Samoa’s first Chevening Scholarship recipient, Clayton Simamao, has returned to Samoa after successfully completing his studies at Cardiff University.
The Chevening Scholarship programme is part of the bilateral relationship between the U.K. and Samoa.
The scholarship enables talented young leaders from around the world to complete their fully funded, one-year Master’s degree in the U.K.
British High Commissioner, Jonathan Sinclair, congratulated Mr. Simamao.
“Last year Clayton was the first student to receive such an award. It was with great pleasure that this time last year, Clayton went off to Cardiff University to study a one year masters,” he said.
“He has just returned having completed that and he’s waiting for his final results.”
According to the High Commissioner, the course Clayton took was no easy task but he managed to complete it nevertheless.
“Half of the year you had to pass some exams to get to the very end and only 40% of the class passed,” he said. “Clayton was one of them. He is a very good example of talented young Samoans we want to come and study in the U.K.”
Mr. Simamao is extremely grateful for the opportunity.
“First and foremost I would like to give thanks on behalf of not only my family, but the whole of Samoa,” he said.
“Samoa owes a lot to the U.K. for this great scholarship. The Chevening scholarship is one of the most prestigious scholarships in the whole world.
“From my year alone, about 25,000 people applied and from my intake, only 1,800 people were successful.”
Mr. Simamao said the scholarship was the opportunity of a lifetime.
“They really do look after the students from the first day you get there till the day you leave,” he said.
“They look after you well with the main aim of when you return, you give back to your country. It’s for potential leaders. The U.K. has now looked at this way for sustainable development especially with those countries involved with the commonwealth.”
But all in all, Clayton said that he had a great time in the U.K. and urges others to take the programme.
“My time in the U.K. was amazing,” he said.
“Although there is a big difference in the weather, it was a new experience culture wise. I got to meet a lot of Samoans living abroad. I also got to network with a lot of other Pacific Islanders.
“It was a really good experience and I really urge our youth and anyone out there to challenge yourself education wise. Take the opportunity with this programme.”
Two more students from Samoa – Felton Pavitt (N.U.S.) and Ferila Brown (M.N.R.E.) – have just arrived in the U.K. to undertake their year-long masters courses.
According to Mr. Sinclair, the scholarship is valued at £35,000 - £40,000 (WST$107,800 – WST$123,200) per scholar.