Many children dream of future careers based on what they see on TV – cop shows and medical dramas no doubt spawning generations of police officers and doctors.
For Sri Lankan Bachelor of Environment graduate Arundathi Walgama, her passion for the environment all started watching ‘nerdy’ documentaries.
“It all started with the National Geographic channel!” she laughs. “I drank it all in and started making plans to do my bit to save the world.”
After graduating with British high school qualifications, Arundathi found limited environment degrees in Sri Lanka. So she started her search for an overseas university.
“I found Macquarie a mere two weeks before the next semester’s application deadline,” she recalls. “It not only had the generous scholarships for international students, but the degree that I wanted to study, one of the best science faculties that Australia had to offer, and the most beautiful campus.”
“In fact, once I saw pictures of the campus lake and open grounds, I pretty much fell hook line and sinker!” she laughs.
During her time at Macquarie, Arundathi learned everything from drawing GIS maps from scratch to dissecting a possum. But she says the most important thing she learned was the ability to ‘think for herself’ – a big change from the rote learning common in Sri Lanka.
“In Sri Lanka there is only one right answer and that is your teacher’s,” she notes. “I love the fact that in Australia we are all on the same playing field – all voices count and there is no black and white, only multicolour. It makes learning fun rather than a chore.”
Having graduated with a Vice Chancellor’s Commendation for Academic Excellence and armed with skills she could not have learned from a textbook, Arundathi says she feels prepared for a successful career.
Now completing a postgraduate urban planning degree in Melbourne, Arundathi admits she is missing Macquarie.
“If I had my way I would be doing my masters at Macquarie,” she says. “It’s such a beautiful campus with so much to offer, and it still feels like home to me!”
The three-year Bachelor of Environment is ideal for students interested in a career in environmental science, sustainability or environmental management. It can also be completed as a five-year double degree with the Bachelor of Laws.