Twenty eight year old Patrick Junior Ah Kuoi of Vaitele Uta has graduated with a Masters in Electronics and Communication from the Hefei University of Technology in China.
In his interview with the Sunday Samoan Patrick dedicated his achievement to his father the late Faumuina Patrick Ah Kuoi who passed away in 2007.
“It was a poem that I wrote for him at his funeral I promised him that I would succeed,” said Patrick.
“I must carry on and I am confident that I will succeed” is what I had said to my father and that motivated me throughout the eight years of my studies.”
Speaking about his journey Patrick said it wasn’t easy.
“I got a scholarship from the Government of Samoa to do my Bachelor of Engineering in Architectural Environment at the Beijing University of Science and Technology from 2009 to 2014."
“I left to go to Beijing, however I had to learn the language for a year because the classes were all in Chinese and if I didn’t pass, I couldn’t move on."
“So for a whole year, I learned the Chinese language in Nanjing Normal University in Nanjing from 2009 to 2010 and then I started my Bachelor’s."
“The Bachelor’s is the government scholarship to China and once it’s completed then they provide the return ticket which I was lucky enough to get to come home and see my mother and family.”
However, getting a Bachelor’s degree did not satisfy Patrick so he pushed on to get a job so he could continue his studies.
“I wanted to finish what I had started and I was definitely not going to settle for a Bachelor’s degree,” he said.
“I looked for a job as well as some sponsors to fund me so I could complete my Masters and luckily enough, the Government of China sponsored me with my Masters even though they had different rules."
“However that didn’t bother me."
“So in 2014, I went full on to get my Masters and after three years I am happy to say that I have made it.”
But getting there was still no easy road for the young man.
“I was feeling homesick, missing my family especially my mother. I was struggling with my budget because I wasn’t getting enough money which is why I tried so hard to find a job, which I did,” he said.
“I became an English teacher for the Grimm International for children aged 2-12 years old. But even with a job, I was still struggling so one again, my mother was my biggest supporter."
“It was hard but I knew I had to finish what I had started so I could say I have come out strongly.”
“The journey was good I have had a lot of new experiences as well as new ideas,” he said.
“However, at the same time I had to think of how to introduce these kinds of ideas to Samoa."
“Primarily, I have learned to be independent."
“I can do my washing, cooking, cleaning because during those times of studying, I had nobody to depend on so I am thankful to God for bringing me this far.”
His mother Talai was in tears as she said the glory goes back to God.
“It wasn’t easy and I can’t believe it has been eight years,” she said.
“It was hard as a mother. I would worry because I knew the situation he was in but I always prayed to God for his protection over my son, especially financially."
“There were times when I also struggled financially but there were also times when I had enough so that’s when I would send him money."
“But I’m thankful it’s over and all the praises goes back to God.”
Patrick is the son of the late Faumuina Patrick and Talai Ah Kuoi, one of four children.
He is from the village of Vaitele Uta.
He shared academic success with his girlfriend, Ruby Folau who also graduated with a Masters in Business Administration in Financial Management.
“We went to the same University and we both graduated with Masters so I am beyond blessed.”