By Julia Clugston
Receiving one of the Long Tan Bursaries for 2019 was one of the most exciting things to happen to me this year.
I come from a small town called Stawell which is located in the Grampians in Western Victoria. I have grown up on a farm my whole life and have loved growing up surrounded by many hands-on activities and being a helping hand for my dad.
Our farm is not a normal one, we grow Wattle trees (Australia’s national flower. Acacia Baileyna - Cootamundra wattle). We follow a similar harvest season to normal crop farmers where we grow the plants all year around and then harvest in the December Christmas season. The wattle seed is cleaned and sorted and sold to various places where it can be turned into cake, coffee and beer. It has an interesting nutty taste to it and pairs well in a banana and wattle seed cake.
The Long Tan Bursary is a huge help in helping me afford the move to university. I am now living 3 hours from home in Melbourne at Swinburne University of Technology studying a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Journalism and Professional Writing and Editing.
I am really enjoying my time here at university and have been able to study something that I have grown up wanting to pursue. My big dream is to become a foreign correspondent journalist and travel the world to report news. The scholarship has been able to help me afford rent, university fees and also the basics like food, travel, general needs for my room and being able to be involved in residential activities on campus. The life I am currently living is so simple but enjoyable. I can attend my classes easily and be free to do what I wish when I am not required to study.
It was hard to adapt to the change between country life and city life and took months to have a routine I enjoyed and wasn’t stressed by trying to live two different lives.
When applying for the scholarship I was required to ask my dad (a Vietnam Veteran) a range of questions about his service in Vietnam, which was enlightening, and gave me a deeper understanding of what he had experienced. It has made me closer to my dad and given me the chance to educate my friends about different parts of his life.
It is an honour for my family to be recognised. Money doesn’t come easy to our family, it is great that AVCAT, and organisations like it, are out there to help people like me achieve our big dreams.
Julia was awarded the Long Tan Bursary in 2019.
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