“Go for it! The possibility of upskilling or doing something completely different is only an application form away.”

Lydia Edoni graduated with a Master of Environmental Science at the University of South Australia in 2019, through an Australia Awards PNG scholarship .

“I resigned from my comfortable job, successfully completed two years of study, and returned to PNG. Coming home, I was 40% worried and  60% excited to embark on a new career change. It was exciting, unsettling at times, but one of the best life-changing decisions I have ever made!

“I am currently learning new skills I always wished for. I am better equipped to contribute to community development projects. I have met and made lifelong friends who have enriched my life. And it’s all because I filled out that Australia Awards scholarship application form in 2017.”

Lydia had spent almost 10 years working in chemistry and quality control compliance in various industries, but her real passion was environmental compliance and natural resource management. Through Australia Awards, she sought an opportunity to improve her research skills while increasing her future employment options.

“It was one of the most rewarding experiences for me, and it could be for you too. The challenge with studying in a complete  new environment was exciting. Learning about different cultures through study and friendship was wonderful. The innovative research facilities, inclusive education system and international student support platform was awesome.

“After completion of my studies, I am able to do what I love doing: volunteer work with turtle conservation, assisting with fieldwork such as setting up stream gauging stations, weather stations, terrestrial biodiversity studies, bathymetry and ocean profiling studies, water and sediment sampling and monitoring. I love my current job!”

Lydia believes the benefits of her studies go well beyond the skills directly related to her work tasks and processes.

“I am a more confident professional. I am better equipped to support an inclusive work culture, including promoting gender equality and supporting people with special needs. I can switch between chemistry laboratory work and environmental fieldwork, and I have a different perspective on how I can be of value to my family, community and organisation. This experience made me realise that my career-course will not always be a fixed straight line.”

Lydia took full advantage of the opportunities the scholarship offered, including the environment of South Australia.

“I had a vast range of opportunities: learning new skills and knowledge; upskilling in different interests that make you happy; being multi-skilled and able to participate in community development projects.

“I made amazing friends and acquired practical skills doing volunteer work along the Fleurieu Peninsula and around South Australia. I learnt so much about biodiversity and wildlife while volunteering and doing hikes around the Adelaide Hills and coast of South Australia. I loved cycling along Henley Beach and the River Torrens and exploring the WOMAdelaide and Fringe Festivals to experience and learn about music and arts. I was privileged to participate in the Garma 2019 festival through the On-Awards Program. This  involved four days camping at East Arnhem, Northern Territory, where we learnt a lot about the amazing Aboriginal indigenous culture. While studying, I learnt how to confidently network through Australia Awards or UniSA functions.”

Applications for Intake 2023 Australia Awards Scholarships are now open and close on 29 April 2022 midnight PNG time.