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2019 Westpac Scholars – Gabriela Rodriguez

Gabriela Rodriguez is currently studying a Bachelor of Health and Medical Sciences (Advanced). In Semester 2, 2019, she will be heading to The National University of Singapore for one semester. Gabriela’s program is funded by the Westpac Scholarship, which includes funding her living expenses and participation a Future Leaders program.

Having previously travelled to much of Central America due to her parents being Peruvian, Gabriela has already visited Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Colombia. She is looking forward to experiencing different cultures when she studies in Singapore.

“When you go on exchange to another country, you challenge yourself because you have to get to know your new country, how things work there, and get out of your comfort zone. I wanted to have that challenge, and have the opportunity to connect with people from different cultures. I want to learn something from these people, have new friends, and experience new things with them. Singapore is so perfect for my career, Singaporeans have very high standards for public health and it’s very exciting for me to get the opportunity to go there. I’m going to challenge myself and learn lessons that will last for the rest of my life.”

Gabriela is planning to major in medical science, mental health, or public health. While in Singapore, she hopes to take biology, chemistry, and language. She is exploring the possibility of taking up either Mandarin or French in addition to her science subjects. Gabriela also plays badminton, and hopes to continue playing with her new friends in Singapore.

On the process of applying for the Westpac Scholarship, Gabriela said:
“It was just one Skype call that you had to make, so I felt a bit nervous. When I finished I felt like I wasn’t going to make it, and after one of the questions I felt confused at the end by my own words. When I knew I had it, at first I didn’t want to believe it. I got a call and they told me, but I was waiting for the email to tell my parents and my friends. I wasn’t going to believe it until I had that email. When I got it, it was so amazing and I was very excited. I couldn’t be happier.”

When asked what part of her exchange most excites her:
“Food! [laughs] But that’s an interesting question. There’s a lot of things that really excite me about Singapore. The National University of Singapore is a really good university, one of the best in the world. I’m a bit nervous but I’m excited to see how things work there and how students study. I’m looking forward to learning their techniques and applying that to my own studies. About the culture in Singapore, I’m excited about getting to know Asia and immersing in their culture. I find Asia very interesting. They have a way of seeing things that may seem unconventional for us in Western societies. They have different solutions and try different approaches to solve problems. I want to see how they do it, I’m very curious about it and find it very fascinating. Singapore is a great gateway to Asia.”

“I think the Westpac Scholarship is a great opportunity for me because of two reasons. One is the leadership program, which I think is absolutely amazing. When you get to a place and you know how to inspire people through leadership skills, I think you automatically gain some trust from your peers. The other reason is that I’m finding the scholarship very inspiring. They [Westpac] consider every person an individual and listen to your ideas. They even asked me about my hobbies and interests, and that triggered my interests even further and inspired me. They are going to empower me and show me how to be a leader.”

In ten years, Gabriela hopes to be working in the healthcare industry, as a doctor or public health researcher/advisor.
“I want to stay in this field, it’s something I truly love and feel passionate about.”

We congratulate Gabriela once again on receiving the Westpac Scholarship and look forward to following her on her exchange journey. You can also follow Gabriela by liking our Facebook page and following us on Instagram for further updates.

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