‘I’m very proud to see so many young people seizing the opportunity to further their education, for the future success of these Islands rests on your shoulders. Your country needs you,’ Education Minister and Chairman of the Education Council, Alden McLaughlin, told university students who are preparing to leave the Island.
His remarks were made last week during an orientation session for 79 new scholarship students who are heading overseas for the first time to further their studies, thanks to funding from the Education Council.
While most are embarking upon bachelor’s programmes, there are also eight master’s degree students; seven students pursuing technical/vocational studies; and – for the first time – a doctoral student: Christopher Williams, who is pursuing a PhD in Caribbean history, said a GIS press release.
‘The Council is delighted to support students of such high calibre. They represent the potential of our islands’ young people at an international level,’ Mr. McLaughlin said.
‘Government is funding some $3.5 million in education scholarships this year for students from both Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac. The Council is proud to support able and motivated students, some of which I hope to see become teachers at UCCI to help other Caymanians do the same.’
Mr. McLaughlin also spoke of students who have not been successful in meeting the standards set by the Education Council to qualify for funding. ‘Although funding is not an automatic entitlement, the Education Council will support you in your efforts to overcome obstacles to qualification. You are, however, expected to do your utmost.’
Students attending the orientation will study areas including dance; education; accounting; medicine; information technology; economics; business; engineering; and family counselling. While a few are attending regional institutions, most are enrolled at schools in North America, Canada and the United Kingdom.
During the seminar, several current overseas students shared their experiences and tips.
‘Dedication is all you need,’ said Chantal Byrd, who has completed three years at the University of Western Ontario. She encouraged the freshmen to get along well with roommates, travel in groups, and find a way to release stress – kickboxing was her choice.
‘Focus from day one; don’t procrastinate; get involved in at least one extra-curricular activity, and attend the campus church,’ said Dominic Caudeiron, a University of the West Indies (UWI-Mona, Jamaica) medical student.
He advised the new students to make a friend with someone who is a year ahead of them in studies, and to get tips, advice and past papers from them.
Mr. Caudeiron also spoke of the high level of competition, saying, ‘There are over 100 students in my class, and each wants to be number one.’
The event concluded with the participants enjoying refreshments, socialising and networking.