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SIT Prime Minister’s Scholarship Winners Head To Chile

Having waited more than a year to see their visit to Chile come to fruition, Southern Institute of Technology | Te Pūkenga third year Nursing students, Troy Gregg-Schofield and Agnes Amilale, are looking forward to their South American adventure.

Now on the cusp of graduating, the students applied for the Prime Minister’s scholarship in the second half of 2022, which should have seen them travel to Chile in January 2023, but due to pandemic related issues the trip was put on hold. The Government-funded scholarships are managed by Education New Zealand to support New Zealanders on learning experiences in Asia and Latin America. Initially unsure if it would be cancelled or delayed, the students were relieved to discover it was still going ahead, albeit a year later, in early January 2024.

Troy says he applied for the scholarship to gain more language skills and experiences which would help build towards working as a healthcare practitioner in humanitarian endeavours. “A way to contribute to it is by speaking Spanish; Nursing is becoming more multi-cultural,” he explained. With the tickets to Chile now booked and plans confirmed, Troy admitted he was very excited. “I’m feeling good about it and more confident now.” He had been well supported by SIT Nurse educators who encouraged him and provided letters of recommendation for the scholarship application. “I’m thankful for my tutors, they pushed me to do more, and push myself more.”

Agnes, who has a love of learning about other cultures, is looking forward to the month of Spanish language lessons the scholarship provides. “South America is my dream spot,” she said. Upon discovering her application was successful, she said “I almost cried”, it was such a huge thrill. Agnes is most looking forward to meeting the Chilean people and living amongst them to absorb more of their culture. Another long-held dream Agnes has is to make the trip to neighbouring Peru and see Machu Picchu. “I’m hoping to go ...” she added.

The students will be based in Chile’s capital, Santiago, at the University of Santo Tomas, returning February – March 2024 to begin their Nursing careers. “I’m really excited this part of the journey is ending and the next part is beginning,” Agnes said, “and not being a poor student,” she laughed.

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