“The Australia Awards scholarships are very fitting as they are aimed at the development needs of PNG,” says Jeanne Tareasi (pictured above, far left), alumna and advocate of the Australia Awards PNG. “You will be supported every step of the way by the Australia Awards team and university international student support team, and you graduate with more than just a degree. You get to experience the culture and way of life in Australia as well, which is very different to PNG.”

After working with an international NGO for eight years, Jeanne was looking for a challenge. She wanted to contribute to the development sector in a different manner and decided the best way was to apply for a Master’s in Professional Accounting and a Master’s in Business Administration, completing the double degree at James Cook University (JCU) in 2020.

“Australia has top quality universities that have global rankings so knowing that you are attaining a degree of a world class standard is great. The country is also culturally diverse, so you get to study with students from all over the world. Apart from that Australia is a beautiful country to live and study.

“The level of support and investment provided to awardees from the Australia Awards team throughout the journey, from pre-departure, whilst on award and on return to PNG is unique. You are prepared well prior to leaving for studies and before returning you go through a reintegration process for life back in PNG. There are also opportunities for continuous professional development through On-award enrichment activities which greatly enhance the learning experience.”

Jeanne's reflections on the on-award enrichment activities

“I was able to attend a Professional Linkages Workshop for Indonesia and PNG awardees that was scheduled in March 2019 for incoming Queensland based awardees and facilitated by the Frank team. My takeaway from the workshop was that academic success was only one part of the journey and that there were other opportunities we could take part in for personal and professional growth to fully utilize the scholarship opportunity. During the workshop we took part in communication, networking and elevator pitch skills building which I found very useful.”

“In October 2019 I also applied for and was successful in attending the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) Conference, the theme of the conference being Looking beyond aid to championing sustainable development cooperation’. The conference had a regional focus on the Pacific and several pacific leaders as key speakers. Having worked for the last eight years for an international NGO that is a member of ACFID, I saw the conference as an opportunity for further learning, getting out of my comfort zone and networking with leaders in my professional field as well as keeping updated on the changes in the sector. Overall the exposure I had at that level was a rewarding experience for me.”

Within two months of completing of her studies and returning to PNG, Jeanne gained employment in the development field in her home province of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. She currently manages the Save the Children Bougainville Area Office and is delighted to have the opportunity to directly apply the skills and knowledge she acquired during her studies in her current role.

Jeanne at the completion of her studies at JCU

Jeanne’s advice to those considering an Australia Awards scholarship is: “Preparation and planning is key as the scholarship process is very competitive. If you have questions reach out to alumni who you know for support and advice. The PNG Australia Alumni Association (PNGAAA) also has chapters in different provinces that you can reach out to and I’m sure members would be able to assist with any questions you may have.”

Applications for Intake 2023 Australia Awards Scholarships are now open and will close on 29 April 2022 (mid night PNG time). Find out more at an information session near you.

You can also email PNGAAA at secretariat@pngaaa.org.