An Education, a Job, and a Life - Thanks to I-WORK
September 30, 2013
I-WORK made attending Brigham Young University-Hawaii possible for more than 550 students last year. Part loan, part scholarship, and part work-study, with an emphasis on personal responsibility, I-WORK is all about training learners, leaders, and builders.
I-WORK is in large part funded by donors. Your support changes lives and shapes the future for individuals, families, and communities around the world.
Josaia Moimoi grew up in Fiji. He served as a missionary in the Marshall Islands, and then he came to BYU–Hawaii because of the availability of scholarships. He is a grateful I-WORK student who is quick to say that without financial assistance neither he nor his family could have afforded an education at a private university in the United States.
“I-WORK has helped tremendously,” he says. “As an I-WORK student there are rules I have agreed to live by, including limiting travel, not driving, and keeping the honor code. I also agree to work 19 hours each week and keep my grades up. It can be hard, but I am grateful and my family is reassured knowing that I have a roof over my head with good food to eat and am being educated and gaining work experience. It is a great program.”
Moimoi is preparing to be an accountant. He plans to graduate from BYU-Hawaii and return home to contribute to the growth of his community. Like most I-WORK students, he works at the Polynesian Cultural Center, and his first year he danced in the night show. “Working the night show, it’s like a huge family,” Moimoi says. “The practicing and performing are very physical, but it’s fun.”
Now in his second year at school, he works in the accounting office at PCC - a work opportunity more aligned with his major. “I know this will be helpful experience for my future career,” he says. “It’s a different side of PCC, but I love it.”
Lindy Tufaga, Moimoi’s supervisor in PCC’s Accounts Payable Office, says, “Josaia has been with us a little more than a month. He is eager to learn and catches on very fast. Our student employees are a great asset in our work, and we hope that we help them too.”
MAKING FRIENDS, LEARNING TO SWIM, AND PREPARING FOR LIFE
One of the things Moimoi enjoys about BYU-Hawaii is the diversity of his fellow students’ cultural backgrounds. “I get to mingle with people from all over the world. This place is so diverse and interesting,” he says.
“I have met so many great people and made so many friends here,” says Moimoi. For example, as a freshman Moimoi met Ezra Peterika, a Samoan from New Zealand. He and Moimoi became fast friends.
Also an I-WORK student, Peterika says of the program: “I-WORK has opened doors of opportunity for me. It lets me pursue a college education on this campus, and I love it here. English is my second language. My professors have been helpful, and I’ve learned so much. I also met my soon-to-be wife here, so BYU-Hawaii will always be a special place for me.”
Students say they are grateful for their BYU-Hawaii experiences for many reasons - great friends and diverse cultures are common reasons. Another is a great faculty.
Moimoi shares this example of an instructor interested in students: “As a new student I took a beginning swimming class. The water was ice cold, and I had no swimming skills. The instructor would jump into the water and show us what to do. She considered our needs and wasn’t a robot. During that semester I went from being unable to finish one lap to being a capable swimmer.”
The future is bright for Josaia Moimoi. He plans to use what he learns here to bless other people - starting with his parents and siblings. He is also looking forward to establishing his own family.
“The university and I-WORK program have been so generous to me,” he says. “I want to return to Fiji and strengthen my country. I want to contribute and help lift others. My experience and that of thousands of others wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for kind-hearted donors like you.
Hundreds of miles away from her home in Ulaanbaatar, Buyanerdene Chimedregzen shouted aloud with joy when she received news of her acceptance to Brigham Young University-Hawaii. Her three long, grueling years of studying English through the university’s online program were paying off: her dream of studying at BYU-Hawaii had finally come true.