PACK & SEND has announced the recipient of the 2020 International Student Support Grant.
The International Student Support Grant was launched by PACK & SEND on May 1, 2020. Every year PACK & SEND helps thousands of international students to move their belongings to and from Australia, as well as shipping around Australia.
The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in Australia’s International Student community facing widespread financial hardship. When it became evident that Government stimulus and welfare support was not being offered to international students, PACK & SEND decided to offer a $1500 grant as small way of giving back to the International Student community in Australia.
Congratulations to Douglas Muthamia of James Cook University, winner of the PACK & SEND International Student Grant.
With over 240 high calibre international student applicants, the judging process was not easy. After much deliberation, Douglas’s entry was chosen by our panel of judges as the most inspiring, creative and well-articulated response.
Douglas comes from Kenya and is studying Master of Engineering majoring in Electrical & Renewable Energy.
We asked Douglas a few questions after informing him of his success in winning the $1500 grant.
What motivated you to pursue your field of study?
Growing up, my Dad was a local engineer. My admiration of his technical and innovative skills plus my love for technology motivated me to choose engineering as my career. In my home country of Kenya I started my undergraduate course in Electrical & Electronics Engineering with a dream to be a professional.
In the villages where I grew up, when the sun sets, people are left in the dark. Shops and markets have no choice but to shut down until the next day. This is a challenging situation to the local economy and learning. I wanted to help villages like mine to tap into readily available solar energy to light up the night. This motivated me to further my studies in masters in Electrical & Renewable energy to advance my skills and experiences to provide electricity from natural resources on a mission to develop my country with electricity that is most lacking using abundantly available solar rays to create green energy.
Why did you come to Australia to further your studies?
Australia provides a unique kind of education and a learning style that encourages one to be innovative, creative, and think independently. Institutions have modern technology and world-class facilities for teaching, training, and research. They deliver practical and career-orientated training to graduates equipping them with marketable skills. It also offers excellent value for money and a standard of living that is among the highest in the world. Living expenses and tuition costs are considerably less compared to most countries. Australia is a safe, multicultural, friendly, and harmonious society which values the wealth of cultural diversity that international students bring to the campuses and communities. Australia's national quality assurance system allows international students to enjoy equal level of service and financial protection to Australians. It also has a less populated yet vast country which can fit in more employment opportunities than any other part of the world. It also offers country-based research opportunities to eligible professionals willing to enhance their careers and best placed especially for green energy technology with professionalism and a great experience to learn from and take back and develop my country Kenya and Africa.
What challenges have you faced since the onset of COVID-19 Pandemic?
Having paid all my 1st Semester’s fees in time, and doing a casual job that was catering all my basic needs: rent, food, internet, mobile phone, car rego, and fuel all was going well until COVID-19 rendered me completely jobless and unable to pay these living expenses. My smooth learning, therefore, was much affected after exhausting my remaining savings because of the unexpected ongoing negative changes on basic needs with no extra hope for support from my sponsors who are equally affected.
Has winning the PACK & SEND International Student Grant changed your outlook?
This award has changed my life both short and long-term. Winning this award means much of my living expenses will be sorted and most importantly shows love and gives me hope and a home feeling despite the status in a foreign country far from home. More so it is an insight to other international students that Australia is a caring country and specifically PACK & SEND who offers us essential services by delivering all our commodities sent to develop our home countries.
Thanks to students who entered the PACK & SEND International Student Support Grant in 2020. We wish we could have given a prize to each and every one of you!