A life-changing experience

Abigail Yvette Agbeteti (MAppAnthParDev '19)
05 Dec 2022

The whole community was behind me while I was studying at ANU. They looked after me while I was pregnant and welcomed my whole family.

I came over from Ghana to study at the Australian National University (ANU) when I was five months pregnant. I came by myself at first, my husband Anku and our two boys joined me a couple of months later. The connections I made with my students and colleagues at ANU really helped me navigate through a lot of issues on campus. They looked after me and even cooked for me when I was pregnant. They also supported me by introducing me to other Ghanaians in Canberra and connecting me with my church. It's also very multicultural on campus, and I met so many people I wouldn't otherwise have met.
I have always dreamed of getting a world class education. When I got the opportunity to study at ANU, I mustered all my courage and decided to go on this journey. Anku said that he and the family would give me all the support I needed to succeed. We all had a great time in Australia. One of our favourite memories is the Floriade Festival, which celebrates spring time. We went to that many times, both as a family and with our colleagues and friends. The kids loved it and were also very excited when we saw kangaroos and possums near our home. Canberra is a great place for families and kids.
Another great memory I have is of my lecturer, Dr Iwu Dwisetyani Utomo. She would have our family and my colleagues over at her house regularly for lunches and dinners. Once she had a party and cooked traditional Indonesian food for us. We brought Ghanaian food and our other colleagues also brought dishes from their cultures. I also still keep in touch with my professors at ANU, such as Professor Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt. Because I specialise in gender and development, I keep in touch with other ANU alumni who are interested in women's empowerment to discuss the work we're doing today.
My studies at ANU were life-transforming and have made a great impact in my work. ANU transformed my way of thinking and helped me develop critical thinking skills. The University also helped me develop a broader perspective on issues globally. My colleagues and I use these skills now to address some of the challenges we face back home and at my work. I'm always engaging and implementing the things I learned back at ANU in any way I can. Every time I get the opportunity to make a difference, I try to do so, and that was greatly inspired by my time at ANU. Even Anku has seen me transform and excel at my work since I graduated.
We recently had an event for ANU alumni in Ghana celebrating the 75th anniversary of ANU. I was amazed to discover just how many ANU alumni we have in Ghana. It was a great event, where we all shared our experiences. Everyone felt mutually that ANU was a great opportunity for us. I have become a great advocate of ANU, trying to get students from Africa to go over to Australia. I want to share the story of my time there hoping it will encourage others to seek out the same transformative experience that I had. ANU is a great place to study because every person and every idea is welcome.
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