20 January 2019

International Student Awards

The annual International Student Awards organised by StudyAdelaide recognises and celebrates the hard work of international students studying in Adelaide, as well as the contribution they make to the local community.

Several UniSA students were recognised at the event which was held on 19 October 2018, among them Salina Shrestha, a Master of Social Work student from Nepal who received a High Commendation in the Academic Excellence – Postgraduate Coursework category.

Salina, who is vision impaired, initially found her experience at University a little daunting. However, once she established her support network, nothing stood in the way of Salina’s determination for achieving academic excellence.

“My teaching staff were highly supportive and motivating especially with the challenges I experienced during my studies due to my vision impairment. They were very flexible and considerate of my needs and at times when I wanted to give up, I talked to them and they were very supportive and encouraging,” she says.

“The magnifying glass that the disability services provided me for use during my studies was something that entirely changed my life. I had no idea about such a device as we do not get that in my country. With this new device, I felt more confident about pursuing my studies and professional career.”

Salina pushed herself towards ever greater levels of personal and academic achievements, inspired by her goal to be an advocate for vulnerable people in the community.

She reached out to help others and accomplished many things of which to be proud; Salina has helped make a video that shows new students and parents that disability need not be a barrier to an education and she volunteers at university events to help new international students settle into life in Adelaide.

When asked if she had advice for new international students, Salina had this to say, “Come with an open mind. Do attend the orientation and feel assured that there is every kind of support service that you could possibly imagine. It's just about asking and inquiring about such services and accessing them.”

Salina has since secured a permanent part-time job in aged care, at the same organisation in which she did her first social work placement.

“I am deeply grateful to my placement mentor and program director,” she says.

“They took the time to come and attend the award ceremony to support me as my family. Their support inspires me to continue to be a voice for other students with disability.”

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