Golden Opportunity in the Gold Coast

Golden Opportunity in the Gold Coast |
Griffith University   |   |
Published in the May / June 2013 issue of print
Search & Employ®   | 

Griffith University opened its doors in 1975, and is now the ninth-largest provider of higher education in Australia. It has five campuses in the Brisbane-Gold Coast region of the state of Queensland. The campuses have ready access to the social, cultural, and recreational facilities of Brisbane – the capital of Queensland – and the attractions of Australia’s top surfside tourist destination.

The university offers more than 300 undergraduate and postgraduate programs. It has over 3,500 staff and about 43,000 students, including more than 11,000 international students from over 123 nations. Griffith has more than 40 specialized research centers, and it maintains industry partnerships around the world. The school has international exchange and academic agreements with more than 200 universities and other institutions.

Griffith University is a United States Department of Veterans Affairs Approved Institution of Higher Learning. In 2012, the university initiated a comprehensive U.S. veterans program as a result of the increasing number of American veteran students applying and studying at the school.

Griffith now has a U.S. Foreign Studies advisor in the United States – Jason Scholte, a Service Connected Disabled U.S. Army Veteran. “Griffith is very popular with U.S. veterans,” Scholte said. “When we first started talking to veterans, it was clear that many just did not know they can use their Post-9/11 GI Bill to study overseas. In fact, U.S. veteran enrollment at Griffith University is up significantly over 2011. We expect to see this trend increase, since Griffith University has taken such a serious stance on making sure U.S. veterans are provided exceptional services like on-campus housing, a dedicated VA certifying official and financial aid manager located in the Gold Coast, and quite literally the ‘red carpet’ treatment.”

Scholte believes that Griffith offers a unique opportunity to veterans. “Having worked for major colleges and universities in the United States, what I’m seeing Griffith University do for these men and women is hands-down above and beyond what the majority of schools even in the United States actually do,” he said. “This opportunity is likely the ‘best-kept-secret’ since the academic reputation of Griffith University is a global one, as opposed to regional or national. Besides being located in the Gold Coast, which by itself is enough of an excuse for me, Griffith University is so well connected around the world that U.S. veterans have a multitude of study-abroad and multinational academic trips available to them. I’ve never seen anything quite like this for U.S. veterans.”

Scholte said that veterans make the best students. “Griffith University recognizes the uniqueness of U.S. veterans, as they come with a mindset not traditional amongst the general student population,” he said. “These students are dedicated and possess a level of maturity that makes them stand out and excel in their educational endeavors. Our U.S. veteran students are so much more engaged than most.”

Kelly Courtney is a Griffith student who spent four years in the Navy before separating as a petty officer third class. She served as a machinist’s mate, focusing on boiler maintenance and repair, as well as hazmat control.

Having a mentor while in the military has paid big dividends for Courtney. “I was allocated a mentor from the beginning,” she said. “This mentor guided me in making good decisions for myself and assisted me in carving out a pathway that would be successful as I approached the transition into civilian life.”

Courtney recommends that servicemembers carefully plan their transitions to civilian life. “Make a plan for yourself, for how and what you want when you return to civilian life,” she said. “Save as much money and learn as many skills as you can before you leave the military through available training courses, educational classes, etc. Then stay focused on it. These are the hopes and dreams you will hold onto when the going gets rough.”

Finishing what you start is just one thing Courtney learned in the military. “The military taught me to complete tasks, to finish what I start in a timely manner,” she said. “It also taught me skills such as first aid/CPR, leadership, team-player attributes, etc.”

Courtney also learned communication skills while serving her country. “The military taught me to speak up and be blunt about what you need and want,” she said. “In school and on the job, this is helpful in breaking down communication barriers and being efficient in tasks.”

Courtney said that Griffith is a great university for veterans because it goes above and beyond in supporting U.S. servicemembers who are looking to further their education. “Griffith University is a positive environment where transition is made easy,” she said. “Having someone on campus to help veterans transition with the GI Bill/payments makes this school ideal for those aspiring to new heights outside of the military. Griffith really does cater to vets, helping them to acquire the best of educational opportunities as well as sorting out the fine details to make studying all the more accessible.”

No matter what servicemembers do after the military, Courtney said they should prepare to work hard. “Study, if you’re going back to school,” she said. “And if you do not want to go back to school, have a plan, have a resume, and be prepared to go door knocking.”

About the Author

This article was written by Lisa Dunster