KNOWLEDGE and skills that Australia Awards scholars gain extend well beyond the classroom.
Scholars are enriched through a culturally diverse experience in Australia, creating valuable personal and professional connections.
Grace Nugi is studying a Master of Philosophy at the University of Queensland.
She has maximised her time in Australia to date volunteering within her local community.
For Nugi, she said: “I have had access to experts in my field, people whose work I’ve only read about and being able to have coffee with them and to be among them has been the best part.”
Coffee is a vibrant part of Australia’s social scene as Clera Sam has discovered while studying a Master of Digital Media at Victoria University.
“I was not a coffee person but living here the past years have made me love coffee,” she said.
“Latte is my favourite.
“I love the many coffee shops and the art of coffee making.
“Melbourne is multicultural city and that’s what makes it stand out.
“So many social, cultural and sports events and activities to experience and learn from.
“There are variety of sporting activities and events too, especially football, I am a big fan of NRL.
“Victoria Engagement 2018 gave me very useful insights about the different government systems, politics, economic and social development in Victoria and Australia as a whole.
“The scholarship has provided both academic and professional skill building events that I am grateful for and am utilising to bring out my potential and it has been a great experience so far.”
The opportunity to live and study in Australia for an extended period of time not only builds women’s technical skills and capabilities, but also develops personal skills and attributes critical to women exercising leadership.
Both Sam and Nugi attended Women’s Leadership Initiative events organised by Australia Awards.
Nugi noted the experience was both “enlightening and thought provoking where her leadership skills and interest were concerned”.
As Sam enters the final weeks of her studies, she remarks how involvement in leadership tasks helped her realise some of her potential and helped her build her self-confidence.
“I have learnt so many things both inside and outside the classroom,” she said.
Sam and Nugi will join an inspiring network of change makers upon their return to Papua New Guinea.
Sam hopes to “create a vibrant social media usage system that can provide a one stop shop for communications purposes for the land administration sector – government department” she works in.
Meanwhile, Nugi hopes to “work with communities to come up with practical ways to conserve our endemic and threatened species, particularly birds and mammals”.
“I’d also like to pass on what I’ve learnt here with my education to students in our universities in PNG,” she said.
Together with their fellow Australia Awards Alumni they are making a vital impact to the development of PNG.
There are currently 227 Australia Awards PNG scholars undertaking studies at world-class universities across Australia.