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Alumnus reflects on Australia Awards Scholarship experiences

Posted: 4 April 2024

Alumni, Social inclusion,

Australia Awards alumnus Kay Pin Tui is currently working as an Operations Manager at Humanity and Inclusion, in Myanmar. He first started working at Humanity and Inclusion in 2015, before receiving an Australia Awards Scholarship in 2019 to undertake a Master of Public Policy and Management at Flinders University. He rejoined Humanity and Inclusion in 2022, one year after returning from Australia.

Kay Pin Tui has been featured as ‘the face of’ the Australia Awards Myanmar Scholarship promotions for study commencing in 2025. We recently asked him some questions about the Scholarship application process, his experience and achievements in Australia, and what advice he has for prospective applicants. Kay Pin Tui’s responses below offer a fascinating insight into how an Australia Awards Scholarship can be lifechanging.

What motivated you to apply for an Australia Awards Scholarship?

Australia is one of the top-quality education providers in the world and the study destination for many young people. To me personally, the Australia Awards is the most generous and prestigious scholarship; it provides very comprehensive support so that scholars can focus on their studies and expand their personal and professional networks while also enjoying the diverse cultural experiences Australia has to offer. The Australia Awards Scholarship also offer flexibility to bring family members along which is a significant advantage, as it allows scholars to share their educational journey with their loved ones, enriching their overall experience and fostering greater understanding and appreciation for different cultures.

How did you find the application process?

The Online Australia Awards Scholarships Information System (OASIS) was easy, smooth, and efficient, and facilitated a positive application experience for aspiring scholars. This user-friendly application process with clear instructions significantly alleviates stress and streamline the overall experience for applicants. Having a dedicated scholarship team available to provide technical support and address any questions or concerns further enhances the applicants’ experience. This level of support can be invaluable, especially for individuals who may encounter difficulties navigating the application system or require assistance with specific queries.

Additionally, the ability of the scholarship team to communicate with universities on behalf of selected scholars underscores the comprehensive support provided throughout the entire process. This ensures that scholars can focus on their studies and personal development while the administrative aspects are efficiently managed by the scholarship team.

What suggestions can you offer to prospective applicants to help them be successful in receiving an Australia Awards Scholarship?

My suggestion to the prospective applicants is to understand the prioritized subjects and fields of study for the study commencing in 2025 that also suit your interest. It is important to link what you want to study with your experiences and explain how studying in Australia will further develop your skill sets that are required to contribute directly or indirectly to your community or organization in Myanmar after your studies in Australia. Demonstrate how you will make use of the resources at the university and the professors, and how you will build your network with the local and international students.

Understanding the prioritized fields of study for the year will help you demonstrate proactive research and a strategic approach to the application process. By selecting a subject or field of study that aligns with both your professional and personal aspirations and interests and the scholarship’s priorities, applicants can increase their chances of success. Emphasizing plans to utilize university resources, engage with professors, and build networks with local and international students showcases a proactive approach to maximizing the opportunities available during the scholarship period. Networking and collaboration can be invaluable for personal and professional growth, both during the academic journey and beyond.

What guidance have you received from Australia Awards throughout your Scholarship?

The Australia Awards Myanmar team provides support for all the processes, including communicating with the university on my behalf for further information to finalize the admission process. In addition, the Australia Awards Myanmar team also provided support during the visa process. One of the benefits of being an Australia Awards scholar is that you don’t have to worry about any fees for processing the visa. The whole process is covered by the Scholarship, so you can focus on preparing for my studies plans and my future goals.

Overall, the comprehensive support provided by the Australia Awards Myanmar team underscores the program’s commitment to facilitating a positive and successful experience for scholars. By addressing logistical challenges and providing scholarship funding, the program enables scholars to fully concentrate on their academic and personal development during their time in Australia.

What was your time in Australia like?

It was an amazing experience for me to have a chance to study in Australia and meet with diverse people from whom I have learned a lot. Being an Australia Awards scholar, I could fully focus on my studies and enjoy new experiences without any concerns regarding financial worries such as educational fees and living expenses during my master’s degree course. Moreover, the Australian government is flexible and allows international students to work up to 20 hours per week which will offer you additional benefits. Scholars can choose to gain work experience in Australia, further enhancing their skill sets and understanding of the local work culture. This provides not only the opportunity to earn some savings but also allows scholars to network, build professional relationships, and potentially gain insights into their field of study from a practical perspective.

Overall, the combination of financial support from the Australia Awards scholarship and the opportunity to work part-time provides a well-rounded experience for scholars, enabling them to fully embrace their academic journey while also exploring the cultural and professional opportunities that Australia has to offer. The Australia Awards scholarship program strives to empower scholars to thrive academically and personally during their time in Australia.

What would you say was your most significant achievement or highlight of your time in Australia?

I have gained lifechanging and extensive experiences in Australia. I also learned a lot from living and studying in Australia. I had a chance to interact and make friends with Australians and international students after joining Flinders Friendship International, one of the student clubs at Flinders University. I was one of the founding members of the club, which is now known as Adelaide Students Connect Hub.

While studying in Australia, I also had the opportunity to work in the agriculture sector during the semester break. I gained experience both in factory work and in outdoor farming. With the network built from this work, I was able to connect other international students with the factories.

The COVID-19 restrictions prevented me from traveling across Australia, but I enjoyed exploring the local attractions and diversity of South Australia. I was impressed by the beautiful landscape of this region.

Since returning home, how have you used the knowledge and experience you gained in Australia to develop your career and contribute towards the development of Myanmar?

I returned to Myanmar after the COVID-19 pandemic. The first year after returning from Australia was very challenging. I helped my family and worked with them for a year. After one year, I joined a humanitarian organization, Humanity and Inclusion, as Operations Manager, working on projects that provide support to people with disability and the most vulnerable people in conflict-affected areas. Due to the current situation in Myanmar, we cannot implement our activities at the community level as planned. Instead, we work with and through local partners at the township level.

What advice do you have for future recipients to help them prepare for their Australian journey?

Australia is one of the best destinations for studying and offers many opportunities to those who are willing to learn different and new things. Volunteering and working while in Australia will further enhance your experiences.

For prospective applicants who meet the eligibility criteria, I highly recommend researching Australia Awards Scholarships and universities in Australia. I would also recommend that applicants spend time and effort to submit a strong and complete application. Applicants who are shortlisted for interviews should prepare and practice explaining their vision of how an Australia Awards Scholarship will benefit their career and how they will contribute to Myanmar’s development after they return to Myanmar.

Once you have been selected for the Australia Awards Scholarship, please do further research on your university and the city you will be living in while in Australia. Australia Awards Myanmar will organize a Pre-Departure Briefing. I recommend you attend this and come to Australia prepared. While in Myanmar, you could further enhance your English language skills so that your transition to life and study in Australia is smoother.