Students from a number of Pacific island nations attending Brigham Young University—Hawaii recently had a unique opportunity to meet with Elder Robert Dudfield and his wife, Darice Dudfield, to discuss the importance of education. Elder Dudfield is an Area Seventy, a leader in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
During the gathering the students shared their experiences and answered the question: “What is education doing for me?”
McClean is only in his third week at BYUH. He is learning to adapt to the new culture and is looking to study business management.
Lawanna often finds herself outside her comfort zone and finds that being enrolled at BYU—Hawaii is teaching her increased confidence and is helping her create better social skills.
Adriannah believes that attending school is an "eye opener." Education is teaching her to look at a bigger perspective and is giving her the experience to learn about others globally.
Thomas and Ronald both enjoy meeting people from different parts of the world. Thomas is a political science major who danced in the Fiji village at the Polynesian Cultural Centre and now works in the security department while attending school.
Ronald began his studies at BYU—Hawaii after he completed a Latter-day Saint mission in South Africa. He is in his second semester and is from Angoram on the Sepik River. His father encouraged him to continue with his higher education.
Dailana is learning to be independent and self-motivated, she says.
Kathryn has realized that using her father’s laptop while she was growing up instilled in her a desire to study information technology. Now that she is on her own she must get up, go to class, go to work, and budget her own money. She has learned, “being here has helped me to be more mature.”
Laupisi is learning the importance of honesty while trying to keep high standards when parents aren’t around.
Suve, who is not currently enrolled at the university, says that “time management is the key.”
Some are just beginning, others are in their second year. All are learning that furthering their education is helping them become more self-reliant and to prepare for the future.
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As Elder and Sister Dudfield visited with the students, Sister Dudfield encouraged the students to “make the most of it, not just the education but the experience as well."
Elder Dudfield shared his hopes that more South Pacific students will seek education.
"There is a difference between learning and education, and there is a connection to faith," he said.
"Education is key. Always remember that coupled with your secular education is your spiritual education. Continue with your secular education but don’t lose sight of your spiritual education. The Lord is guiding and directing you. Share the blessings of education with family and friends at home."