I am originally from Western Australia’s Central Wheatbelt area, hailing from the small town of Cunderdin (population 850!) and boarding at Narrogin Senior High School in my later years of schooling. My family had migrated from South Africa to Australia when I was 5 and we spent a lot of time moving between small country towns, before settling in Cunderdin. Throughout school, I was interested in politics and the humanities and after deciding to broaden my horizons, I decided that the best place for me was at the ANU.
I started studying at ANU in 2018, doing a Bachelor of Political Science and a Masters of International Relations. It wasn't until mid-way through Year 12 that I found out about the ANU, after I had Googled "best university for politics and international relations" and the ANU was the first result. After completing Year 12 (and convincing my Mum that moving interstate was a good idea), I joined the Burgmann community in my first year.
I chose to come to Burgmann because it was the only accommodation that had a “Scholarships” page on its website.
For me, a scholarship was the only way I could afford to come to the ANU, as I would be mostly supporting myself throughout my time at university. Burgmann gave me the opportunity to become a part of a close-knit community. I was a Sports Rep in my second year and a Residential Advisor in my third, both roles that enabled me to connect with people I would never have met otherwise.
I was supported by a bursary for two years and received an honorarium in my final year. Whilst I was also working to assist in paying my fees, the financial support I received meant that I was able to have a genuine college experience, and didn’t have to give up community events or opportunities to connect with people in order to support myself. This financial assistance quite literally changed my life, as it allowed me to attend both Burgmann and the ANU, which would have been otherwise unreachable. The bursary program is essential for supporting students from low SES and remote and regional communities by alleviating financial stress.
To donors, I’d say that every small amount matters to a student coming from a low SES and/or remote and regional background.
In my experience, when I was moving across the country to live and study in ‘the big city’ by myself, Burgmann was the place I found my feet, made new friends and began building my adult life. Without the assistance of its bursary program, I would never be a part of the Burgmann community, which has greatly shaped where I am today.
Janka Reynders (2019-2021)
Burgmann Bursary Recipient