‘Receiving the Australia Awards Scholarship was the best feeling ever’

It was during my eighth year of working with survivors of domestic or recently intimate partner violence and sexual violence that I figured there was more I could do and that there was more I needed to learn.

Experiences such as having limited knowledge theoretically on something however practically you are expected to assist others take part in activities as part of your job description or you basically learn from observing has prompted me to want to expand my knowledge. Not only that but I was fortunate to have met people from different countries over the years who came as international staff to work in the project and these people kind of inspired me to travel, to live and work in other countries. I would love to be able to do this too.

Image of Elvina in PNG

Elvina (right) in her workplace in Papua New Guinea

That was when I thought; first I have to have a degree but not just a degree, one that could get me anywhere. And so I decided to apply for the Australia Awards Scholarship. However from what I gathered from some of my friends, the chances of being successful was very limited but that did not stop me from trying. Furthermore I also needed a break and studying would just be the thing for me, I felt the timing was just right and so I applied.

Anyway to be a successful candidate was the best feeling ever because of the lengthy process we had to go through in order to be considered for this scholarship. It was very rewarding.

I guess when you are a mature student with some form of exposure it makes the transition a little bit easier. However university life was a whole new experience and I was grateful I met the best group of people during my intensive academic preparation that helped me prepare myself on what to expect.

I am currently doing my first trimester of my third year in Bachelor of Health Science and I love it. The reason being it is very flexible and I get to choose the majors that are in line with what I am currently doing which is psychology and health promotion.

Elvina with her colleagues in PNG

Elvina with her colleagues in PNG

I have noticed some personal growth and have a better understanding of how programs/projects like the one I have worked in go through a cycle. With the experience I already have, doing this degree is definitely very empowering. I would love to be part of a team identifying some gaps or assessing needs in the communities and planning health programs/projects in future.

Deakin University is changing every year since I got here in 2013 in terms of technology and infrastructure, which is a very good thing. The international support officers have always been like a family to me, they are like the very first people I would go to talk to if ever I had an issue. Also the receptionists in the student support office play a very important role for newcomers and students that go there for any help. You feel part of Deakin because of these wonderful people.


For further information about studying at Deakin and to view the many degrees on offer, visit our international student page. Or ask us a question by visiting our international student enquiry page – we’re happy to help you get to know Deakin better.

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