PNG family make education a priority on the Gold Coast
For the Ledimos, education on the Gold Coast is a family affair.
All four siblings left behind their home in Papua New Guinea to study in the South-East Queensland city.
Regi Ledimo, 26, recently graduated from a Bachelor of Civil Engineering at Griffith University; sister Maygh, 22, is currently studying a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechatronics) at Griffith University; and younger brothers Stephen, 17, and Freddie, 14, are completing high school at Southport State High Independent Public School.
Regi was first to make the move to the Gold Coast in 2011, enrolling at Griffith College before progressing to Griffith University.
“I just wanted the experience of studying somewhere that has so many opportunities,” he said. “Education back home isn’t as high a standard and it was my parents’ idea to choose South-East Queensland.”
Regi has never regretted the move and his siblings were quick to follow suit.
Stephen, who is currently completing Year 12, said his family believed the Gold Coast offered multiple opportunities for university and for other pathways.
“In PNG, there aren’t many options if you don’t go on to university,” he said. “I really want to gain an apprenticeship when I finish school, hopefully in plumbing.”
Freddie has aspirations to follow his older siblings’ example and also study engineering.
He said he loved school and didn’t have any trouble settling into a new environment, particularly with his whole family around to support him.
“It was a little overwhelming at first, with the Gold Coast being such a big city when we come from such a small country town. But it doesn’t feel crowded here,” he said.
“The school has been great and I really like it here.”
Sister Maygh is currently completing work experience with a company back in PNG as part of her Griffith University degree.
There are currently 25,000 international students studying on the Gold Coast, with the industry growing not only within higher education, but also high schools and vocational colleges.