From Fiji to Rockhampton – how the Australia Awards Scholarship changed my life

Hi, my name is Shivaali Vanshika. I was born and brought up in Rakiraki, Fiji. In 2018 I was awarded the prestigious Australia Awards Scholarship to study a Bachelor of Podiatry Practice (Honours) at CQUniversity.

Where I come from: Rakiraki, Fiji. Credit:

The reason I chose to apply for this scholarship is because it was my personal desire to become a podiatrist after seeing my maternal grandfather go through foot amputation due to diabetes and poor foot management practices. However, a challenge was that none of the universities in Fiji offered this course.

After discussing this with my parents and family, I was advised to search for podiatry courses as well as scholarships overseas.

At the same time, I had to prepare for my final external examinations. I worked hard to meet the scholarship requirements, and at the end, I was rewarded by being awarded the Australia Awards Scholarship.

I’m so grateful to the generosity of the Australian Government and its people for funding this merit-based, developmental scholarship. Coming from a rural background and being awarded such a prestigious scholarship has been a life changing experience for me, both personally and professionally.

I got a chance to go abroad — Australia of all places! — to pursue a fully funded, internationally accredited programme.

The CQUniversity Rockhampton campus’ podiatry program is one of the best in Australia and since beginning my studies, I have pushed myself to develop my skills in a variety of areas such as research, public speaking, critical thinking and working to a high level of academic performance.

The podiatry program is accredited with the Australian and New Zealand Accreditation Council, so successful completion will allow me to become a registered podiatrist in both Australia and New Zealand. This is a big motivation for me to do well.                                   

Additionally, the scholarship has also allowed me to experience the wonderful Australian culture. From the wonderful sandy beaches of the Gold Coast to the beautiful scenery, which never fails to amaze me.

The diversity of people in Rockhampton is amazing and therefore, affords a rich cultural exchange. I have made friends from Papua New Guinea, Nigeria, Sri Lanka and the Philippines.

I also volunteer as an AIME mentor (Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience) at a high school. I am thankful that I made the initiative to integrate with the local community and if there is one bit of advice that I can give to fellow students who wish to pursue their tertiary studies in Australia, then it is highly recommended to integrate with the local community. 

Find out more about our international scholarships.

Enjoyed Shivaali’s story? You might enjoy Bikesh from Nepal’s journey who is studying engineering and is a Social Innovation Change Champion Ambassador at our Sydney campus.

You might also enjoy Sara from Albania’s story who is studying accounting and is an International Student Ambassador at our Melbourne campus.

CQUniversity International (

One thought on “From Fiji to Rockhampton – how the Australia Awards Scholarship changed my life

Leave a Reply