It has taken me a while to put into words the experiences I have had through the opportunities that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and Griffith University have given me from 2019 to today, so I’ll start from the beginning.
My name is Rosie, I am 31 years of age, hailing from the small Pacific Island of Kiribati. I am a blessed Mom with two beautiful darlings waiting for my return, if ever Kiribati borders open soon.
I am currently doing a four year dual degree of Bachelor of International Tourism and Hospitality Management & Bachelor of Business Management – I am now in my third year.
Like everyone else nearing completion of their academic journey in university, I am looking forward to the day I will physically hold the proof of the sacrifices and hard work I have dedicated myself to in the past few years – but that will hopefully be another story in 2022 so stay tuned…
Every year DFAT offers Australia Awards Scholarship opportunities to neighbouring Pacific Islands. In 2018, after numerous screening measures and tests, I was fortunate enough to be selected as a recipient of a scholarship award to study here in Australia. The opportunity paved my academic journey here at the Griffith University Nathan Campus.
I remember my very first day here – what a mixed feeling I had – I was excited but nervous!
As the days went by, I found myself localised to the climate and environment, I got to make new friends, and adopted all of them as my family. If it wasn’t for my Student Contact Officer Mark Taylor, new-found friends both at university and outside of university, academic support from exceptional tutors and course convenors, and family back home, I would have been lost. These guys have all unknowingly been instrumental in providing support and guidance through these past three years.
Studying away from home, especially away from family has been difficult during this COVID-19 pandemic. It has been extremely hard to stay positive, but knowing well I come from a country that has limited opportunities, quite simply I do not have the luxury to back down easily. The sweat and sacrifices would pay off, so they say, and I couldn’t agree more.
To date, I have been awarded two Academic Excellence awards, and the Griffith University Golden Key International Honour Award, which gives recognition to the top 15% of high achieving students globally!
If someone told me this would happen three years ago, I would have laughed this off and thought it impossible. And it just isn’t me! I look around and I see all my fellow awardees who have made this journey with me from home. Some have already completed their degrees, with a few that have even received awards for being the top of their programs and courses, and I am so proud of them too.
I am thankful for DFAT, because without this opportunity, we would not have been able to highlight the determination and resilience of our people through our academic achievements.
Everyday for the past three years I have often reflected on my academic journey, and I realise that there was a time I prayed and was desperate to be where I am today, and I know that if I quit any time, I would have gone right back to square one. So, DFAT and Griffith, I thank you for the amazing opportunity. You have gone beyond just giving me an opportunity to strive academically.
As a mother, you have also given me the opportunity to tell my children that when it comes to learning, the sky is the limit! As a woman, you have also given me the opportunity to share with other women – the strength of a woman! Women can achieve and accomplish so much more than what our culture and traditions believe our places should be.
And finally, as someone who comes from a developing country, I am given the opportunity to use my learned skills and knowledge to help contribute to the development and prosperity of my country.
All in all, this piece is not intended for my self-bragging, my wish is to simply inspire others, especially mothers. As Griffith University puts it ever so simply, to ‘know more, do more, be remarkable’ by reaching for the unreachable, because ‘nothing is impossible if you put your heart to it’.
Have a blessed Christmas!