Recent graduate Shivaali Vanshika is excited to take the next step of her career after completing her Bachelor of Podiatry Practice (Honours) at CQUniversity's Rockhampton Campus.
Growing up in the Pacific Island Nation of Fiji' Shivaali was inspired to make the move to Australia in 2018 after learning about CQU's leading podiatry program.
"The transition from secondary school to tertiary study can be a challenge for students' especially for international students' but the incredibly supportive team of CQU eased this by making me feel welcome right away'" she said.
"The university and my podiatry academics were incredibly supportive in providing quality academic and pastoral care.
"This is something that I greatly valued as it helped me provide a sense of stability in very uncertain times' especially in the era of COVID-19."
To further support her studies' Shivaali received an Australia Awards Scholarship which provided much needed financial support to the teenager living away from home for the first time.
"I would like to acknowledge the generosity of the Australian Government and its people for funding this merit-based' developmental scholarship.
"Coming from a rural background' being awarded such a prestigious scholarship was a life-changing experience for me."
She said the scholarship offered her so much more than education' with the opportunity to build her independence' travel and create lifelong connections.
"The scholarship also allowed me to experience the wonderful Australian culture. From the wonderful sandy beaches of the Gold Coast to the beautiful bushland of Rockhampton - it never failed to amaze me'" Shivaali said.
"I made sure to balance my time between studies and exploring new places and in the process' I have visited so many different places in Australia. The diversity of people in Rockhampton is amazing and affords a rich cultural exchange for me to make friends from people around the world."
Now living back in Fiji' Shivaali plans to use her studies to assist in improving foot health and care in her home country.
"I developed a desire to become a podiatrist after seeing my maternal grandfather go through foot amputation due to diabetes and poor foot management practices.
"However' no universities in Fiji offer this course so I was required to look overseas. Limited access to local education providers has made it difficult to find qualified podiatrists'" she said
"This journey has allowed me to develop my skills so that I can contribute towards the health sector in Fiji."
READ MORE ABOUT SHIVAALI'S JOURNEY: cqunilife.com/2021/07/21/from-fiji-to-rockhampton-how-the-australia-awards-scholarship-changed-my-life/