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Social conscience leads to Hobart quiet life


Having grown up in a city of more than ten million people, Perpetual Onuigbo finds life in Hobart to be idyllic. And a scholarship certainly made life easier as well.

Perpetual moved to Hobart from Nigeria two years ago to study at the University of Tasmania and she says the lifestyle is a welcome contrast to her home in Nigeria’s biggest city, Lagos.

“There are over ten million people in Lagos, it is the commercial hub of Nigeria and it is a very crowded, busy place,” she said.

“Growing up there was incredibly stressful but I didn’t realise just how much until I left and ended up somewhere quiet!”

Perpetual studied a Bachelor of Political Science at the University of Nigeria in Nsukka and, in accordance with Nigerian law, did a year of national service after graduating, before entering the workforce.

International scholarship recipient and Master of Social Work student Perpetual Onuigbo
International scholarship recipient and Master of Social Work student Perpetual Onuigbo.

It was at this stage that she realised she was interested in social work and started thinking about a change of career direction. And while looking for a suitable university to study her Master of Social Work, she discovered the University of Tasmania and knew it was just what she was looking for.

“I love the environment here, the regional setting, being close to nature, and it’s such a quiet place,” she said.

“The University of Tasmania is just in the right spot, it has a track record of good academic outcomes, a lot of Nigerians graduate from UTAS, and the University’s sustainability goals really interest me as well.”

After moving to Hobart, Perpetual initially applied for a Destination Australia Scholarship but was unsuccessful. Then she applied for a different scholarship, the 2022 Track to Tasmania Scholarship.

This time she was successful, saying it eased a significant chunk of the financial burden of studying.

“A masters degree is very expensive so this has been very helpful.”

And after two years in Tasmania, Perpetual has found herself helping out other African students who are new to the state.

“When I compare myself to new international students from Africa, they are so lost and confused and overwhelmed from being in a new place.

“Having been around for some time and learned about the community, where to go shopping, the local food and so on, I like to help the new students settle in and find their way around.”

Perpetual has not yet decided whether she will remain in Australia or return to Nigeria after graduating. She gravitated towards social work out of a need to do some good in society and is trying to decide where she could best spend her efforts.

“Judging from where I come from, this is a beautiful place to start a life. I’m a proud Nigerian lady and I love my country but Nigeria is a developing nation and when I came here, I thought: does a world like this really exist?

“I want to see what I can do with my life, with the opportunity I have from studying here. They need a lot of social workers in Africa, it is a critical academic discipline and critical work.”

Whether she ends up staying in Australia, returning to Nigeria, or somewhere else entirely, Perpetual has loved her time living and studying in Hobart, and is grateful for the scholarship that allowed her the freedom to embrace the experience.

“It’s such an interesting place with a lot of opportunities. I’ve been growing the whole time I’ve been here.”

Costs should be no barrier to getting a university education, which is why we offer a broad range of scholarships to support you in your studies.