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USQ’s first Afghan students chase big dreams

Hafizullah Afzaly (left) and Ismail Najeeb have recommended USQ to their friends and colleagues back home in Afghanistan
Ismail Najeeb and Hafizullah Afzaly say they will one day use their University of Southern Queensland education as a tool to help rebuild their war-torn homeland of Afghanistan.

The students, who are the first cohort to attend USQ from Afghanistan, are studying through the University after being awarded AusAID Australian Development Scholarships (ADS) by the Australian Government.

Mr Najeeb, who works for the Minister for Education in Afghanistan, explained that each year the scholarship process was very competitive in his homeland with a large percentage of Afghan nationals opting to study in Australia.

‘The quality of life here in Australia is very good,’ he said.

‘The Australian people are very welcoming.’

Both Mr Najeeb and Mr Afzaly were offered scholarships in other countries, such as the United States, but chose to come to Australia and USQ.

Mr Afzaly was also offered a scholarship to a prestigious Sydney university but turned it down because he wanted to study with USQ.

The men have recently graduated from USQ’s English for Academic Purposes (EAP) in Toowoomba and will start their next learning journey at the University’s Springfield campus.

Mr Afzaly is set to undertake a Masters of Project Management while Mr Najeeb will study a Masters of Project Management and also a Masters of Business Administration.

‘Our country is a very poor country, though full of natural resources, and we have suffered a lot,’ Mr Najeeb said.

‘More than anything our country needs educational support to help rebuild’

‘We plan to take the knowledge and expertise we learn here at USQ back home to Afghanistan.’

‘Our nation is very keen to solve its problems.’

In Semester 1, 2012, 15 AusAID students commenced study at USQ — the largest intake of students to date, bringing the AusAID student cohort to 33 students currently studying at both Toowoomba and Springfield campuses.

The students are enrolled in undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral programs in the faculties of Business, Education, Engineering and Surveying and Sciences.

Students have chosen to study at USQ and they come from Afghanistan, Cambodia, Fiji, Grenada, Indonesia, Kenya, Kiribati, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

Mr Afzaly, who has travelled to many Universities as part of his employment with Afghanistan’s Ministry of Mines, said the support he had received at USQ was second-to-none.

‘The support we get here, we haven’t had support like this anywhere in the world,’ he said.

‘Not only the education support, but also the social support.’

For more information about AusAID ADS Scholarships visit: http://www.ausaid.gov.au/scholar/pages/studyin.aspx

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