20-year-old Kylamarie Rodriquez is the first in her family to be undertaking studies at the university level; enrolled at The University of the South Pacific, Rodriquez is pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Management.
“My parents could not reach the university level, and I am the oldest in my family. I want to get my degree and be a role model to my siblings,” Rodriquez shared.
“I am passionate about climate change, and that’s why I am majoring in geography and management. I want to study to be able to do something to help protect my home because I see how climate change has affected my island and my people. I want to be the change to save my island, and I can start by studying our environment and how to manage our resources.”
Rodriquez grew up by the sea, and she shared that she was determined to learn more during her journey at USP and, at the same time, work to help her peers not only from Samoa but from across the Pacific.
“At USP, I enjoy the cultural diversity, this is the only university in Samoa that has students from other Pacific countries like the Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Fiji, and I love it because I can get to know more about my other Pacific brothers and sisters,” she said.
“The facilities and resources we have at the USP Samoa Campus are advanced compared to other places in Samoa. I enjoy the technical aspect of learning, such as computers and reliable internet connectivity; the library services and the staff are always friendly and willing to help us.”
With most of her classes offered online, Rodriguez said she thoroughly enjoys her programme, which provides a lot of information, especially since she hopes to enter climate change studies.
“Since most of my classes are not face-to-face, this motivates me and challenges me to use my time wisely. I also take the time to learn from my peers, and my classmates are always willing to sit in talanoa sessions, which, in turn, allows us to keep up to date with the information being shared.”
“I love to read and listen, and sometimes when we fall sick, it can be difficult because we are not able to attend classes and we fall behind, but our tutors are willing to help us; I feel this is what helps us the most, just knowing people are willing to help us along the way,” Rodriguez said.
Her main goal is to be the first in her family to complete her studies at the university level and be a helping hand to her people in the fight against climate change.
“I want to go into environmental management to help manage activities done by humans that are affecting our natural resources because this is what most people in Samoa and the Pacific rely on for sustenance,” she added.