My name is Rohaizah, I’m from Thursday Island in the Torres Strait.  Growing up here meant I had to leave my home and community to study. It was really hard moving from an island to the city. Studying and juggling two young children away from family and friends.

These days I know it was worth it. I teach at the primary school and raise my girls in the community I love.  Thinking your way about higher education can mean great things for you and your community.

So go on, visit

Rohaiza's Story


My name is Rohaizah Nona, I’m from Thursday Island. I teach at the primary school here, Tagai State College.  I studied in Brisbane at QUT Kelvin Grove.  I studied a Bachelor of Education Primary.  It was a four year course so the duration was four years but it took me a while, it took me ten years to get there because I had my children, I had my two girls while studying, Sarah-May and Shania.  So I had to juggle my uni life and also being a mum.

When I was studying, I know teaching was a good job and you’re paid you know good wages but that never came to my mind.  I always wanted to do teaching because I always wanted to come back and yeah give back to my community.  I’m really enjoying the school that I’m teaching at, Tagai Primary Campus.  Yeah Tagai is awesome, yeah, it is fantastic there.

During grade twelve, so when I finally made up my mind that I wanted to go to uni, so I had to go through all these processes of how to enrol and how to get down to Brisbane and I had no idea, I had no idea what to do.  We had our guidance officer at school that time, Mr Laifoo.  So he was there and he was helping me throughout the whole process so he helped me with all the paperwork and you know how to get to Brisbane, what plane to catch.  So when I, so I got the acceptance letter to attend QUT in Brisbane, so I had to go down to Brisbane.  So when I got there I didn’t know anything, like it was like I was just myself there, by my own.

It was challenging for me because from a small island going into a big city, like it’s just hard, like life itself was really hard. I had to adapt to the new lifestyle down there.  You know even things like catching buses to and from uni and I was so used to getting picked up here, on T.I by my dad and dropped off but down there I had to catch buses, I had to know my way around and you know I’m just stuck in there like sitting in the bus wondering where am I going, am I catching the right bus?

I’ve heard stories of uni like from my other siblings but I couldn’t imagine myself like being in a big city, going to uni.  It wasn’t what I expected, but thanks to the support that I received in Brisbane by the QUT Oodgeroo Unit and the staff there, they were really helpful, they helped in many ways.  I was given tutors, like you know for each subject.  So when I did four subjects, full time, I had eight hours a week of tutoring and all of that was free and was covered by the unit.  They’re really good, like even still today we’ve still got that connection and we keep in touch and yeah so having those tutors they were like my family as well.

Once you get the opportunity just, just go for it.  You know it doesn’t matter how long it takes you, you know five, ten, fifteen years,  just stick with it, go out there try your best, you know there’ll be times where you know you think ‘oh, I’m just going to go back home, I can’t do this anymore’, but that is part of uni life.

You will always have support behind you regardless of where you’re heading or you know if you’re going through hardship, the struggles you’re going through, there’s always support.  So while you’ve got that opportunity take it and just run with it.

Rohaiza's Interview

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Location: Thursday Island

Occupation: Primary School Teacher

Born and raised on Thursday Island in the Torres Strait, Rohaizah felt certain about two things – she wanted to study to become a primary school teacher and one day come back to her island home to be a role model for younger people. Completing a Bachelor of Education meant Rohaizah had to leave her community, which is hard enough, yet alone when your raising two young children at the same time away from the support of family and friends. Determined not to give up Rohaizah, did as she set out to do and she is an inspiration to others in her community.