From a young age, Ishaya Usman Gadzama has wanted to make a positive impact on the lives of others.
Today, the Nigerian student is living this dream at the University of New England (UNE).
Ishaya is a recipient of the International Postgraduate Research Award (UNE IPRA) scholarship, pursuing a PhD in Animal Science.
Everyday, research efforts at the UNE School of Environmental and Rural Science inspire him and exposure to the School’s “excellent research facilities” add value to his work as a research scientist in the National Animal Production Research Institute (NAPRI) in Nigeria.
Step by step, he is on his way to making his home country Nigeria and the world a better place.
“Studying at one of Australia’s most research-intensive universities grants me access to the necessary knowledge and skills needed to contribute my quota to the sustainable development of agriculture in Sub Saharan Africa and Nigeria in particular.”
All around the world, young men and women seeking a better life and bright future yearn for a study abroad opportunity like Ishaya’s. They know, like Ishaya does, that it’s a ticket to making it and realising their aspirations.
“A highly reputed postgraduate degree from a world-class university such as UNE will not only help me acquire and develop the skills needed to excel in my work but will also further my career prospects,” he says.
Connecting future students with the UNE community
The first step is the most crucial.
Choosing a university abroad is no easy feat for students who do not have the luxury of attending open days or meeting professors in person.
In such cases, a virtual student advisor like those in the online UNEBuddy programme comes in really handy.
Ishaya understands the value of having a service like UNEBuddy which connects potential students with current UNE students, staff and alumni. This helps the prospective student to get first-hand information about the university, courses, life on-campus and career options post-graduation.
Ishaya said: “As a UNEBuddy, I feel honoured to share my knowledge, guidance and experience with prospective students.
“In fact, one of the international students that contacted me via UNEBuddy commended the programme and said he had never seen such an incredible platform as this.”
UNEBuddies are even on board to walk you through your future job prospects and help you to find a programme that would suit your career aspirations best.
Since joining the interactive programme, Ishaya has been sent a variety of requests from students across the world.
“Through the UNEBuddy I’ve been able to guide students through the UNE admissions process, I’ve shared scholarship opportunities with potential students and I’ve even reviewed their letters of interest/motivation,” he says.
“Just remember, UNEBuddy is where you’ll find current students like me or members of staff and alumni who are ready to share their knowledge and experiences with you so that you’re prepared for your UNE experience.”
Need to know more about student life in Australia? Ask a UNEbuddy
UNEBuddies also share personal blogs so that you get a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like at UNE and Australia.
“Our first stop was at the Wing Hing Long Museum in Tingha. As we stepped into this store, I kind of felt like I stepped into an experience which links past, present and future,” she says.
Yahui also blogged about her Council of International Students Australia (CISA) 2018 Conference experience so that prospective international students could get a taste of UNE student life.
As UNEBuddy and PhD student Nirosha Ranawaka from Sri Lanka explains, UNEBuddies are always open to sharing their stories and ventures.
“UNE is a multicultural university with learners from all walks of life, so it’s very easy to settle in here,” she says.
Like Ishaya, Nirosha is committed to helping others. That’s why she became a UNEBuddy.
Nirosha was also a finalist of the NSW International Student of the Year 2018 award.
“For me, the most important thing is the ‘happy feeling’ we get after helping international students to solve their problems and supporting them,” says Nirosha.
So if you have any questions about studying at the University of New England, then chat with one of the university’s UNEBuddies.
They’re more than happy to help and have lots of stories to share.
They will be able to offer you a first-hand account of what it’s like to study and live in Armidale or Sydney, and the process to go through to get there.
And who knows, maybe one day you will also be a UNEBuddy like Ishaya, Nirosha and Yahui who’s ready to help the next cohort of international students achieve their ambitions in Australia?
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