"I would not have been able to take part in university life, or have the opportunities to gain the skills I use in this role, if I was working the hours needed to support myself while studying".
Scholarships allow students to participate more fully in university life and activities.
That is how a Commonwealth Accommodation Scholarship helped RMIT University Student Union President Jessica Hall.
"I would not have been able to take part in university life, or have the opportunities to gain the skills I use in this role, if I was working the hours needed to support myself while studying," Ms Hall said.
Completing her Honours in International Studies, Ms Hall has participated in a number of different university activities during her time at RMIT.
A founding member of RMIT SEEDS, Ms Hall also attended a Model United Nations Conference run by Harvard University held in Geneva, Switzerland, two years ago. She took part in the LEAD (Student Learn Engage Aspire Develop Leadership program) in her first year of studies, and is now also an elected member of the RMIT University Council.
"I was from a regional area and my parents were not in a position to help with my living costs, it's difficult to work and make enough to live on while studying.
"My scholarship meant that I did not have to work as much and could study and engage in university life by getting involved.
"For the first two years of my studies at RMIT, I was President of the International Studies Association and involved in fundraising activities, facilitating student initiatives to support their projects while working with external organisations.
"It was a wonderful opportunity and something I could not have done if I had to work to support myself during my studies."
Last year, Ms Hall volunteered with the RMIT SEEDS working group and interim steering committee. At the same time she worked with a small group of RMIT students and developed the Thailand Youth Capacity Building Project, now an RMIT SEEDS pilot project.
The project involves selected RMIT students working with the youth of the village of Ban Lahork Krasang, facilitating knowledge sharing and teaching them work-relevant English Language and IT skills. The skills transference allows the community to establish a sustainable tourism industry to provide a supplementary income as well as an employment source to tackle the youth migration issue which plagues the community.
"I am very happy to have worked on developing the project and to have had the memorable experience of seeing it evolve."
"When students do not have to work so hard or as much to support themselves, it frees up their time so they can contribute to the university and the broader community," Ms Hall said.
"Thanks to the scholarship I developed the needed skills for the various roles I was elected to perform this year as RMIT Student Union President while completing my degree."
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