USQ Springfield campus’s first Afghan students, Ismail Najeeb and Hafizullah Afzaly.
USQ Springfield campus’s first Afghan students, Ismail Najeeb and Hafizullah Afzaly. David Martinelli

Afghans arrive to learn

THE University of Southern Queensland Springfield campus will welcome its first Afghan students this semester.

Ismail Najeeb and Hafizullah Afzaly said they hoped to use an education gained at USQ Springfield to help rebuild their war-torn homeland of Afghanisation.

Mr Najeeb and Mr Afzaly will both begin studying a Masters of Project Management next week, and Mr Najeeb will also take on 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."

The men are the first Afghan students to attend USQ, and their study was made possible after the Federal Government awarded them AusAID Australian Development Scholarships (ADS).

Mr Najeeb, who works for the Minister for Education in Afghanistan, said his country's scholarship process for study in Australia was very competitive.

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

"The Australian people are very welcoming."

Mr Najeeb and Mr Afzaly were offered scholarships in other countries, including the United States, but chose to study in Australia.

Mr Afzaly, who works for Afghanistan's Ministry of Mines, also chose to study at USQ rather than a prestigious Sydney university.

He 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."

The men have graduated from an English for Academic Purposes course at USQ Toowoomba in preparation to undertake their Masters.

Last semester, 15 AusAID ADS students began their study at USQ, bringing the total AusAID ADS student cohort to 33 students across Toowoomba and Springfield campuses.

The students come from diverse homelands including Afghanistan, Cambodia, Fiji, Grenada, Indonesia, Kenya, Kiribati, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

For more information about the scholarship program visit ausaid.gov.au/scholarships.



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