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2020 Academic Excellence: Pathways Awards

Taking a dedicated study pathway to university is a smart way to realise career dreams and learn about life at university. With career goals in international business and nursing, the winners in this year’s pathways category have taken a considered and strategic approach to achieving their academic and professional goals. We invited them to share their stories.

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Winner: Maria Camila Gonzalez Davila from Colombia

Studying Academic English at the University of South Australia Centre for English Language (CELUSA)

Camila came to Adelaide on an exchange program as part of her degree in international business. While studying at the Centre for English Language (CELUSA), Camila worked hard to achieve excellent academic results. She says her participation in the CELUSA student leadership program has developed her teamwork skills and helped her move closer to achieving her professional goals. Her time in Adelaide has inspired Camila to seek out further education, and she hopes to return to study for a master’s degree in the future.

Why did you choose a study pathway in Adelaide?

I was studying for my international business management degree and came here as an exchange student. In my degree, I must learn three languages, so I wanted to study in an English-speaking country. My university in Colombia has an agreement with the University of South Australia, and when I started researching, I could see how much the university cares for international students. And my friends who have been here encouraged me to come.

You’ve said playing Monopoly helped spark your interest in a career in international business. How do you think your time in Adelaide will help you realise your professional dreams?

I need to do an internship before I can graduate, so I’m trying to get an internship here in Adelaide because I like it so much. I know there are many opportunities here, and organisations can help prepare international students with work experience.

Since I’ve been in Adelaide, I’ve decided I would like to come back to study for a master’s degree. I like the international environment the University of South Australia gives us. For international business, I need to learn with people from other countries, and I love to learn about different cultures. Here in Adelaide, I have met people from countries like Mexico, China, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. My pathway in Adelaide has given me a long-term global network with opportunities to achieve my career goals and prepare me for living and working in a multicultural environment.

You’re involved with student leadership at CELUSA. How do you show leadership?

As an international student leader, I’ve had the chance to help others at CELUSA and the South Australian Institute of Business and Technology (SAIBT). I’ve attended webinars hosted by StudyAdelaide and written up summaries to assist my peers who couldn’t attend. As a student voice representative at CELUSA, I’ve helped students share their difficulties about studying online during the COVID-19 lockdown and given them information about the programs the university and state government have to help international students with financial and other support. I also co-hosted an online presentation to assist students with their transition to virtual learning, share information to improve their wellbeing and encourage them to participate in the CELUSA student experience.

How has living with your homestay family and your involvement with your university mentor impacted your experiences in Adelaide?

My homestay family, I love them! They are always supportive and make me feel as if I am another member of their family. I consider them more than my South Australian family because they’ve built a strong relationship with my family. I’ve been to fabulous Adelaide places with them like Kangaroo Island.  If you don’t want to feel alone, a homestay is really good. If you’re having any problems, you can talk to your family, and they will give you advice and treat you like a member of the family.

My UniSA mentor is awesome. I consider her one of my close friends. She helped me enjoy the beautiful Adelaide city in ways I never experienced before, like doing the Adelaide Oval RoofClimb. She helped me sign up to courses and learn about the university’s clubs and sporting activities. And she invites me to spend time with her and her friends. I’m trying to teach them Spanish, and about my culture and music and dance.


Highly Commended: Pranish Maharjan from Nepal

Studying: Diploma of Health Science at the South Australian Institute of Business and Technology (SAIBT)

As a believer in living a balanced study life, Pranish makes a dedicated effort to engage in student activities both in and out of the classroom. He knows academic success is more than the academic work itself. That’s why he’s involved in extra-curricular activities such as the SAIBT Student Leadership Program, volunteering at Save the Children, and continuing his love for judo as a member of the UniSA Judo Club. Pranish says making friends was easy, and he’s built relationships with peers by forming small study groups to meet at the library during the week. He’s also made a friend in his UniSA mentor and says he plans to become a mentor himself once he’s studying at university.

While he enjoys his extra-curricular activities, Pranish also works hard to achieve distinctions as he follows his pathway to study nursing at the University of South Australia. Pranish chose nursing because his caring nature has given him a strong urge to help others, and he believes all people should have equal access to health care. Studying in Adelaide has broadened his thinking. “Being around the conversations and having access to broad career experiences inspires me to keep developing in Adelaide.”

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