Ana Paula Motta

Argentinian student, Ana, is a PhD student in Archaeology at the Centre for Rock Art Research And Management at the University of Western Australia

Ana and baby Allegra

“I was living in London when I met my current supervisor at a conference who encouraged for me to apply for a scholarship to undertake a PhD at the University of Western Australia. I finally decided to take the leap and apply for a PhD at the Centre for Rock Art Research And Management, as it is one of the most prominent centres worldwide for rock art research. Even though I already went through a similar process when I moved in 2014 from Argentina to London to study, I remember looking at the different scholarship options and feeling overwhelmed by the different rounds of application and deadlines. I decided to apply for the Forrest Research Foundation PhD scholarship, and to my surprise I was successful!

“Without the help of Study Options I don’t think I would have been able to submit everything on time as the presented documentation needed to be first certified by them before applying to UWA. They also assisted me with the student visa process, which otherwise can be confusing and off-putting.

“I arrived to Australia in March 2017, leaving behind my partner (he is a PhD student at UCL in London) and my friends. I moved in with a fellow PhD student from the Forrest Research Foundation to a lovely house in Subiaco. Thanks to this, I had an easier time getting used to my new life. I made friends by joining a sports climbing club and by participating in different social activities organised by UWA. I also joined the UWA Outdoor Club, where I took stand up paddling and kayaking lessons. Things were better once my partner was able to join me, and last year we became parents to a baby girl called Allegra.

“Being a UWA PhD student and a Forrest Scholar has brought me closer to many career development opportunities. On my second year, I worked as a tutor at a Rock Art Unit, co-organised my department’s seminars, worked as a student representative, and participated from many courses and workshops that improved my research and communication skills.

“I find that I have been able to have a better work/life balance since I arrived to Australia and that it actually improved the quality of my work as I am more focused now. Having a six month old baby and pursuing a PhD is certainly challenging, but I would advise those coming with families to rely on your community and group of friends. I cannot be grateful enough to my Forrest fellows and everyone around my department for their understanding and help through difficult times.”

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