Language and Culture Uni Life

A life-changing scholarship: Australia Awards

Rahman sitting on the grass

It was a long journey to stand in Australia, and enrol as a student at Griffith University. I remember my high school teacher moving to Australia to pursue her dream of completing a masters degree. From that moment on, I considered studying abroad to be my big dream too. 

I am Rahman, an Indonesian awardee of the Australia Awards Scholarship. I am a civil servant in the health sector under the Ministry of Health of Indonesia, and I am studying Master of Global Public Health at Griffith University’s Gold Coast Campus.

I knew that it would not be easy to achieve a scholarship, especially as a non-English speaker. Day by day, I kept practising. I even took an English course in another city to gain my skills, especially IELTS. While preparing my English skills, I got a job in several private sectors. I ended up choosing to be a civil servant, which is related to my background and passion.

Back in my hometown, I do health promotion and dissemination for my community so they can stay healthy. It was so hard during the pandemic, and I needed to work extra hard to make people understand that their health mattered. At the same time, I needed to face the hoax issues coming from society.

I didn’t think having a bachelors degree would be enough to be completely capable and knowledgeable in this area. If I want to accelerate my community’s health status, there must be changes and innovations. So, continuing my study is one of the ways to upgrade my skills.

Applying for this scholarship was one of the fastest and most challenging pathways in pursuing my career in the health sector.

Rahman drinking coffee at Griffith University.

I have to say that persistence may be the key to success.

Starting in 2013, I tried to send my application every year for this scholarship, but my application was never accepted.

I kept telling myself that the rejection letter would be my fuel to boost my energy till I succeeded. I did some self-correction, changed my focus, gained more experience, and created my new application until I felt I deserved the scholarship.

It was in May 2021 that I received an email from the Australia Awards Scholarship stating that my name was shortlisted as an awardee. I am sure you can imagine how I felt at the time after nine failed attempts! I dropped a tear, and my hands shook when I read that email. When all my hard work paid off, I was the happiest person in the world.

I applied for the Split-Site Masters Program (SSMP), which allows me to have two degrees from two universities. The first is from my home country’s university, followed by one year at an Australian university.

The Australia Awards Scholarship gives me ample opportunity to study at Griffith University, which is the best choice for the public health industry. I will have chances to learn about the diversity of cultures, expand my potential, gain experiences and build up my international connections among students and lecturers.

I’m currently in the middle of the Introductory Academic Program (IAP) that Australia Awards and Griffith University provides. This program teaches many things about living in Australia and how to succeed academically. It will help international students as newbies to the local culture.

My student Contact Officer, and his team have prepared a good itinerary so that it would be easy to follow. I find all the teachers, lectures, and guest lectures very informative, helpful, and supportive.

Finally, I’m sure university life won’t always go as smoothly as I hoped, but I’m confident it won’t be hard to get through. There will be many friends, connections, lecturers, and student officers who will all be there to help through all the difficulties and challenges I will face during my one-year study on the Gold Coast campus. All the obstacles I will face while studying here will shape me to become more independent, loyal, and educated.

These experiences will make me ready to innovate and face challenges in my work world that will be useful for the community around me and my country. I believe with a degree from Griffith, I can start to act locally and think globally.

I hope that many international students will be able to study in Australia, especially at Griffith University.

I cannot wait to see my new mates from around the world, especially from Indonesia. I am sure that wonderful adventures are waiting for you.

All the best,


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