2019 Academic Excellence: Pathways Awards

Taking a dedicated study pathway to university can help students ease into life as global citizens, and even save them time in their overall study plan. With career goals in environmental engineering and political analysis, the winners in this year’s pathways category have taken a considered and strategic approach to making their way into university studies. We invited them to share their stories.

Marcela Tobon from Colombia

Winner: Marcela Tobon from Colombia

Studying: Academic English at the Centre for English Language (CELUSA)

After completing her Bachelor of Industrial Engineering at home in Colombia, Marcela wanted to follow her dream of studying English overseas. She says her time in Adelaide has helped her discover a completely new identity and shown her a new view of the world. At the completion of her pathway program, Marcela hopes to study a postgraduate degree in environmental engineering so she can use her knowledge to help industry fight global environmental challenges.

How has the pathway program been beneficial for you to settle down in Adelaide?

The support from my teachers and the people I’ve met in the program has helped me get set up and settled before I go to university. I believe a pathway program is the best way to immerse yourself in the Australian culture because you get help from experienced teachers, counsellors and other support staff. At CELUSA, I received ongoing personalised support with answers to questions about my future studies as well as help to handle the cultural challenges of becoming a global citizen.

With your plans to study environmental engineering, what are your future goals to advocate for climate change?

During my undergraduate studies, I found many companies have environmental problems in relation to wastage, use of renewables and the contamination of natural resources. This is why I want to study for a Master in Environmental Engineering in South Australia. I want to develop skills and experience that can benefit industries and the environment. With the environmental challenges the world faces, I need to take on the responsibility to educate myself for immediate action. I’d like to take this knowledge and awareness back home, or even to a global scale, to show industries how they can make a change to help the environment.

How did studying in Adelaide change your life?

My extraordinary South Australian journey has been an incredible 360-degree life-changing experience. When I was in Colombia, I was living with my family and pretty much had everything I needed provided for me. Here, I have to take responsibility for my food, my studies, my work, and being independent in my life. I think the biggest gift I’ve gotten from Australia is discovering how much I can do for myself. I can do much more than I thought I could. It’s been the best experience to get out of my comfort zone and really discover who I am.

Highly Commended: Phuong Anh Hoang from Vietnam

Studying: Foundation Studies at The University of Adelaide College

With a desire to understand how the world works and where the intangible things like people’s values, believes and morality fit in, Phuong has chosen to pursue a degree in philosophy, politics and economics. But rather than continuing her education in Singapore, Phuong chose to undertake foundation studies in Adelaide, which, on successful completion, will get her into her dream course a year sooner. She says the holistic educational approach at The University of Adelaide College has nurtured her and given her confidence and academic opportunities. In response, she has achieved outstanding academic success and a grade average of 95%. Of her time so far, Phuong says, “I’ve learnt the skills and knowledge needed to prepare myself for university.”

Outside the classroom, Phuong has been an active member of her campus, joining the student social club and helping guide new students as they settle into life in Adelaide. She says she feels welcome and comfortable in South Australia’s vibrant community. “I’ve come to deeply appreciate the environment, people and diverse culture here. It is a fair and peaceful state that allows me to live a safe and comfortable life.”

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