For many Solomon Islanders, leaving their homeland and moving to Melbourne, a big, bustling city with a population of nearly 4 million people, would be enough to make even the most adventurous traveller a little anxious.Try it when you are sight impaired and you would be forgiven if it just sounded too hard!
But not if you are George Rauna, and especially not if you've just been awarded a prestigious scholarship to study in Melbourne through an AusAID funded Australian Development Scholarship.
Overcoming the city's unfamiliar sounds and size will be part of the challenge for George to complete a bachelor of business in global logistics and transportation at Victoria University.
Thirty one year old George lost sight in his right eye after an accident when he was around five years old and has limited vision in his left eye.
"I am just so happy to receive the scholarship. I've always tried my best and it's been very hard. There is not much help for students with special needs here in Solomon Islands," said George.
George credits his mother, brothers and sisters for helping him assert his independence which has lead to his success so far.
"It was hard to have sight and then lose it but my family always encouraged me and helped me. Mum wanted me to do normal things, so she got me to help around the house and tried to get me involved in social activities, attend school and church."
George left Solomon Islands on Sunday for Melbourne, a place he'll call home for the next three years, with only an annual trip home. He says the hardest thing will be being away from home and family.
"I think there will be times when I will be really homesick for Honiara and I know I will miss all my family and friends - but I know they are my reason to keep going."
"My first strategy is to work hard with my study and my second strategy is to succeed so I can graduate. I want to prove myself, finish my studies, get a good job and be like everyone else."
"I'm so happy that AusAID has given me this opportunity and recognised my courage. I hope other young Solomon Islanders will read my story and be motivated to apply for an Australian scholarship - it's the chance of a lifetime."
Source: Press Release, Australian High Commision, Solomon Islands