STUDYING in a foreign country, away from family and home did not deter 23-year-old Savusavu native Anna Mariya from achieving excellence in India.
The former John Wesley College student, who is studying at Mount Carmel College in Bangalore, India, under the Indian Council for Cultural Relations government of India scholarship, was awarded the excellence award for singing, a gold medal for outstanding achievement in volleyball, and a bronze medal for short-put by the university.
Currently on holiday in Fiji, Ms Mariya, a bachelor of arts in economics, history and sociology student, said a Fijian would always stand out, no matter which part of the world they were in.
"Being awarded with the best awards in India was a big achievement for a girl from Fiji but included a lot of hard work and commitment," she said.
Ms Mariya said India was a country where entertainment business thrived, and for a Fijian to receive an excellence award in singing was something she never dreamed of.
"I used to sing in my church in Fiji. I practiced a lot when I came to India with other Indian friends of mine," the youngest of five siblings said.
She said studying in India and balancing other college activities wasn't easy.
"I used to practice volleyball with my other friends every morning. This elevated the way I played everyday," Ms Mariya said.
She has been in India for two years and will complete her course next year.
Meanwhile, Indian High Commission's Indian Cultural Centre director Dr Kamal Kishore Mishra said he was proud of students from Fiji doing wonders in school work.
"They are not only making themselves proud but Fiji as a country," Dr Mishra said.
He said Ms Mariya's achievement was a great encouragement to other students studying in India and for those wishing to apply for ICCR scholarships.
The director urged students to continue to work hard and make their country proud.