“Today, I can say that I am not the same Saadia that left Pakistan to study this program,” says Saadia Adnan, a Flinders International Masters alumna. “I have become a completely new self – a better one.”
Saadia studied a Master of Education (Leadership & Management), graduating from Flinders in 2016. An Australian Award recipient, during her studies, she was awarded the Chancellor’s Letter of Commendation for 2014 and 2015, as well as receiving High Distinctions throughout her degree. Now working in a role as Director Academics, Federal Directorate of Education, Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training, Islamabad, Pakistan – she credits her time studying in Australia with Flinders as one of the most formative experiences of her life.
Transformative education experiences
“I was deeply satisfied with my choice to study at Flinders,” Saadia says. “From the outset, I could see the promise of a wide range of possibilities to be explored.” The highly responsive academic staff and engaging learning activities helped to develop Saadia into an educational leader in her home country.
“I have learned the art of seeking possibilities amidst the rigid bureaucratic system here,” she says. “Today, I am equipped to lead transformative change.”
Be that bringing forth significant changes in the academic environment for students or creating innovative teacher training programs; Saadia aims to ignite the process of transformation in the education system in Pakistan.
“After completing my studies at Flinders University and returning to Pakistan I was immediately given a leadership opportunity and have continued to be offered senior positions of leadership within the Education Ministry since then,” she says. “This brings a deep sense of achievement; on a personal and professional level.”
Loving the Adelaide lifestyle
Having lived in Islamabad all her life, Saadia arrived in Adelaide and felt immediately at home. “There were a lot of similarities in the landscape,” she says of her adopted city.
“Adelaide is a great location. There are beautiful beaches, it is peaceful and the people are friendly and welcoming.” Saadia also made many friends during her time living in South Australia.
“I had a wonderful social life in Adelaide, both at the university and in my personal life. I am still in contact with my friends that I made there, and we communicate quite often.”
A beautiful campus experience
The beautiful grounds and natural surrounds of the Flinders Bedford Park campus are a fond memory for Saadia.
“It is a wonderful place to study,” she says. “With beautiful Australian nature, the lake, occasional Koala visits, and of course the famous Flinders ducks.” As for the facilities, there is one place that holds a special place in her heart.
“The Central Library – I spent countless hours in that enriching spot!” Saadia laughs. “When I was working late, I could bring my children to the campus and they would play while I studied.”
Current projects and innovation
The COVID-19 situation has hit Pakistan hard, like many other countries across the globe, with lockdowns and restrictions in place. As part of her role, Saadia has been working on a project that aimed to nationally televise the school curriculum, so that children in Pakistan still have access to education during the pandemic.
“For this, we had a small but dedicated team and a very ambitious project to achieve – that had never been done in Pakistan before,” says Saadia. The project was successfully implemented, with incredible feedback, and is now transitioning online.
“This TeleSchool project promises a phenomenal change – it reflects the possibility in every situation and an alternative way forward of innovation.” This belief in change was instilled during her studies at Flinders, and is one that she has carried into her career.
Why choose to study at Flinders?
“I cherish my days at Flinders University,” Saadia says. “The lecturers and academic team were amazing and did not just teach me, but shaped me into the person I am today.”
Flinders opened her eyes, Saadia says,“…to see the same old bureaucratic system in Pakistan with a new light.” Her lecturers “…imbued a sense of humanity that connects us all, and gave me my dream to strive for a better and more humane future of education.” Saadia had remained in touch with some of her lecturers, years later, and is “… so grateful for the time they gave me – and are still giving.”
For Saadia, an important component of her experience studying at Flinders has been the networks she built over her time as a student.
“I have a huge network of eminent people from education systems all over the world – and I am still in contact with many of them today.” They might be spread across many continents and cultures, but this acts to strengthen the bonds, according to Saadia.
“After all, in the end, we all connect in some way. No matter our differences – we all have a similar experience of being human.”
Advice for prospective students
Saadia’s advice to prospective international students considering studying with Flinders, ether online or on-campus when the borders open?
“Regardless of who you are and where you are from you – will feel welcome and at home studying at Flinders University,” she says, “they will focus on developing you as a person and as a leader – from something raw, into someone exceptional.”
Hear from a fellow Flinders Master of Education alumna, Nisha Singh, here.
“At Flinders, you can achieve academic success that you will cherish – but you will also experience something extraordinary that will transform your life.”
If you’d like to discover how a degree from Flinders University can transform your life – get in touch with one of our friendly team, today. It’s time to go beyond the ordinary, and un-pause your future with Flinders. What are you waiting for?