For a migrant family who came to Australia from the other side of the world to successfully make a new life, their oldest son’s graduation from Flinders has been a crowning achievement.
Adam Zrieka, who has just graduated from Flinders with a degree in business, says one of his mother’s greatest wishes has always been that one of her children would go to university.
Born in Australia to parents who had emigrated from Lebanon, Adam attended an Islamic school until his mid-teens, completing his secondary education at Eynesbury College.
“My parents wanted me to have a degree because they didn’t have the opportunity in Lebanon. The mindset was there and that was always the goal – you go to university, and you take it from there,” Adam said.
But not everything went to plan, Adam says. Lacking academic focus in his final year at school, his results weren’t good, and it seemed as if his mother’s fondest ambition might not be realised.
Adam says coming to Flinders to undertake the Foundation course changed everything: “Once I got here and I realised what Flinders was really all about, I realised this was what I had to do.”
After successfully completing the Foundation program, Adam enrolled in a Bachelor of Business, majoring in marketing and human resources. During his degree, he says, he received all the encouragement and support he could want.
“Everyone is smiling and friendly – they want you to learn. There is support everywhere, from the library to the FLO (online learning) Centre to the Transition Office,’ Adam said.
As well enjoying the University’s setting and open spaces, Adam said he made the most of opportunities to socialise and met a range of new friends
“It’s a great community,” he said.
Associate Professor Salah Kutieleh, Director of the Transition Office at Flinders, said Adam’s story illustrated the value of alternative options for university entry.
“A poor result in Year 12 is not the end of the road – there is another pathway,” he said.
“For a migrant family, this achievement is enormously important. With the financial and emotional support from his family and community, Adam’s level of motivation was sky high.”
After graduation, Adam’s family threw a surprise party for him, attended by around 100 friends and family.
“My mother was so proud – I don’t think I’ve ever seen her so happy.”
To read more details about the Foundation Studies Program, please go here.