What is your name and role at Bayston Group?
My name is Niketa and I am the Office Manager and one of the Paralegals at Bayston Group.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I was born in Georgetown, Guyana. I am sure some of you might be wondering: where is Guyana? While Guyana is located in South America, it is culturally more aligned with the Caribbean community. Guyana is home to one of the longest single drop waterfalls in the world and the amazon rainforest. Guyana is also known for its rich bio-diversity. Several Guyanese cricketers play for the West Indies cricket team.
When I was four, my family and I immigrated to Canada. I grew up in Cambridge, Ontario and later moved to Toronto. My Guyanese-Canadian family is very close-knit. I was raised in a family filled with love and discipline, in which the importance of education was emphasised. Their support and belief in pursuing higher education assisted in my decision to study Law.
How did you decide that you wanted to pursue a law degree?
I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) Degree in Criminology at York University in Toronto. When I graduated, I was uncertain as to whether I wanted to pursue a legal career having no real-life experience in the field. I decided to take a two-year break from university to allow myself to explore different career options.
In these two years, I worked in a law firm that focused on real estate, immigration and business law. I loved the fast pace of the office and the constant challenges and complexities these areas of law revealed. It was here that I realised I had the skills that would be beneficial as a lawyer.
I also volunteered with two non-profit organisations as their communications officer. I took an interest in violence against women initiatives and held training workshops around Toronto with the Canadian Council of Muslim Women. I facilitated discussions with community members on sensitive topics such as forced marriage, domestic violence and femicide. I also volunteered for various outreach roles, assisted with organising fundraising events and participated in many national projects.
Why did you decide to complete your Juris Doctor (JD) in Australia?
Living in Canada for majority of my life, I was curious as to what it would be like to live in another country. Many of my friends had studied abroad so the feedback I received encouraged me to look into universities outside of Canada. I applied to universities in the United Kingdom and Australia, but when I got accepted to Melbourne Law School the decision was clear. This was an opportunity of a lifetime that I could not pass up on.
How has life been for you so far since moving to Melbourne?
I’ve been living in Melbourne for about two years while completing my Juris Doctor and it has been nothing short of amazing. I can definitely see why Melbourne has been listed as the most liveable city in the world for seven years. Some of my favourite things to do in my spare time are going out for brunch in South Yarra, taking a stroll along the St Kilda boardwalk or catching the sunset at the Brighton or Sandringham beach. I am also pleased to say that I lead a more active and healthier lifestyle in Melbourne than when I was living in Toronto. Although many Melburnians may have bittersweet love towards the weather in Melbourne, I must say, I love it!
What do you like to do on your free time?
I am also a fan of mini getaways. I have travelled most of the east coast of Australia and I would like to explore the west coast in 2019 as well as Indonesia and Thailand. My favourite place that I have travelled to in Australia thus far is Byron Bay. My most memorable moment was catching the sunrise at the lighthouse.
Recently, I’ve been away on holidays and I’ve had the pleasure of travelling to Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver in Canada; Guyana; and San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles in California, USA. In each city I made it a habit to try the local cuisine and I must say that the Mexican restaurants in San Diego were outstandingly delicious, however there is no comparison to the heavenly home-cooked meals my family served in Toronto and Guyana.
I hope you have enjoyed a little glimpse into my world!