Education was always a big thing for the family of EIT students Desmond Sa’u and his younger sister Faala. “Mum told me that she discovered my interest in art when I went to preschool. I was always drawing. And here I am, studying in my second year of the Bachelor of Creative Practice,” smiles Desmond. “My parents always encouraged us to reach out to areas that other Pacific Islanders might not attempt and art is definitely one of them,” says Des.
Faala however, chose a different career path. She is studying towards a Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education). She works part-time at a bilingual child care centre which is connected to their church. “There aren’t a lot of Pasifika people in education even though we have so much to contribute. For instance, I like to speak Samoan with the children and I think it’s a great opportunity for them to learn two languages.”
Both, Des and Faala are eligible for the Year 13 scholarship (on top of the government’s fees free first year) and told us what difference it makes for them.
Did the Year 13 scholarship influence your decision to study?
Des: It definitely did especially because finances was one of my biggest concerns as I was coming to the end of my time in high school.
Faalaa: Yes, because it gave me motivation to study. It was also a great opportunity for me to study something I wanted without having to worry about paying for the course fees. However, I would have studied even without getting a scholarship because it was always something I’ve planned on doing after high school.
How did you find out about it?
Des: My career counsellor had explained to me it in depth but I’ve always heard this ‘first year free’ statement when I talked about EIT.
Faalaa: Through my high school careers advisor. She strongly encouraged me to apply for the scholarship and said that it would be a great help towards my education.
Do you think that having to take a loan out is discouraging young people from studying?
Des: I think it can definitely deter a lot of young people due to the circumstances of their lives. For some of them working straight after school would be more beneficial for their families which is completely understandable.
Faalaa: Definitely. A lot of young people don’t want to have to work for a long time after their studies to pay off their loan.
Is it challenging for you to finance your studies?
Des: At the moment I am actually pretty good. I have scholarships to cover my first two years and am currently in search for more scholarships.
Faalaa: Not at the moment because I have my first year free from the government which is great.
How is this semester going for you?
Des: I am very much enjoying the time in class, especially in this year being able to do what I love to do, being given projects and tasks that help us prepare for the creative industries. I feel that I am definitely benefitting from this course.
Faalaa: This semester is going well so far, little ups and downs but nothing I can’t get through. I’m enjoying and learning so many new things every day. I love that our course is a mix between theory and practical which helps me to develop in my learning.