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Ashani Ratnayake: Embracing opportunities and achieving success

Posted: 19 March 2021

Sri Lanka, Alumni, Experience, Impact,

Ashani Ratnayake certainly made the most of her time as an Australia Awards scholar. While in Australia, she immersed herself in academic pursuits, was active in her community, cultivated new friendships, and experienced the landscapes and culture of Australia. Ashani’s experience built her confidence and enhanced her career.

Ashani, who recently returned to Sri Lanka after completing her degree, received a number of accolades during her time studying a Master of Management at the University of Melbourne with the support of an Australia Awards Scholarship. Most notably, she was awarded the Deputy Dean’s Award for academic achievement and community leadership by the Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Melbourne. She also received the Melbourne Global Scholars Award under the Melbourne Mobility Awards in 2019.

In addition to her academic achievements, Ashani received the university’s Leaders in Communities Award in 2020. This award is conferred on students who demonstrate outstanding commitment to the community through volunteering, as well as undertaking professional development activities and demonstrating strong participation at university.

While studying, Ashani held a leadership position on the executive committee of the University of Melbourne’s Women in Commerce and Politics Club. She was also one of the few students to land a competitive ‘Students-at-Work’ job, working in a professional role as a Student Peer Leader in the university’s Careers and Employability Team.

Ashani sees her Australia Awards experience as an immensely beneficial opportunity. Through her time in Australia, she was able to grow professionally and personally and expand her horizons by taking part in activities ranging from academic pursuits to volunteering.

“My time in Melbourne as an Australia Awards scholar was immensely enriching, from both academic and personal standpoints,” says Ashani. “Not only did I gain very much from university, but I was welcomed and embraced by my peers, work colleagues and friends, which gave me the confidence to be myself and, most importantly, contribute back to the community.”

Ashani Ratnayake celebrating her graduation from University of Melbourne

After completing her studies, Ashani is now back in Sri Lanka and working as a Communications Associate at the United Nations World Food Programme, Sri Lanka. Reflecting on her Australia Awards journey “and all the pathways it has opened up”, she is unequivocal about the benefits. “I was surrounded by opportunities to learn new skills, win awards, volunteer, and also to experience Australia through travel and friendships,” she says.

For those contemplating applying for an Australia Awards Scholarship, Ashani has some final words of advice: “I cannot encourage you enough to apply for this Scholarship and experience all this for yourself.”

Do you want to be a leader in your field and make a difference in Sri Lanka? Applications for Australia Awards Scholarships are now open. Find out more.