From the Canadian cold to the Queensland sunshine, Bond was an easy choice when it came to study options for Samir Zarrouki.
The 30-year-old from Ottawa touched down on Australian soil in May 2022 to pursue a Doctor of Physiotherapy.
He now spends his time flexing his muscles in his chosen sport of martial arts and learning how to treat them in his studies and through in-clinic placements.
"The Gold Coast had always been a place I wanted to visit,” Samir said.
“To actually get to live here and experience the lifestyle has been so incredible.
"I am a big fan of Australian sports as well, so that really helped my decision to make the move."
The allure of the Gold Coast lifestyle with its emphasis on the outdoors and connection to nature were significant factors in Samir's decision.
Although the contrast to the Canadian way of life was stark, Samir found a sense of home in the welcoming local community.
"It really is so different from Canada but the people also make it so nice,” he said.
“Even though I’m on this exciting new adventure, I’ve still managed to feel really at home."
For Samir, Bond became more than just an academic institution. At the university he discovered opportunities to immerse himself in a variety of activities and pursue his passion for martial arts.
Joining the Bond martial arts club opened the door to a group of friends and a community that shared his enthusiasm for an active lifestyle.
"I had a little bit of experience in martial arts before I came to Australia so I was really excited to see that Bond had a martial arts club that I immediately joined,” Samir said.
"I think one of the great things about Bond is all of the different sports and social clubs on offer.
"I believe the active lifestyle on the Gold Coast breeds a strong calibre of athletes, so to be able to train and compete with these people every day is really awesome and also a great challenge."
While Samir initially began his martial arts journey within the Bond martial arts club, he later found himself training at Full Metal Jiu Jitsu in Burleigh.
The move allowed him to interact with high-level competitors, pushing his limits and expanding his network of acquaintances.
“There are some really excellent competitors who train out of Full Metal, so it’s been great to push myself there as well as meet an entire new network of people."