USP Alumni Network

Stanley Houma

1.What is your home country?
Solomon Islands

2.Which country do you currently live in if different from above?
New Zealand

3.What programme(s) did you graduate in and in which year?
BAGCEd – History/Politics, Sociology & Education – graduated in 1986 

4.What was your most memorable moment as a student?
When we visited the brewery in Suva. After visiting the factory, the manager told us that we could relax in the workers lounge and everybody is welcome to have a few glasses. Our lecturer got more than a few of his share and he got abit drunk. So he announced – ‘the test for tomorrow has been postponed for next week’. Everybody shouted in reply ‘we will give you excellent during course evaluation’.

5.Describe your experience while studying at USP.
Looking back, it was a very enriching experience. As a teacher, the courses and the knowledge and skills I acquired were very much suitable and aligned to the school curriculum and to the pacific context. I had some of the very best academics in their subject disciplines, people like Professor Hauofa, Professor Konai Thaman, Professor Nandan, Dr. William Sutherland, Dr. Mike Howard and many more. Outside of study, I made many life time friends from the Solomons as well as the rest of the pacific and outside. Today these bonds remained as strong as ever. I still chat with my friend Steve who now lives in Canberra every week.

6.What was your greatest achievement while studying at USP?
I got some kind of an award with my class mate Steve Williams for a research paper I did in one Professor Epeli Hauofa’s 300 level sociology courses. Can’t remember what it was. But I remember the VC Geoffrey Caston presented me an award. Never got an award since primary school. So that was great. What? Finally at Uni... Man.. it was awesome.

7.After graduating from USP, what were some of the highlights of your career?
Became head of secondary teacher training at SICHE in the Solomons and helped to train and graduate heaps of secondary school teachers, it was great. I did the same at USP to help train many Pacific teachers. So I have student friends who are now teachers or who hold senior positions in education around the region. If I have another opportunity I would love to do that again.

8.How do you think USP helped you in your career?
My professors taught me to be grounded in what I have – my culture and my local knowledge and grow that as well as acquire knowledge from class interaction and the literature. The support I got from wantoks, student friends and lecturers was huge. It was face-to-face dialogue and sharing with jokes and fun. It was like in the village. With internet today people might say that’s old school.

9.After graduating from USP, what has been your greatest achievement?  
You mean work wise – to join USP as a lecturer for a number of years. That was an achievement for me personally. As a student, I dreamt of becoming a lecturer at USP.  At least for once I was proud of myself. What about finding a wife and have 3 children? That was a great achievement mate.

10.What inspires you and why?
My mum she always loves to serve people even with very little she had as s single mum after Dad passed on too early. The many inspiring stories I continue to hear about Dad in his service as a primary school teacher and village leader. My teachers, lecturers, work colleagues and friends who are role models in their service for others. Above all my Lord Jesus whose words of wisdom ‘Love Others as You Love Yourself’ lays the foundation of my desire to serve others. 

11.What advice would you give to current and future students of USP?
Much is expected of those to whom much is given. A lot of people have invested much on you – your parents, communities and countries. Do them proud by successfully completing your programmes. Then go out to explore and serve.

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