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SIT Students Awarded PM’s Scholarships

Two SIT distance learners awarded the Prime Minister’s Scholarship, which provide educational experiences in Asia and Latin America, say the opportunity has truly been the icing on the cake from their time studying.

SIT2LRN, the distance learning faculty of Southern Institute of Technology| Te Pūkenga was the choice for Carla Garcia of Auckland and Whanganui-based Lalina Dayal, as they looked for study options to fit in with their lives.

2022 – 2023 scholarship recipient Mrs Dayal has recently returned from one month in Chile, where she studied the Spanish language and Chilean culture. The Cullinane College commerce teacher thought the opportunity to learn about macroeconomic policy for Latin America was too good to pass up. “This was of particular interest to me,” she says.

Mrs Dayal, who moved to New Zealand from Fiji with her family in 2010, started her Master of Applied Management through SIT2LRN during the 2020 lockdowns and graduated last year. She was thrilled to be able to apply for the PM’s scholarship while studying through SIT2LRN and describes the whole trip “a highlight”.

“[Chile] is a totally different country to explore... the cultural and historical visits were very interesting and an eye-opener.” Students saw much of the capital, Santiago. They ventured further out as well, taking a trip to the foot of the Andes mountains. “It was really great, the scenery is beautiful, the lakes, mountains ... [there are] beautiful beaches,” she said.

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Mrs Dayal says she’s gained so much through her SIT2LRN studies: her Master’s, supported by the Zero Fees Scheme, and to top it all off, a PM’s scholarship resulting in a memorable educational trip overseas. “These opportunities hardly ever come, I wanted to make the most of it. I feel very, very fortunate. Without SIT – the motivation and support – I wouldn’t have completed this,” she said.

Mrs Garcia, who’s originally from Argentina, is completing her second qualification through SIT2LRN, the New Zealand Diploma in Interior Design (Residential) (Level 5). Having enjoyed her studies so much, she’s already considering further study in Architectural Technology.

After applying for the scholarship, Mrs Garcia discovered she was a recipient in late 2023. “I cried, I couldn’t believe it ... it was pure happiness,” she said. Mrs Garcia will travel to Indonesia to join a 15-week Tropical Architecture, Interior and Green Design course at Institut Desain & Bisnis Bali (IDB Bali), from October 2024 to January 2025. She’ll study tropical living, resort architecture, furniture design, and sustainable practices.

Mrs Garcia’s passion for sustainable design and building was awakened when she participated in an earth building course in 2022. Describing it as “a transformative experience”, she helped to build a cob house for a Kiwi family, which made having a home seem more accessible. “Everyone should be able have their own home. We have all the elements here in New Zealand to build houses. I got so inspired, the same year I started studying interior décor,“ she explains.

After completing the programme in Bali, Mrs Garcia plans to collaborate with local communities, institutions, and organisations to create workshops in sustainable and green design. She also hopes to share her knowledge with the design sector. “I aim to inspire fellow designers to adopt a similar ethos and contribute to the creation of healthier living and work environments,” she said.

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