The value of a UWA degree

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UWA and me

I’ve recently finished studying a Bachelor of Science and I’ll be graduating at the end of this year. My experience at UWA has been nothing but positive and studying here has given me so many opportunities. Academically, my studies at UWA have been rigorous and I will leave having gained so much knowledge thanks to the wonderful teaching staff and engaging courses. UWA also supported me in pursuing a New Colombo Plan scholarship, which enabled me to go on exchange to the Chinese University of Hong Kong. I’m really grateful to have had the opportunity to study at a fantastic university like UWA!

Re-empowering local communities

The issue of extreme poverty has been something that I have always been very passionate about. Extreme poverty is such a complex problem, with many underlying factors contributing to and exacerbating the issue. Unfortunately, often well-meaning solutions are created with little input from the affected community. This creates a multitude of problems and risks disempowering local community members. In the future, I hope to have a career in the development sector and work towards greater community-level representation in program decision-making. I also hope to work on sustainable development initiatives for disaster-affected communities.

Community and grassroots development

I am using my NCP experience to learn about barriers to sustainable development in disaster-affected communities, and opportunities for improvement. I spent 6 months studying and interning in Hong Kong, and am currently doing an internship with a peace-building organisation in Nepal after spending a month learning Nepali. These experiences have been unforgettable and have allowed me to grow in many different ways. I have learnt about the day-to-day operations of non-government organisations (NGOs), have worked on a range of engaging projects, and have had the opportunity to step into the field by facilitating training sessions for rural youth groups. Furthermore, being able to intern in grassroots organisations in the Asia-Pacific has reinforced my belief in the importance of community-centred development. The NCP program has been invaluable and will continue to inform my career long into the future.

I've learned

To be excited! University is such a great time to try new things. I would say to students, don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone – whether that be by joining a club, applying for a scholarship or making a new friend.

Zoë has recently completed a Bachelor of Science and is currently writing her Honours thesis in Political Science. She works at the Ronald McDonald Learning Program and runs Talking Threads Project, an online platform advocating for youth representation in decision-making spaces. Last year, Zoë worked with non-profit organisations in Nepal and Hong Kong as a New Colombo Plan Fellow. She was also previously the Western Australian Director of Oaktree, a youth-run development organisation that invests in initiatives that fight poverty and promote access to education. She is the City of South Perth’s 2018 Young Citizen of the Year.

You can connect with Zoë on LinkedIn.