Fourty eight Samoan students are heading for university studies in Australia and Fiji thanks to the generosity of the Australian government.
The students met with Australian High Commissioner, Sue Langford, yesterday. The scholarship holders will undertake their studies in Australia under the Australia Awards programme and in Fiji under the Australia Awards Pacific Scholarship (A.A.P.S.) programme.
"Well done for making it this far. This is just the beginning of your journey,” Ms. Langford said.
“The Australia Awards are a prestigious international scholarships funded by the government of Australia. We know that tertiary education is an important component of any investment in education."
Ms. Langford shared that the opportunity provided for these students will help develop the young minds who will grow up to be the future leaders of Samoa.
She added the studies they will undertake are crucial in the development of Samoa and the ties between Australia and Samoa.
"These awards build invaluable connections between people, trust between nations and an understanding of one another’s cultures, politics, economy and social customs," Ms. Langford said.
"I commend the government of Samoa for their leadership in our partnership and for engaging in the scholarships program which is an important component of our aid program."
Ms. Langford added this opportunity would also help in the development of different communities in the country.
"You are the future of Samoa in whatever fields you undertake," she said.
"The skills you learn will support the development of your families, village and nation. I encourage each of you to make the most of your time abroad. Make new friends try new things responsibly, join social or sports clubs and learn new skills.
“But I urge you to never lose focus of the number one reason for this, to complete your degrees successfully. Congratulations once again and I wish you all the best."
Ms. Langford said there had been an increase in the number of scholarships offered this year and an increase in the programme’s budget to A$5 million (T$9.8 million). This was made possible after a successful bid to grant additional awards.
Scholarships to Australia have increased from 20 students to 28 along with 20 students being awarded an opportunity to study in Fiji this year.
According to one of the scholarship recipients, Jeremy Eteuati, the scholarship to Australia means a lot to his family and he finds joy in lessening the financial burden on his parents.
Mr. Eteuati explains that a few of his siblings entered their tertiary studies as private students and this once in a lifetime opportunity would make things a lot easier for his family.
“I just want to say thank you to the Australian and Samoan government,” he said.
“Getting a chance to go to Australia and to see more of the world is just great. It also makes things easier for my parents because my studies will be fully funded.
“I look forward to learning how to live on my own and being independent. This opportunity means so much to me and I will definitely make the most of it,” the 17-year-old added.