Katya Murphy can’t stop smiling as she boards a plane today to take off for the experience of a lifetime.
The Australian National University student is the inaugural winner of the Bernard Wheelahan Latin American Travel Grant, which will fund her semester studying in Chile.
Katya, who is undertaking a Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics, applied for the scholarship offered by the Australian National Centre for Latin American Studies (ANCLAS) as she wants to work in the region’s development sector.
The third year student, who is also ANU Global Programs’ ambassador for South America, said she was “super excited” by the grant, which will enable her to attend the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile in Santiago.
“Going on exchange is something I’ve always wanted to do since I started uni,” Katya said.
“I’ve been doing Spanish since high school and I love the cultural and language side of things.
“In Chile I’ll be doing a good combination of subjects related to my degree, plus there’s the culture and great things to see.
“I’ll be doing politics courses like corruption in Latin America, political processes in Latin America, and one about restructuring borders which is an international relations-type course.”
Katya’s former Spanish teacher, Dr Elisabeth Mayer from the ANUSchool of Literature, Languages and Linguistics, said she was pleased by her student’s success, and others who’ve won scholarships.
“We love that they’re motivated to go out and work in Latin America and Spain,” Dr Mayer said.
“That’s what we want.”
ANCLAS Director, John Minns, said business-backed initiatives such as the Bernard Wheelahan travel grant are vital for fostering people-to-people ties between Australia and Latin America.
“People like Katya will create greater understanding and inter-relationships between these two regions,” Dr Minns said.
“ANCLAS is very grateful to have Pacific Hydro’s support to allow at least one student to study in Latin America in perpetuity, and is particularly pleased that our board member, Bernard Wheelahan, has lent his name to the scholarship.
“We’re sure that Katya will have not only a productive time, but also one of the most interesting times of her life as well.”
Katya leaves for Chile on 5 February. After she graduates, she desires to work in a not-for-profit organisation or perhaps the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
“Going on exchange gives me the chance to network and build my contacts and get fluent in Spanish. I also hope to do an internship while I’m over there.”
Follow Katya’s adventures via the ANU Global Programs Facebook.