“Growing up in a small community like Horn Island, opportunities were limited and unless someone from outside came and exposed you to something, you wouldn’t have known it was out there.”
Sadiar Foster grew up on the islands of the Torres Strait with a love for reading and writing.
And after a year at the local high school, Sadiar was awarded an Indigenous Youth Leadership Program (IYLP) Scholarship to move to Townsville to attend St Patrick’s College.
The move to boarding school brought its own challenges, but also gave Sadiar the space and the structure she was able to succeed in: “I really thrived. Having this secure, stable space and an environment where I could really focus on learning.”
Harnessing the potential of her new surroundings helped Sadiar to envision a future away from North Queensland and down south for university studies.
“As school progressed, I took up legal studies and that’s where I felt an interest in pursuing law after school. There was definitely a strong passion to be in a helping profession and to serve.”
In 2009, Yalari was asked to take on the pastoral and administrative support of 68 students on IYLP scholarships, including Sadiar, and it was this new relationship with Yalari that helped Sadiar begin her path to university.
“Yalari offered me a scholarship to go to the University of Queensland.”
Spending years studying law in Brisbane followed by a stint in Canberra working in the Attorney-General’s Office had given Sadiar some experience in the corporate world, but it was this experience that helped her realise this wasn’t her path.
Even still, as Sadiar came to the realisation that law wasn’t where she saw her future, making the decision to leave it behind wasn’t an easy one.
“It was very, very difficult. I had put myself in this place where my family and friends felt really proud of me becoming a lawyer.
And for me, I felt like I continued to pigeonhole myself because of security, comfort and fear of failure. I was conscious that I was the first one in my family to go to university and didn’t want to pull out of a degree as prestigious as law.”
As time progressed, Sadiar’s next career path began to become clearer – “I started to research more and more into a career in naturopathy…holistic health and wellness was something that I’d always encompassed in my own life” – and she eventually enrolled into a Bachelor of Health Science specialising in Naturopathy and Clinical Nutritional Medicine.
When she speaks about her new career in naturopathy, it’s obvious that Sadiar feels she’s where she’s supposed to be.
“I have learnt so much more about myself through this degree and field of study. I think it’s got a lot to do with this profession being not just about helping people with health and disease and chronic illness, but it’s really about connecting with people, building genuine rapport and relationships, and learning how to understand where people are in their lives.
It’s been a very rewarding and challenging experience so far and you never stop learning.”
Having just completed her degree, Sadiar is looking ahead to a future in naturopathy, including eventually opening her own clinic.
And, 13 years since graduating from school, Sadiar is also back involved with Yalari as a member of the Alumni Advisory Board, which provides advice to Yalari’s board on matters relating to alumni.
“What an incredible opportunity to give my energy, knowledge and skills in whatever way that I possibly can.”