Being away from home is never easy, but with the right mindset and a goal to strive for, nothing is impossible.
That’s Bruce Mathew William’s academic journey with the University of the South Pacific (U.S.P.) Alafua in a nutshell.
At the age of 22, Mr. Williams found himself far from his homeland, Vanuatu, and in an unfamiliar country three years ago.
This alone became a real challenge for the young man.
But with certain goals in mind, Mr. Williams was able to buckle down and complete his Bachelor of Agriculture. But as mentioned before, it did not come easy.
“I first came to Samoa in 2015 after I finished enrolling into U.S.P. Alafua,” Mr. Williams explained in an interview with the Samoa Observer.
“It was very difficult for me because this was actually my first time leaving my parents. I would feel homesick at times and miss all my loved ones. It was also hard communicating and socializing with others here but I had to do my best to make my family back home proud.
“I ended up making a few friends and that really helped me overcome the challenges. I also ended up struggling with my school work at times and there was a time where finance became an issue.”
But all the challenges faced by Mr. Williams were not in vein. The young graduate explains that while it was a difficult to attain his degree in agriculture, his achievement will go a long way because of its importance in a Pacific setting.
He urges others to consider taking up agriculture because of all the benefits and potential it holds within the region.
“I would like to push everyone to consider enrolling into agriculture,” Mr. Williams said.
“The reason I have chosen to study agriculture is because I believe that it is a subject that holds many benefits for the Pacific people.
“Not only does it allow us to generate local revenue for the people, it also gives us the opportunity to make the most of what we have. In the Pacific, we may not have as much resources as other countries but we do have land.
“If we learn to better make use of that land through agriculture, then we will be able to earn so much from it.”
Mr. Williams continues on to explain that his degree in agriculture has opened many doors for him and in moving forward, he plans to return home and help local farmers with all that he has learnt.
“I strongly believe that agriculture is the backbone of many Pacific families,” he said.
“This degree in agriculture will definitely help me create markets for exporting Pacific products to other overseas countries which will benefit my home country as a whole.
“My plan right now is to work with many of the rural agricultural workers back in Vanuatu and help them through the knowledge I have gained here at U.S.P.”
Asked for a motivational line for those still undertaking their undergraduate studies, Mr. Williams says that distractions are the downfall for any student.
“The key to any achievement is to get rid of all forms of distractions,” he said.
“My advice for all the students out there is to spend less time on social media and more time in your books because focus will help you in the long run; especially in your academic journey.”
Mr. Williams concluded by showing gratitude for everyone who took care of him in Samoa.
“I would just like to thank the people of Samoa for everything you have done,” he said.
“I am also very grateful to all those who are close to me for the three years of hospitality they have shown me. I will always cherish the happy moments I have created here and I hope to see Samoa again one day.”
Here are some more photos from the U.S.P. graduation.