Gertrudes Maria de Fatima Frans Alves was the first student to receive a Friendship Scholarship and the first recipient to complete her studies.
The Northern Territory Government/Timor Leste Friendship Scholarships were established to assist Timor Leste students who demonstrate the commitment to undertake their studies at Charles Darwin University, and who will contribute to the development of Timor Leste.
Gertrudes, who undertook studies in English, has since completed a Certificate IV in Business and is due to graduate in October this year.
‘The Friendship Scholarship was a big opportunity for me,” she said. ‘In East Timor there is not a lot of chance to study at university. I applied for the scholarship because I am committed to the future development of Timor Leste.’
Gertrudes now returns to Dili to resume her job with the Timor Sea Designated Authority and work with local government as well.
‘This course has helped me a lot and I can’t wait to implement what I’ve learnt. I have developed my skills in communication, and developed the skills required to work professionally.'
The conditions of the award includes the commitment to return to East Timor after completing studies, and the criteria for selection considers those students who might not be able to study without financial support.
‘I really want to thank all of my friends here in the NT and from overseas. We’ve had a lot of fun. The lecturers at CDU were always there for us, giving us the support and help we needed to succeed in our studies.’