Solomon Islands is vulnerable to impacts of climate change but if Kristina Fidali has her way, these challenges will be tackled head on.Kristina, one of four Solomon Islanders awarded an Australian Leadership Awards scholarship this year, is studying a two-year Masters of Climate Change at the Australian National University (ANU).
Before accepting the ALA scholarship, Kristina was the Youth Environment Program Coordinator at the United Nations Development Program in Honiara.
"My study is half course work, half research so there is a good mix of theory and practical. I chose the ANU course based on its reputation and the emphasis of both policy and governance within climate change, which is my real interest," Kristina said.
"I hope I can use my study and research to inform discussions back home in Solomon Islands and be able to offer practical solutions and leadership to tackle the impacts of climate change."
Kristina's first impressions of Canberra and the Australian National University (ANU) have been very positive.
"I found Canberra to be an easy place to live because it's so organised. It's been good to arrive in summer so you have a chance to get used to the colder weather changes in temperature as winter approaches, " said Kristina.
"I arrived in Canberra in mid January to undertake the six week introductory academic program which helps prepare all the international students to life at ANU and what to expect academically."
"There are 33 students from 20 countries so we've had a chance to get know our fellow students and to meet some of our lecturers.
Kristina, who has left her husband, Leon Hickie and eight year old daughter Lalyne in Honiara while she settles into ANU, hopes they will join her in Canberra later on in the year.
"You make many sacrifices to pursue your study like being away from home without family and friends around, so you have to work hard and do well to make these choices worth it."
The scholarship is giving me an opportunity of a life time but it's not just about me and my family, it's about what I can do when I return to Solomon Islands to help my country."
Source: Press Release, AusAID Communications Unit, Solomon Islands