Eyes on the prize | Orudiana leaves home to pursue dream

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Pacifi c Theological College graduate Alfred Orudiana with his certifi cate after graduating in Suva last week. Picture: SOPHIE RALULU

Studying in another country can be quite daunting. One has to contend with language barriers, homesickness, culture shock, financial constraints and social integration, among other things.

But the achievement one gets at the end of the study journey can be rewarding. That is exactly what Alfred Orudiana went through.

His move from the Solomon Islands to Fiji two years ago finally came to fruition when he received his Master of Theology degree last Thursday.

He was among 200 students who graduated from the Pacific Theological College (PTC) at the Suva Civic Auditorium in Suva. In 2020, he moved to Fiji with his wife and three children with a dream to study at the reputable institution.

Two and a half years later, the 42-year-old received the faculty prize for distinction in thesis work (biblical studies).

“I chose to come to Fiji for the exposure,” Mr Orudiana said.

“I had obtained my diploma and undergraduate degree back in the Solomon Islands, but when I met several students who had studied at the PTC here in Fiji , I saw the way they taught and sounded was a bit different.

“And I think this was because they were exposed to different thoughts, different theologies, which was why I chose PTC.” He said what he enjoyed the most during his stay in Fiji was learning different cultures and languages.

“I feel very happy and I’m thankful for the support of my church, for the support of my family and friends. “I’m grateful for PTC for what it has done for me and Fiji was a very interesting place to study.

“First of all, PTC comprises of faculties from different parts of the world and at the same time, we have lecturers from within Fiji and other nations in the Pacific. This he said encouraged alternative ways of thinking, which was good for churches of the Pacific.

“The principle mission for PTC is developing a new Pacific consciousness and that encourages Pacific people to think as Pacific people especially in theology and philosophy.”

While adjusting to his new adopted country was a challenge, he said he was able to overcome this through the hospitality and friendliness of the local people.

“When I first came, I was afraid that I might not fit in or people in Fiji might behave differently towards me and my family.

“But the friendliness, hospitality and the kindness of Fijians is just similar to life back in the Solomons, so I had the opportunity to make friends here in Fiji.”

He said one of the most important lessons he learned while studying at PTC was to value one’s culture.

“Back in the Solomon Islands culture is declining, but here I have learnt that although we have social challenges, people in Fiji are very cultural and I think that is important.

“I think it’s important that we relook and go back to our roots and see the value of culture….”

Mr Orudiana leaves Fiji for the Solomons at the end of the month.

“I will likely teach in a theological institution when I go back home in the Solomon Islands, like PTC, where we offer diploma and degree programs.

Mr Orudiana urged parents, especially fathers, to never stop upgrading their skills and education.

“If you have the will age is no barrier to what you want to achieve.”

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