Graduand Callum Blake will leave The University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Arts and a professional cricket career.
After being selected for the Vanuatu national team in 2014, Mr Blake struggled to fit his sports schedule in with his studies.
He deferred two semesters to play in World Cricket League tournaments before he found he could actually juggle both.
“It was not until after the World Cricket League in Jersey in May 2016 that one of my friends told me I could qualify as an ‘Elite Athlete’ at UQ and adjust my assessment dates to fit around my tournaments,” he said.
“Since then, I have been afforded the wonderful opportunity to continue playing cricket for my country while also completing my bachelor’s degree.”
Mr Blake was born and raised in Vanuatu and moved to Brisbane for high school in 2007.
He has a flair for languages, and is fluent in English, French and Vanuatu’s third national language, Bislama.
He decided to pursue an extended major in French and a minor in English after realising he wanted to teach both languages, having tutored and coached kids since leaving high school.
“The best thing about the BA program is the array of high quality French teachers, who have all had an impact on me,” he said.
Mr Blake is training for the T20 World Cup Qualifier in August 2018.
Vanuatu will play against hosts Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Samoa, and – if the team finishes in the top two – will move into the next stage of qualifying next year.
“If we win that, we go to the last stage of qualifying and must finish in the top six of 14 teams to make the T20 World Cup in Australia in 2020.”
Mr Blake’s team has come a long way, working its way up the world rankings from the mid-60s to now sit at number 29.
“Over the past five years we have moved from our regional qualifier through Division 8, all the way to Division 4 in the World Cricket League rankings – quite an achievement for such a small country.
“It is great being a part of such a close-knit team and I am so proud to be able to represent my country on the world stage,” he said.
Mr Blake will graduate, but isn’t yet done with university life, with his sights set on a Master of Teaching (Secondary) in French and English.