There are opportunities in every challenge. For Terri Loimata Mau, she saw just that when she was given a scholarship by the Australian government to study at the Monash University in Australia.
The challenges she experienced in the four years studying a Degree in Health Science in Melbourne, Australia, before graduating, motivated her to achieve her goal.
Terri, 22, was present during the Australia Future Unlimited Education Roadshow, which was organised by the Australian High Commission, at the Taumeasina Island Resort on Monday night.
The second youngest daughter of Telesia and Loimata Falute from Vaitele-Fou said she is ready to share her knowledge and skills with the Samoan people.
Ms. Mau told the Samoa Observer that leaving home made her understand the realities of life.
“Going overseas doesn’t only give you that piece of paper to having a better future, but also teaches you about life.
“Being there widens your perspective with the different cultures and beliefs of people such as the Muslims and Asians. I now have friends and they are from the other side of the world.
“Being there, you then realize that Samoa is so small. What you get to see and explore overseas is nothing compared to here. In Samoa we are so conservative,” said Terri.
She says people overseas have their own perspective about life.
“Just being in Melbourne, you get to experience what it is like to be free away from your family. Having the experience of making your own decisions, what it is like to budget and use your own money.
“Everything is all up to you every decision that you make, you pay the price for it. It really motivated me because here everything is given to you and your parents are the ones who tell you what to do all the time.
“The opportunities there are so vast. So many new paths are provided for you to take your pick from.”
Terri explained: “When I was overseas, I did volunteering with so many different organisations. I was even the vice-president of the Monash Health Science society.
“I took a big involvement with the international students unlike here I don’t really get to be involved with other international people.
“Living in a new environment that certainly does not look like home was all a new challenge for me. Being there for four years I have understood that there was a consequence for every action.
“I had to give everything to make my family proud and being a Samoan, we have that mentality that we should make our parents proud no matter how much it will cost you.
“At times you become homesick; you really miss your family, just having people who were older than me doing certain things for me.
“Things such as cooking your own meals, doing your own shopping, no car and you have to walk and catch the train, all those small challenges can really add up.”
Doing exceedingly well academically was another challenge for her.
“There are certain times when you really have academic challenges. You may think you are smart here, then you go overseas and you will come across many other bright students. Just finding out there is another category of people who are just above your level.
“There is always that competitive feeling that you have. I really like being challenged and actually getting into it and doing something instead of sitting.
“That is when you challenge yourself to be in their level, to do well just like them.”
Ms. Mau encourages every student to work hard to be able to study overseas.
“For me it was not only about having that piece of paper, but also having the different opportunities that were offered over there, which is why I want to continue with my studies after having some experience here.
“And I also want to give back to Samoa with what I have learnt.”