My name is Desney Koimo and I am from Papua New Guinea (PNG). I am currently undertaking a Master of Health Promotion through the support of the Australia Awards Scholarship program. Studying abroad has enhanced my knowledge and improved my critical thinking skills.
The Australia Awards is a prestigious scholarship program that has been in Papua New Guinea for many years fostering the partnership between the two countries. Every year, only a handful are successful in securing the scholarship. When the scholarship was advertised in the local newspapers for the 2018 round, I was one of over a thousand applicants who applied.
As a recipient, the Australia Awards Scholarship is fulfilling my goal of attaining a postgraduate degree in one of the top universities in Australia. I have come into contact with other international and local students and got to learn from them as well as telling them about my country in the Pacific. I have also joined the PNG Deakin Group which consists of PNG and other international students and lecturers mentoring PhD candidates. The experiences are invaluable. Australia Awards students at Deakin have a social group where awardees from different countries under the same scholarship program are able to meet and get to know each other so no one is left out.
My undergraduate degree was in journalism and public relations and my career has been focused on communication within the health sector. Subsequently, I decided to pursue my postgraduate degree in the health and social development studies to compliment my work experience. When I was researching on the masters program, I was looking for something specific to health communication and Deakin offered that as part of the health promotion package. It was exactly what I was looking for but more rewarding than what I had anticipated.
My postgraduate study has improved my perspective and views on how I could do my job better in the future. Being equipped with a health promotion degree will significantly increase my capacity to develop high quality health strategies and programs when I complete my studies.
I have also met other students, both international and locally, and through the Australia Awards Scholarship program, and I’m sure our friendship will continue after Deakin. I feel more enthusiastic to speak my thoughts and opinions about issues. It has helped me to be more confident in myself to engage in activities both in and out of the seminars.
Deakin University provides a lot of services and facilities for students in their academic journey. I was privileged to undertake the Intensive Academic preparatory course at the Deakin University English Language Institute before commencing my postgraduate program.
Australia Awards has also given me the opportunity to learn about Australia as a country. I also visited other cities like Sydney and Canberra.