I like having something to look forward to. Whether an assessment, decision on an application, competitions… I was looking forward to the Governor’s awards since last year. I was hopeful but certainly not sure about my qualification for an award. I did have a GPA of 6.7 but I had looked through the previous years’ winners and they were all high achievers, some with straight HDs and a GPA of 7. I am now so glad I had went on with my application; it only took a few minutes to fill out!
We had the perfect weather on the day of the awards. It was sunny but not too hot. I was excited to go to the Governor’s house. I have never been there. No wonder about that as it is only open to the public twice a year. The house was conveniently located at the heart of the city, only a few minutes’ walk from the train station. The garden was spacious, colourful and lively, with cloth-covered tables and smartly-dressed people, straight out of a fairy tale.
My husband and my daughter came with me. My daughter was excited to see the mansion, and happy dancing around the garden and pretending to be a princess! I had also invited the program director for my study program (Masters of Telecommunication Engineering), Dr. Arek Dadej, and he kindly accepted the invitation.
The ceremony was held in a big tent that was set in the garden for this purpose. It was buzzing with lots of students chatting and drinking. Drinks and snacks were being served as part of the event. As a finalist, I was advised to position myself closer to the front at the beginning of the ceremony, so I can proceed and receive my award in case my name is called, and so I did.
The ceremony started with a welcome from the MC of the ceremony, Education Adelaide Chief Executive, Karyn Kent. His Excellency, the governor of South Australia, his wife, and the chair of Education Adelaide, Mr Bill Spurr, then came in and the national anthem was played in the background.
This was followed by an interesting speech by his Excellency, where he explained the difficulties he had experienced studying as an international student in Adelaide when he first came here. I was impressed to learn he came in a boat as a refugee! He is truly inspirational and unique.
Of course during all this, the finalists were excited waiting for the award presentation. Mrs. Karyn Kent introduced the winners by category, name, country of origin, and a short description of their achievements. There was in general one winner, and one highly commended awardee for each category.
When I heard my name, I could not feel anything but relief and happiness. My family back home (and wherever else they have had to take refuge following the recent events in Mosul) were really looking forward to good news. It was enough for me to hear my name (which included the names of my father and my grandfather as in my passport) and country of origin, Iraq, to have my brain wander in another world. Next thing I remember was that I was on stage (thankfully), with the award, taking photos with the Governor of South Australia and Mr Bill Spurr! There was loud applause apparently, because Mr Bill Spurr and Mrs. Karyn Kent both commented I was a popular winner. I really couldn’t be happier.