Muna Tanko Abass
Why did you choose to study at the University of Adelaide?
After learning that I had succeeded in winning an AusAID award, I initially wanted to study Public Health. I then realised it could be more beneficial to me to study a more specialised course, that was still related to Public Health. The University of Adelaide has one of the best schools in the world for Health Economics so it was an obvious choice for me.
What do you do in Ghana?
I am a doctor, specialising in paediatrics. Before coming to Adelaide, I was working in a regional hospital in Ghana for the Department of Child Health. Winning an AusAID scholarship was a dream come true!
What have you liked most about the University?
When I first arrived, I couldn’t believe how fantastic the facilities were. The computers, the size of the library – it took me weeks to just get used to that.
I have also found that staff at the university really understand international students. The extent to which lecturers invest in your life is just wonderful.
“Staff at the university understand international students. The extent to which lecturers invest in your life is just wonderful.”
Have you used any of the support services available to international students?
Yes, I knew that studying Economics would be a challenge for me because my background is in Medicine. The Maths Learning Centre helped me polish my maths skills which I hadn’t used for 14 years! I’m not sure I could have done it without their support.
How is university here different to university in Ghana?
It is different in so many ways but the one that really stands out, is the fact that students call their lecturers by their first name. To begin with, I couldn’t believe it. Now, I realise it’s a good thing because it reduces the distance between lecturers and students. As a student, you feel more comfortable asking lecturers ‘silly’ questions because of the informality of your relationship with them.
Is there any one lecturer that stood out to you?
Yes, Professor John Cannon whom I sent plenty of emails to! Sometimes I would get responses from him at 5.30am. He gave a huge amount of time energy to his students.
What do you think of university life here?
I often feel so fortunate to be a part of the university. I love the campus atmosphere,
it makes you want to study. You see everybody busy and it motivates you and pushes you to study more.
What about Adelaide?
I love Adelaide. If I ever have the chance to come back to Australia, I would definitely return to Adelaide.
What do you do in your free time?
I have made wonderful friends from all over the world; Indonesia, China, Kenya, Zambia and Australia too. I cook for these friends in my home, we have occasionally gone to the cinema and we have visited some of the tourist attractions in South Australia together.
What will you do on your return to Ghana?
Firstly, I will spend some quality time with my two sons whom I left behind. It has been a huge sacrifice not seeing them every day and I can’t wait to be a family unit again. As far as work is concerned, I hope to work in the public sector, improving health systems and management with the new found knowledge I have gained.
Would you encourage others to do AusAID?
Absolutely! I will always be grateful to AusAID for this opportunity of a lifetime. I will miss Adelaide and the uni because it has become my second home and I hold it dearly to my heart.