From child refugee to business graduate
Emad vividly recalls the dangerous crossing and the feeling of uncertainty when he and his family were detained in the Woomera Detention Centre after the Australian Navy intercepted their boat at Ashmore Reef.
"You are unaware of your future," he said of the psychological stress of being in detention. "You have risked your life and now you are in limbo."
After the family finally secured refugee status Emad‘s father began searching for work, moving from city to city. Having missed more than a year of school, Emad was also grappling with a new country and a new language.
In 2004 the family moved to Melbourne, where a sense of normality slowly returned. Determined and inspired, Emad dedicated himself to his studies and was offered a First in the Family Scholarship from the Faculty of Business and Economics.
“Being the first in my family to attend university was an exciting and stressful time for my family because of the added financial burden,” said Emad.
Receiving the scholarship eased some of the financial stress on my family and made the transition to university an exciting rather than stressful one.
Not only did the scholarship provide the high-achieving student with financial support, it gained him entry to Abernethy Scholars program. Under the guidance and mentoring of former Dean, Professor Margaret Abernethy, scholars take part in regular workshops, networking sessions and special talks from alumni and business leaders.
As an alumnus of the Abernethy Scholars program, Emad also shared his experiences with the incoming cohort.
Now, after studying Commerce at Melbourne, Emad has graduated and is building his career in business – a world away from his life in Indonesia.
For Emad, the scholarship has provided a lot more than financial support: "It also provides a little peace of mind that somebody out there believes in you," he said. "It makes you strive to be better."