After her family fled war-torn Iraq, lived in Turkey for several years, Nursen Turker finally arrived in Australia – the land of opportunity… so she seized every one.
The 26-year-old, who has an Iraqi-Turkmen background, completed a Bachelor of Science at the University of Melbourne majoring in pathology, completed her honours and went onto further studies at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and published her first research article.
Alongside building her career, Nursen built on her compassion while volunteering in various on-campus clubs and societies during her university education, completed the BALIP Leadership Program and spent a lot of time at the Royal Children’s Hospital comforting families during difficult times.
“I always felt like I could do more with my time in addition to my studies; however, it was not until I started my post-graduate degree in Doctor of Optometry that I began to explore different avenues of how this could come into fruition,” she said,
“In my second year of optometry, I was fortunate enough to travel to Cambodia with an amazing group of young volunteers that assisted orphans and needy families.”
When she returned, Nursen’s worldview had changed, “I understood, again, just how privileged I was to live the life that I do.”
Motivated by her gallant parents, Nursen joined Islamic Community Milli Gorus’ Sareera Youth and after four years became president of the club.
“I personally benefited from being around passionate like-minded young people who wish to further themselves academically and spiritually. The more I became entrenched in doing more, the more I realized I could do,” she said.
Identifying identity, integration and motivation as areas Muslim youths need to work on, Nursen said the current climate youths are developing in is a foreign sphere which adults did not have to endure.
“We did not have to live with constant exposure to explicit content. We did not have the advanced technology to receive and distribute explicit content. We did not have this virtual reality that has warped our Muslim youth into frenzy. We were born in the 90s.”
She hopes to see Muslim youths uniting and working together to achieve common goals, ultimately making our community self-sufficient, highly educated and leaders in their fields.
Drawing lessons from her journey, Nursen refers back to her favourite hadith.
“Strange is the affair of the Mu’min (believer), verily all his affairs are good for him. If something pleasing befalls him he is grateful and that becomes better for him. And if something harmful befalls him he is patient and it becomes better for him. And this is only for the Mu’min.” [Muslim]
“No matter what life throws your way, ultimately the notion of being given that particular situation in the mind-set of a believer is that, it is a test.”