Salwa standing in front of the University of Newcastle sign smiling

Your Stories – Meet Salwa

Name: Salwa 

Degree: PhD Education 

What degree are you currently studying and why?   

I am doing a PhD in Education and this is my last year of study. I was very humbled that I received an Australian government scholarship through an International Postgraduate Research Scholarship (IPRS) to pursue my doctoral degree at the University of Newcastle. I am studying education as I come from a teaching family. My grandfather, mother and my sisters were all teachers. I was passionate about English language education as my previous background was English language teaching. I was fortunate to be awarded another scholarship, Australian Awards Scholarship (AAS) to do my Masters degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages at Flinders University in 2012.  

Salwa and Kaitlin during the interview 

Did you always see yourself following this career pathway? Where do you see yourself when you finish uni?   

Yes, I did, my passion is teaching English as an ESL/EFL (English as a Second Language/ English as a Foreign Language). After finishing my study, I will teach English in my country, Indonesia. Regarding my PhD research topic, as a language educator, I was passionate about doing research on teachers’ and students’ perceptions on the use of Audio- Visual Aids (AVA) in English language teaching in Indonesian secondary schools. I hope that the findings of my study provide insightful information on how AVAs are perceived in developing teachers’ multiliteracies pedagogical approach as well as building students’ 4Cs skills including Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking and Creativity.

Salwa at the 2022 Student Employability Achievement Awards 

I also developed my professional skills by presenting and attending some seminars, recently I presented in the Education Network (tEN) showcase. I shared my experience in teaching English and providing feedback to Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students. In addition, I was grateful that I was selected as the recipient of International Conference Scholarship on the Development of the Intercultural Competence held at the University of Arizona, Tucson, USA on January 27th – 30th, 2022.  

My dream is to write a book on how to win scholarships abroad and pursue your dream.  

Are you involved in any volunteering or clubs at the University?   

I volunteered as a student representative in the University Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) committee from October 2021 – May 2023. I was happy to offer independent support particularly to international students to communicate their needs and ensure that their voices are being heard. I was also a peer mentor (2020-2022) to help new students settle into uni life and engage in a positive learning experience.   

Receiving the 2022 Hunter Volunteer Award 

Last Saturday I was invited to attend AusLEAP Reunion program at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). AusLEAP is a volunteering program sponsored by Study NSW that connects international students in NSW with local community, not-for profit and social organisations. I was truly humbled to take the training and volunteer opportunities through the AusLEAP program in 2022 and connect with like-minded individuals across many universities and institutions in NSW.   

Recently, I also joined the Kindness Hub. My passion for joining this community is to grow my personal development and my belief that no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. Therefore, this is my favourite quote: ‘in a world where you can be anything, be kind’. Let’s connect the world through kindness. 

What do you do in your spare time?  

I love biking. It is a great way to feel the fresh air, get some exercise, enjoy the moment and help me forget about my worries. It makes me feel good, especially as I’m currently grieving the loss of my best companion, a lovely cat named Blessy. She was always there during the highs and the lows of my life and used to accompany me while I wrote my thesis at midnight. 

Salwa with her cat Blessy 

Is there anything else you’d like to add?   

I would like to thank my great supervisors, my wonderful mentors, supportive friends and my beloved family. Your never-ending support enabled me to achieve my goals. My wonderful PhD journey would not be possible without this fantastic support system.   

I would also like to thank those who nominated me for some prestigious awards. I was truly humbled to receive the NSW Hunter Volunteer of the Year Award and the Adult Volunteer of the Year Award in October 2022. I was also one of three finalists in the 2022 NSW International Student Awards. 

Salwa’s thesis submission 

Do you have any advice for other students?  

It may take some time to achieve your goals, but eventually you will. So be patient and work hard for your dreams and they will come to you. As an international student, I believe that studying abroad helped me gain new perspectives on the world that have positively changed the way I think, solve problems and live my life.  So embrace new cultures, make friends for life and reinvent yourself. 

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One thought on “Your Stories – Meet Salwa

  1. Salwa, you are amazing. You encourage me and become my role model when I read your story. I am so glad to meet you.

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