Seraina Elia is studying a Bachelor of Health Science at ANU. She is the recipient of an ANU Love Scholarship and a Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Scholarship for rural and regional students.
Despite focusing on humanities subjects during her high school years, Seraina is studying Health Science to realise her ambition of becoming a rural doctor so that she can help people.
"I think it comes from having chronically ill family members. Every single member of my family that I live with has been chronically ill so I've watched all these doctors for years take care of my family."
Seraina says that receiving scholarship support has helped her settle in to her first year of a demanding degree.
“The scholarship has made the transition from rural to city life a lot easier because I’ve had that buffer zone to get acquainted with how city life works. It’s allowed me to branch out and do things that I couldn’t have done if I’d had to work fulltime. I can go out and do things around campus, I can volunteer and I can take all these opportunities that don’t exist in rural Australia.”
Seraina thinks that donors make the difference to a student being able to live their life instead of just surviving day to day. The generosity of donors has also inspired Seraina’s philanthropic instincts.
“I’d like to do more than I’d already imagined I would. One of our local GPs helps school students by giving a bit of encouragement and a small cash reward to the highest scoring HSC student. I’d like to do things on that level as well as on a wider level of helping out with schools and getting students to university because that’s really pivotal in rural areas.”
For Seraina, there’s no doubt that scholarships truly make a difference to recipients’ lives.
“For a child who may have had a difficult upbringing or couldn’t make it to university, you’re changing their entire life. Because that’s what a scholarship is; it’s life-changing.”