll lessen your stresses, and university life will be not that difficult.

Also, due to the hectic life of being a student and working as well, it is easy to get drowned and burnt-out so don’t forget that Sydney is a lovely and gorgeous city. Don’t deprive yourself of the time to travel, to explore and develop a relationship.

Thanks so much for your time Firmo, it has been an absolute pleasure learning more about you and your experiences here in Australia. We’ re really glad that you’ve felt supported in tricky times, and hope that soon, you’ll be able to COVID safely visit your family and friends at home! Until then, enjoy your friends and UNE family here! 


If you would like to do a Work300 to enhance your work ready skills of if you need a little guidance on where yo start with getting a job,
reach out to the team at  UNE Employability and Careers who can help on your way.