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Educating the next generation

Name: Ivana
Age: 17
Graduated: Year 12, 2018 Seymour College
Studying: Bachelor of Early Childhood Education at Charles Darwin University
From: Darwin, NT

As the youngest of five siblings, Ivana learned about the advantages of boarding school from two of her older brothers who completed Year 12 on AIEF Scholarships.

“My brothers said that boarding school was so much fun, and the help and support they received was so much better than at school back home and they got to focus more. I thought, ‘I need to start focusing on school. I need to separate myself from what I know, study hard, and then hopefully I can get good grades.’”

Ivana was 15 when she started boarding at Seymour College in Adelaide.

“It was a big change. I’d never done something as big as moving away from home. I didn’t know anyone that lived in Adelaide, I had no family there, so I had to really adapt to a new place and get to know everyone there.”

Moving into Year 12 with all the pressure and stress that can bring, Ivana involved herself in a wide range of activities and played the majority of sports on offer at the College.

“I never focused much at school in Darwin. I would go to school but I never really tried hard or put any effort in. I really switched on at boarding school. At Seymour, everyone around you is so positive and they push you to be your best.”

Ivana says the additional support she received from AIEF through the Transition Support Program helped her decide to take her next big step from boarding school to university.

"The Indigenous students were a small population of the school, but the support we got from all the teachers was so big. They were so accepting. We had assemblies dedicated to Reconciliation Week and we definitely had the support we needed to get us through.”

“The visits from our Pathways Advisor made it that much easier. She helped us with organisation, due dates, talking about how we were handling school, and helping us look at the future - university or jobs after Year 12 - all that stuff you don’t want to think about. It was about helping us so we could focus and be prepared and ready.”

“I was tossing up between studying a Law degree and an Education degree. My Advisor helped me work out the negatives and positives of each degree and each university.”

“Now I’m studying a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education. I want to complete my degree and I want to go and work out in Indigenous communities and give back to our people. Being an Indigenous woman myself, I want to make sure it’s not just Indigenous people in the cities who have quality education, I would like to help the people in remote areas too.”

Ivana encourages younger Indigenous student to embrace opportunities like the AIEF Scholarship.

“You’ve got to give everything a go. There’s so much support and so many people to help you. Going to boarding school on an AIEF Scholarship was such a great opportunity and I’m so glad that I took it. My life would have been so different if I didn’t take that opportunity - grabbed it with both hands - and really gave everything my all. The outcome was just amazing, I couldn’t ask for anything more!”

“There are so many Indigenous people who don’t get the opportunity to attend a good school and get a good education. With scholarships like AIEF, we’re really giving Indigenous people a chance to succeed and become the best version of themselves.”

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I'm doing this not only for myself but for my community and my family. To me it's about giving back to my people and taking every opportunity that comes my way.

AIEF Alumni


The AIEF Scholarship Program and the AIEF Pathways Program are supported by the Australian Government in collaboration with individual, philanthropic and corporate supporters from the private sector.