Originally from the Hong Kong SAR, Kate Mak is now studying at Australia’s highest-ranked law school, a move which would not have been possible without the support of a scholarship she received.
The Asia Leaders Scholarship was generously established by Yao Yi and her husband Xu Bin – Beijing-based Melbourne Law School (MLS) alumni, who wanted to ‘give back’ to the University.
Yao Yi was able to study her Masters degree at MLS under an Australian Government scholarship. When she arrived in Melbourne in 1992, she had to borrow $500 from colleagues and had ‘nowhere to live’.
The scholarship was very important to me. I couldn't have studied without it.
For Yao Yi, who first graduated from Renmin (People’s) University and worked as a lawyer in Beijing before moving to Melbourne to study the LLM, the support of an Australian scholarship opened doors to new career options, and a new life.
While at the University of Melbourne, Yao Yi wrote her Masters thesis on company law, which was a burgeoning area of law in China at the time. It meant that she was well placed to help transition her former public law office into a private partnership firm when she returned to China.
“I was lucky to be one of the youngest partners in the firm. They needed people with overseas experience,” she said.
“I always felt grateful for my scholarship here in Australia, and that’s why my husband and I thought maybe this is our chance to repay it.
“The investment in people – by donating to education – is the most worthwhile.”
Kate, who graduated with a law degree from Sun Yat Sen University in Guangzhou before coming to Melbourne, said she is grateful for the generous support.
“When I heard that I had received the scholarship from Ms Yao Yi, I cannot express how I felt at that time. It was really good news for my family. I am so grateful to Ms Yao and Mr Xu for their generous support!” she said.
I hope one day I can be a successful lawyer and that I can do something to give back. Maybe I could set up another scholarship to help more students in need.
The Asia Leaders Scholarship is funded by MLS alumni to support students from Asia, from financially disadvantaged backgrounds, to undertake the Melbourne Juris Doctor.