Published on 29 February 2016
A love of horses and the appeal of the Australian outback have motived Emma Hymas from Essex, England, to become the first international student to enrol at the University of the Sunshine Coast’s campus at Gympie.
Emma, 38, has signed up to study a Bachelor of Human Services and plans to one day work in remote Indigenous communities.
“The program focuses on how to give others the tools to create a positive change in their lives and should prepare me for work in social justice and community welfare,” Emma said.
The psychology and biochemistry honours graduate has travelled the world working as a teacher and project support worker.
She said the USC degree would allow her to transfer her skills gained in England and places such as Nicaragua and Guatemala to help her work with Indigenous people.
“I fell in love with Australia back in 2000 when I first came here on a working visa and I alternated my employment between support work in Sydney and Cairns, and working with horses on Magnetic Island and at Samford,” Emma said.
“My parents came to visit and also fell in love with Australia. My father was near retirement and, within a short period of time, he and my mother had made Australia their home and now live at Pomona.”
It was on her annual visit to her parents this February that Emma discovered she could enrol in a Bachelor of Human Services at USC Gympie.
The horse lover and keen endurance rider said she was pleased that the program at USC Gympie provided the opportunity to study and base herself in the region to be close to her family and her two horses.
“At my induction last week I was impressed by the friendly staff and family feel of the Gympie campus.
"I met Dr Jane Thompson who led the introduction to Social Sciences and, as the class was so small, she was able to spend time with me to discuss my future hopes and aspirations.”
Executive Dean Professor Joanne Scott said it was exciting for USC Gympie to welcome its first international student.
“We hope that more international students will take advantage of the smaller, relaxed campus environment offered at Gympie and USC Fraser Coast in following semesters,” Professor Scott said.
— Clare Mckay