Ormond College John and Margo Irwin Scholarship recipient: Liana Besim

A scholarship awarded through the University of Melbourne USA Foundation not only helped Science student Liana Besim to achieve her dream of studying at Melbourne but also inspired her to give back to the University in the future.

To attend University, Liana Besim knew that she needed to move away from her hometown of Shepparton, but she didn't have the funds to live in Melbourne. Commuting daily from the family home wasn't an option, either.

"Travelling close to 300km a day would have been impossible," Liana said. "I have some friends that commute daily from Ballarat, which is much closer to Melbourne, but it's still a real struggle for them."

Receiving the Ormond College John and Margo Irwin scholarship came as a surprise to Liana. The scholarship is designed to help students in need cover some costs associated with living at Ormond. "I wasn't expecting the scholarship at all. When I saw how much it was going to contribute to my college fees I was pretty excited. My mum couldn't afford to support me, so it has taken the pressure off. I'm just so thankful," Liana said.

Alleviating the Besim family's financial pressures was just one of the positive outcomes of the scholarship. It also enabled Liana to immerse herself in college life. "I've made so many close friends at Ormond that I know I'll keep forever," she said. "And the extra support I get from the tutors and staff is incredible. I'm very happy here."

Liana is currently in her first year of a Bachelor of Science degree, but she's already realized that her passion lies in education and psychology. "Eventually, I'd like to work with kids with self-esteem issues and improve the education system. Every kid learns differently and I don't think it's really fair that they're forced into the same curriculum.."

Speaking of the future, Liana's scholarship experience has made her contemplate giving back to the University in the future, too. "For students who don't have enough money to get to University, a bit of extra help is a life changer. One day I'd definitely like to establish my own scholarship and help others make the most out of their University experience, just as I am doing."