The knowledge and skills Victoria University (VU) international student Clera Sam has gained in both a personal and professional sense will stay with her long after she returns to her home country of Papua New Guinea.
Clera is in her final semester of a Master of Digital Media, building on a communications degree majoring in journalism from the Divine Word University in Madang.
Since beginning her VU journey in 2017 with the University's top-ranked English language centre, VU English, Clera says she has been grateful for the many opportunities afforded to her inside and outside the classroom.
"The University is really committed to helping students gain professional development and leadership opportunities," Clera says.
"For example, I was president of the VU Public Speaking Club in 2018 and was also involved in the University's volunteering program, VU Vollies, where I assisted in many volunteering events in the local community," she says.
"I also attended free Mandarin classes – these are just some of the many opportunities VU provides."
Clera, who has been sponsored to study at VU with the support of the Australian Government's Australia Awards Scholarship, says the best aspect of the course is "the hands-on, practical work".
"In my first year I did a lot of practical projects based on real issues affecting the community.
"We built apps that supported awareness campaigns for the Drug and Alcohol Foundation, and we also developed a virtual reality wellness program to support people undergoing cancer treatment at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.
"As well as the practical component, the course includes relevant industry support and you learn alongside people who actually work in the field."
On completion of the scholarship, Clera will return to her government role as public relations coordinator for Papua New Guinea's Department of Land.
"My plan is to go back home and implement the skills I have learnt to improve my work and drive change within my workplace, the government and the community.
"I would like to come back to Australia one day, but for now I have a responsibility to fulfil back home."