Endurance and dedication for a green future – studying Sustainable Energy online for 18 months

24 March 2022

What does it take to study online for 18 months from Eurasia?

Yeldos Bozhbanov would know it takes quite a bit of resilience and motivation to open the laptop at 5 am in the morning for the daily lectures on Zoom during the intensive teaching periods. Yeldos studies the Master of Sustainable Energy (Management), and after three semesters studying online from Kazakhstan, he has finally made it to Brisbane to complete the last semester of his degree.

The early mornings and the remote study didn't dampen Yeldos passion for renewable energy. On the contrary, he is determined to contribute to a green energy future for the next generations.

Yeldos Bozhbanov works as a Project Manager in Renewables at the Central Asian Renewable Energy Resources Group in Kazakhstan. He was awarded the Bolashak Presidential Scholarship, which allows him to study the Master of Sustainable Energy at the University of Queensland.


"Our generation inherited numerous environmental challenges such as global warming and greenhouse gas pollution, and now we finally see a global community starting to make key actions to improve the environmental situation.

Sustainability is not just about the environment and carbon emissions; it is also about economic development and social equity. I believe with the right direction we can solve the issues and balance between social, economic, and environmental considerations and ensure the next generations’ development to meet their own needs."

Yeldos’ choice to study Sustainable Energy in Australia was influenced by the similarities between Kazakhstan and Australia concerning the transition to renewable energy; both countries have significant oil and natural gas reserves but are investing in green energy.

"Kazakhstan has set ambitious goals to achieve net-zero emissions and decarbonise the economy, and the country has already achieved several of these goals. With the Master of Sustainable Energy, I want to be a part of a community that contributes to the prosperous development of my country and people".

"I chose to study at UQ because it is one of Australia's best universities and a top-ranked university in the world. I noticed how the University has an impact on driving sustainability goals in Australia. For me, it was important how the University academics work closely with the government and industry to develop Australia in a sustainable direction".


Since starting the Master's degree in 2020, Yeldos became a father, worked full time as a Project Manager in the renewable energy space, and moved to Australia.

However, a quick trip back to Kazakhstan to get married coincided with the closure of Australia’s borders due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which “stranded” Yeldos in Kazakhstan - and forced him to adjust to a somewhat different “study abroad” experience than he had hoped for.

Finally, two days after Yeldos set his foot in Brisbane to study in semester 1, 2022, he lost his belongings when his friend´s house was inundated by the recent flood.

‘Challenges are not sent to defeat you…’

But through the tough times of studying online, Yeldos reminded himself of a proverb, 'Your challenges are not sent to defeat you, they're sent to promote, increase and strengthen you'.

And despite the challenges of studying online, Yeldos' determination and the support from University staff and fellow students have kept him motivated. 

"The University staff did a great job connecting us students worldwide to keep learning. All lectures and seminars were well-organised, the course coordinator and lecturers always supported me remotely during this difficult time.

I am very grateful and would like to thank everyone from the University community involved in this work".

Coming from a nomadic people and a country with multiple cultures, languages, and backgrounds, Yeldos values the diversity in class discussions and group work.

Yeldos with his wife and 1-year old son.

"I think it is a golden opportunity to study Sustainable Energy here at UQ. You get the opportunity to interact with high-level academics, and local and international experts in energy.

Also, you can discuss the challenges of transitioning towards a sustainable future with students from different countries who have different views, opinions, and backgrounds.

Despite the differences, you are all focused on the main idea of sustainability. In the course, you will not only focus on technologies but also different aspects such as finance, ecology, law, and business."

While Yeldos completes his final semester of the Master of Sustainable Energy (Management), his family waits for him back in Kazakhstan. He is determined to make the most of his time in Australia and looks forward to returning to his home country to make an impact with the skills he has gained from the program.