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Always learning, always growing

Name: Neru
Age: 18
Graduated: Year 12, 2019, St Monica’s College, Cairns
Studying: Bachelor of Business Management at the University of Queensland
From: Prince of Wales (Muralag) Island, QLD

Growing up in a large family on Prince of Wales (Muralag) Island, Neru, a descendant of the Kulkulgal and Maluyilgal clan groups of the near western islands in the Torres Strait, agreed with her parents that going to boarding school would provide her with vast opportunities for academic and personal growth.

“I knew that attending boarding school would be the best decision to extend my knowledge and overall global awareness beyond what was possible living in a remote area.”

The oldest of four children, Neru began boarding on an AIEF Scholarship when she was 13 years old. “I was not nervous at all; in fact, I was rather excited to begin to take control of my life and feel an increase in independence.”

During her years at St Monica’s College, Neru excelled in Legal Studies and Study of Religion, enjoying the challenges these subjects presented. “The research that went into each subject allowed me to view world issues through different perspectives, which I found beneficial in developing my own views. I came to understand and enjoy the work that went into achieving the marks and academic goals that I had set for myself.”

Neru was proud to complete Year 12 in 2019. “I never thought that I would make it as far as I have and I am grateful to all the amazing people who have supported me along the way. To graduate felt like an amazing accomplishment and proved to me that I am capable of achieving anything I set my mind to.”

Neru believes boarding school taught her many important lessons. “It taught me the benefits of communication and how to respect everyone and their own values and beliefs. I have created many lifelong friendships and memories.”

“Boarding school allowed me to grow as a person. It really pushed me to be open to new experiences.”

Neru values the support she received from AIEF, especially in terms of goal setting. “Without AIEF I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today.”

“The AIEF team are so interactive with their students and invested in their journeys. They have helped me develop a pathway I hope to continue on after high school. I am now studying a Bachelor of Business Management and am interested in developing my knowledge and skills in marketing and advertising.”

Additionally, Neru credits her parents as a constant source of inspiration throughout her education journey.

“My mother and father are my mentors, disciplinarians and companions. The importance of gaining a tertiary education has really been embedded by my parents, and having watched my father develop and run his own business has influenced my own interests and goals in life.”

Neru’s advice for young Indigenous people is to always keep an open mind and continue to learn and grow.

“Never stop searching for opportunities to network and gain insights into areas you are interested in. Know that there are always people that want you to succeed and will support you in every step of your journey.”

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Our Pathways Advisor helped us understand what we needed to achieve while we were at school to do what we wanted to do after school, whether that was university or a job or a professional sporting career

AIEF Year 12 Graduate
Class of 2016


The AIEF Scholarship Program and the AIEF Pathways Program are supported by the Australian Government in collaboration with individual, philanthropic and corporate supporters from the private sector.