Twins Khatereh and Shirin Shiran have spent their lives side-by-side, doing everything together. Now the pair are following in their father’s footsteps at UNSW Sydney.
Their father, Dr Shiran graduated with a PhD from UNSW Sydney in 1998 with his twin daughters by his side.
More than two decades later, Khatereh and Shirin beach hold a degree in science and are completing a Master of Commerce.
Tagging along to watch their father study, the twins grew up on campus and fostered an affinity for the Sydney institution.
“My mum would bring us here when we were young, we were always on campus and we developed this sense of attachment to UNSW,” Shirin says.
“Now that we’re studying here it really feels like our home, that’s why we want to be the best and give 100% to our home.”
With their father an academic at the University of Isfahan and their mother a teacher, higher education was always a priority for Khatereh and Shirin.
As 12-year-olds, the Sydney-born twins went to Iran to complete high school and get a taste of life in their parents’ homeland.
“Our parents wanted us to live both cultures and understand what life is like there because we’re born in Sydney but our roots are from Iran,” Shirin says.
“When we went to Iran our Farsi wasn't good, so we had to work 20 times more than the other students because we didn't know the language well enough.”
Side by side, Khatereh and Shirin don’t face any challenges alone.
“We’re not just sisters; we're best friends, we're classmates, we're flatmates, we’re everything, and we complete each other – that's what our lecturers tell us, we are constantly together, we're like a puzzle,” Shirin says.
“We've always been grateful to have each other for support, knowing there's someone that you can always trust by your side is a really good gift from God.”
Khatereh and Shirin now plan to start a business together after graduation.
“Our dream is to have our own company, we'd like to be the twins that one day own our own company and be the ones that could change the world in a good way,” Shirin says.
Khatereh agrees: “We don't want to always be in one job, we want to have our own business that will give us flexible time for us to spend with family.”
The twins are now seeking business advice from their father, who has always been their motivation to succeed, Shirin says.
“My dad always says if you want something just go after it and if it doesn’t work out that doesn’t mean it's not for you, you just have to find other ways to achieve what you want in the world.”
Khatereh shares that determination: “If you're passionate about doing something, not a lot will stop you, being women isn’t a factor that would stop us from what we want.”
“To me, I see everyone equal and I think it’s about believing in yourself and knowing that what you want is real.”