Suffice to say, Sanithra Perera’s academic journey at Victoria University (VU) is off to a flying start.
The Sri Lankan born international student has just finished her first semester of the Diploma of Information Technology with an average score of 95 – making her the highest achiever of all students studying courses in business, IT and engineering at VU College in Semester 1, 2016.
VU College is a specialist teaching institute of VU that provides diploma-to-degree pathways for both domestic and international students. Upon successful completion of a one-year higher education diploma at VU College, students are guaranteed entry to the second year of the corresponding bachelor degree at VU.
The Diploma of Information Technology, which is delivered at VU’s Footscray Nicholson campus, will enable Sanithra to enter the second year of the Bachelor of Information Technology when she finishes her second semester of studies later this year.
With a current grade point average of 7 out of 7 – despite no background in IT – Sanithra credits her outstanding academic results to the support of her family, friends and lecturers.
"I wanted to do well in my studies but I didn’t think I’d be the best of the class," Sanithra says.
"I didn’t have any IT background but the encouragement I got from my family and lecturers has really helped me to achieve this result," she says.
"The best part of the course is the practical component – we get to do lots of activities in the lab, it’s not always theory, writing and exams."
Sanithra’s results have now earned her a $2000 grant towards the second semester of her studies, under the VU College Diploma Merit Scholarship.
The scholarship, which aims to recognise and reward international student achievement, is awarded to international students who meet a distinction average in their first semester of a one-year diploma at VU College in Melbourne.
When deciding her study destination, Sanithra says she was attracted to VU because of its world-class reputation, affordability and cultural diversity.
"VU has a global ranking, it’s inexpensive, the campuses are conveniently located and it’s a university with a good quality of education.
"VU is also located in the most liveable city in the world, and I’m really enjoying the cultural diversity that Melbourne has to offer."
Sanithra’s advice to prospective international students is to "put your studies first".
"Some students come here and take on part-time jobs and other activities, so their studies become a second priority.
"But if they want a good future they should commit their full attention, effort and heart to their studies."