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Aminath Samaha: Working towards a sustainable built environment in Maldives

Posted: 28 April 2023

Maldives, Linkages, Scholar,

Aminath Samaha is studying a Master of Energy Efficient and Sustainable Building with the support of an Australia Awards Scholarship. As an architect, Aminath aims to use the knowledge and skills she gains from her experience in Australia to develop a sustainable built environment with advanced policies in Maldives.

Aminath was featured as ‘the face of’ the Australia Awards – Maldives promotions for study commencing in 2024. We asked her some questions and she responded with the following insights into her Australia Awards experience and advice for prospective Scholarship applicants.

What made you decide to apply for an Australia Awards Scholarship?

An Australia Awards Scholarship grants financial assistance to study in one of the best universities in the world, which otherwise would not have been possible for me. With this Scholarship, I aim to get a master degree that aligns with my future career goals. I trust this Scholarship will provide me with the knowledge and skills to be more effective as an architect. I want to improve and create a movement of change in the built environment industry in Maldives with the help of this Scholarship. I also desire to make connections beyond Maldives and develop a larger professional network that will equip me with the relevant skills and knowledge to improve sustainability in the built environment in Maldives.

Aminath and other Australia Awards scholars from South Asia and Mongolia walking in a line on the grounds of the University of Melbourne

Aminath with other Australia Awards scholars from South Asia and Mongolia

Where and what are you studying?

I am studying a Master of Energy Efficient and Sustainable Building at RMIT University, Melbourne. Studying in this multidisciplinary program has exposed me to people with real-life experience in their own fields: civil engineers; mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineers; urban planners; and also those working in production, real estate and the business sector with similar views on sustainability.

How has your Australia Awards Scholarship contributed to your personal and professional growth so far?

This Scholarship lets us participate in niche opportunities provided for Australia Awards students. I have been able to engage in activities other than studies, creating a wider experience. I was able to take on new roles, meet people from different backgrounds, and share experiences and knowledge within my field of study and beyond. These experiences have provided an unconventional perspective that I now use to navigate through my educational and professional journey.

Aminath and other scholars from Mongolia and South Asia sit on a bench under a tree

Aminath with scholars from Mongolia and South Asia

Can you share how you are growing your professional network during your Scholarship?

I have attended events, online workshops, hackathons and events focusing on sustainability in the built environment. Through these, I have been able to connect with like-minded professionals and other alumni, expanding my professional network. I was also able to share ideas and gain critical analysis of the problems and solutions that are currently in place.

Can you tell us about your experience in Australia so far, beyond your academic studies?

I have immersed myself in the culture of Australia and met people from different backgrounds by stepping out of my comfort zone and broadening my perspective. By trying to be more adaptable to this new environment, I believe I have become more open-minded and accepting of different cultural values than those I am used to. I have also travelled around to explore, create memories and try new things in places that are unique and different from Maldives.

What do you hope to do in the future, particularly after your Scholarship experience?

I hope to create a better mindset within the community of designers and architects in Maldives to find solutions collectively and minimise the impact on the environment by creating a sustainable built environment. I aim to take on a greater leadership role within my organisation and in the community to make significant contributions by improving energy use in buildings and bringing forward more energy-efficient technologies to buildings using the skills, knowledge and networks I gain from this experience. I also intend to find opportunities to influence communities and policies by expanding my network in Maldives with like-minded individuals. I believe that the master degree I am studying now will help me develop expertise in the sustainable building field that will help provide solutions and shape better policies and sustainable building guidelines to create change.

Aminath and three other Maldivian scholars sit on a bench

Aminath with other Victoria-based scholars from Maldives.

What advice would you give to potential Scholarship applicants?

It is a great opportunity to study at a prestigious university and gain a world-class education that not only focuses on studies but occupies us in engaging with and gaining knowledge and skills from experienced professionals. This Scholarship also helps you with many opportunities to increase your social circle and professional network with people leading change in Australia and the world. If you desire to create change in your country or field, this Scholarship is a great opportunity to get the knowledge and skills you require and gain unique experiences while expanding your professional network.