Sonali Manawadu has a dream. An ACU degree will help her achieve it.

Originally from Sri Lanka, Sonali came to ACU to pursue her dream of opening a music academy. Now studying a Master of Education, she’s building advanced education knowledge and leadership skills that will help her achieve her goals. 

You’re studying a Master of Education. What inspired you to enrol in postgraduate study?

I’m an only child, and I always loved academia. My family has always supported my education and has encouraged me to aim for the stars. So, I did my Bachelor of Performing Arts in Sri Lanka and worked as a music teacher. Now, I’m hoping to run my own music academy, but I need additional expertise to help me achieve my goal.

Why did you choose Australia and ACU as the destination for your postgraduate degree?

I felt Australia had the better resources for the program I wanted to study and that I would gain cultural exposure by studying outside Sri Lanka — a major part of my career as a music teacher requires me to have knowledge of an international standard. Also, the curriculum in Australia requires students to balance theory and practice with a real emphasis on ethics, especially at ACU. Being able to engage with theoretical teaching and implement that knowledge in everyday situations is really important to me.  

What are some of the most valuable skills you’ve gained during your time at ACU?

When I studied in Sri Lanka, the lecturers and teachers gave so much knowledge to the students — they were spoonfeeding us rather than asking us to find the knowledge for ourselves. At ACU, there’s much more expectation on us. We have to research so many details to do an assignment. It’s a little bit complicated but we get lots of support, including academic skills development and other student support services that I appreciate so much.

You also received an ACU International Student Scholarship, which covers 50% of your tuition fees. How has this scholarship helped you succeed?

Being awarded the scholarship means a great deal to me. It’s not only recognition of my hard work but also an affirmation of my potential and aspirations. It has boosted my confidence and motivated me to strive for excellence in my academic endeavours. It was also a way to repay my parents for their kindness — my dad is the one who has supported me financially throughout my education, so to have this scholarship means I’ve given something back to them. They’re so happy. 

Now that you’re actually studying at ACU, have your goals changed?

As I settle into life in Australia and at ACU, my goals are multifaceted. Academically, I aim to excel in my studies and deepen my knowledge in my chosen field, so I aspire to actively engage in extracurricular activities such as clubs and societies to broaden my horizons and develop leadership skills. Culturally, I hope to immerse myself in Australian life by learning more about its history, traditions and contemporary issues. Professionally, I seek to build a strong network of connections and gain valuable experiences through internship or research opportunities. Ultimately, my time at ACU is not just about obtaining a degree but about my personal growth, contributing positively to the community and preparing for a successful future career.

ACU is ranked #2 in Australia and #32 in the world for Education, according to the 2023 Shanghai Global Ranking for Academic Subjects. An ACU Education degree can be the first step towards a vibrant career — talk to our international student support team to find out how.

Have a question?

We're available 9am–5pm AEDT,
Monday to Friday

If you’ve got a question, our AskACU team has you covered. You can search FAQs, text us, email, live chat, call – whatever works for you.

Live chat with us now

Chat to our team for real-time
answers to your questions.

Launch live chat

Visit our FAQs page

Find answers to some commonly
asked questions.

See our FAQs