Lydia Schuller was working for a Great Barrier Reef cruise company when she decided she wanted to be a marine biologist.
Originally from Munich, Germany, she came to Australia a decade ago and fell in love with the ocean while visiting Queensland. So, she decided to stay and started working on the Reef as a cruise attendant in Cairns.
“They trained me up on the job, I learned all about the ocean, the sea life, the reef in general, and they needed someone who could speak German, which was perfect.
“I was taking people on snorkelling tours and teaching them about the reef. I’d always had a passion for the ocean and always had an interest in Antarctica.”
Lydia started investigating ways of getting formal qualifications in her area of interest and when she discovered the Bachelor of Marine and Antarctic Science at the University of Tasmania, she was immediately drawn to University’s Antarctic connections, unique among other marine science degrees.
“I did look at Southern Cross Uni, which was online and was more handy to be able to study wherever I was. But when I looked at UTAS I was impressed with that combination of marine science and Antarctic studies, it was perfect for my interests.”
As a permanent resident but still a German national, Lydia was required to pay her course fees up front, so she immediately started saving as much money as she could. But by the time she had completed her bridging course, she still didn’t have enough saved for the whole degree.
She enrolled for the Bachelor of Marine and Antarctic Science anyway and applied for financial assistance through the University’s Support to Study Scholarship Package at the same time. Determined by need, these packages are directly tailored to the needs of the students who receive them.
She was accepted into her degree and moved to Hobart to commence her studies. And about a year into her degree she learned she had qualified for two much-needed scholarships: a financial support scholarship and a relocation support scholarship, worth $3000 each.
“It was such a huge relief, it helps a lot,” Lydia said. “I still need to work a casual job to pay for rent and so forth, but half of my student fees for each semester are supported now, which is great.”
Lydia is loving her course, majoring in marine biology, and hopes her degree will take her to Antarctica one day to conduct whale research.
“I will see what happens, who knows, maybe I’ll do my Masters afterwards as well!
“I’m studying at IMAS (Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies) and doing a lot at home as well. I’m doing one unit on campus and rest online, which suits me quite well. I like face-to-face but the option to be online helps in my situation, since I have family in Germany and my partner is in Queensland.”
Lydia said she did miss her family and partner and tried to visit whenever she could but also that she was enjoying the Tasmanian lifestyle.
“It can be pretty cold in Hobart but I love it. Seeing the snow is something that I love, it feels a little bit like home. And the people are really friendly.”
We believe that university should be accessible for everyone, which is why we offer a huge range of scholarships, which you can apply for if you need that financial boost to get your studies started.