Student awarded scholarship to Whales
A white winter has always appealed to Hoedspruit’s Saskia Cilliers. This year, off the back of winning a full scholarship from the Pearson Institute of Higher Education and Cardiff Metropolitan University (CMU), it will become a reality for the ambitious 22 year old. Cilliers will leave her sub-tropical provincial town to complete her postgraduate degree at the Cardiff Metropolitan University in Wales, United Kingdom.
While completing her BComm degree through Pearson Institute, Cilliers set her sights on the scholarship. “Not only was the fully-paid tuition motivating, but with living expenses covered by Pearson Institute and CMU, this made it that much more attractive. I have always dreamed of a globally recognised degree and pursuing international work experience, and this is certainly a huge stepping stone towards achieving this,” says Cilliers.
Having grown up in the small town, at the foot of the Drakensberg Mountains, Cilliers was taught how to read and write at age of three, by her older sister, “When I reached primary school I could already read and write. I guess I had to keep learning otherwise I would have been bored.” Her thirst for knowledge and pursuit of academic excellence continued throughout her school career where she was encouraged by her parents to enter a number of Olympiads. This academic background has stood Cilliers in good stead, and her tertiary studies have reflected her passion for learning inside and outside of the classroom.
“With Cardiff being a hub for international students, my goal is to gain exposure to as many different views of the world as possible, and then to bring new ideas back to South Africa, so that I can increase my value-add for any company I may join in the future,” she says.
Cilliers also has plans to make the most of this opportunity. “I want to explore true Welsh living, and I look forward to visiting the St Fagans Museum - an open-air Museum that chronicles the historical lifestyle, culture, and architecture of the Welsh people; as well as the Cardiff Castle and the quaint Welsh countryside,” she says.
To qualify for the scholarship to Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cilliers obtained an average of 65% for all of her modules, in all three years of her studies. She also had to present a motivation letter explaining why she wanted to study abroad; and what skills and knowledge she wanted to gain during the postgraduate studies; and how she saw that being applied in the workplace when returning to South Africa. Her final hurdle was a grueling panel interview.
Jansen Van Vuuren, Commercial Director, Pearson Institute says, “Congratulations to Saskia, she worked really hard for the scholarship. Not only were her academic results more than impressive but her intellectual curiosity made her stand out of the crowd. We look forward to her doing us proud.”
Previous years’ recipients of the scholarship were Jonathan Sprague and Kapil Doorkapersadh, from Durban and Pretoria respectively.