Pasifika university students INSPIA-ing others to break the mould

Pasifika university students INSPIA-ing others to break the mould

Story by Mary Harm

Pacific Islander youth are encouraged to aspire to higher education at this years University of Queensland (UQ) Union award-winning INSPIA summit initiated by UQ South Pacific Islander Association (UQSPIA) at the St Lucia Campus on September 28, 2018.

INSPIA is a tailored program specifically for Pacific Island (PI) high school students in years 11 and 12, designed and facilitated by UQSPIA PI university students. Check out the 2018 video produced by film student Alfred Naupoto, below:

Kieranpal Singh Sidhu, 2018 Academic Coordinator of UQSPIA, said the summit will provide students with information regarding tertiary education, career pathways, effective study tips and valuable first-hand advice through student-led workshops, Q&A panels, industry speakers and cultural activities.

“We aim to inspire students to push the boundaries that may have been laid upon them because Pacific Islanders are a minority group in university and INSPIA aims to change that,” he explained.

I have no doubt that the people I have met in UQSPIA will make real positive change in this world.

“They helped me find my feet and reminded me at times where my two feet come from. “

Photo credit: UQSPIA / Facebook

Aspiring secondary school teacher and 2018 President of UQSPIA, Tai Reupena said: “INSPIA is an opportunity for high school students to ask questions and connect with a whole network of PI university students studying a range of disciplines, who like them, have undergone the transition from high school to university.”

Photo Credit: UQ Union / Facebook

Evaluations from past summits show after attending INSPIA, 65 per cent of high schools students now see tertiary education as part of their future plan.

Alice Mathewsell attended INSPIA 2017 and said she was unsure of what to expect and she was hoping the experience would ease the anxiety that came with the thought of tertiary education.

“The part I valued most about INSPIA was hearing from the panel of guest speakers,” she said.

Listening to the wisdom and insight they had to share, changed not only the way I thought about university, but life as a whole.

Now in her second semester of a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) at UQ, Ms Mathewsell is an active member of UQSPIA, realising how important a family-like network is to university life.

“No stereotype should ever limit how far we aim and I’d encourage Pasifika high school students to come along to INSPIA, even if they aren’t considering university,” she said.

“Our culture fuels us and when we are surrounded by it, we flourish, so dive in!”

Photo Credit: UQ Union/ Facebook

Register HERE if you are interested in attending INSPIA summit 2018.

Like the UQSPIA Facebook Page HERE or visit the UQSPIA website HERE for upcoming events and opportunities.