Timor-Leste Student Graduates Despite Challenges

Press Release Posted On: June 5, 2024

FNU College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences graduate, Luciana Celeste Amaral.


Despite living many kilometres away from her family, Timor-Leste native, Luciana Celeste Amaral accomplished her goal and graduated with a Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing (Emergency Nursing) at the Fiji National University’s College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences (CMNHS) April graduation ceremony.

She could not contain her tears, being the lone graduate in the programme.

The 48-year-old mother of three travelled to Fiji in 2023 to pursue her studies.

A year later, her hard work and commitment to her education finally paid off.

She is a nurse with 22 years experience, working at the Guido Valadares National Hospital in Timor-Leste, and giving back to her country is one of her top priorities.

Amaral joined the FNU after hearing from a friend, also from Timor-Leste, about the programmes under the CMNHS.

“I gathered information from my friend who was also a student at the CMNHS about the programmes offered, and I was interested to apply and study as well,” she said.

“I applied and got my Offer Letter, interestingly this was my first time to come to Fiji!

“Whatever I have learnt throughout my educational journey at the FNU, the next step is implementation for me when I return and see which areas I need to improve on.”

She revealed that the main challenge for her was being away from her family in a foreign country, but she immediately felt welcomed and at home in Fiji.

“Being in a new country without family was a major challenge. I was missing my family, but I felt welcomed in Fiji. Learning from Fijians and friends from other countries filled the void and gave me strength to focus on my studies,” she said.

“My aim is to continue my education later. I am grateful to the FNU for giving me an opportunity to study.”

Amaral departed the country a few weeks following her graduation.