When law student Nicole Loen first arrived at Aberdeen four years ago, she found the financial reality of attending university overwhelming.
Nicole, who is originally from Glasgow, had hoped that a part-time job and a student loan would be enough to see her through. Having applied previously for an entrance scholarship, she was contacted by the University’s Development Trust, which encouraged her to apply for a Robertson Trust Scholarship.
She was accepted onto the Trust’s four-year ‘Journey to Success’ programme, which supports more than 600 higher education students at any one time with a bursary and personal development programme. She has also recently completed the Sir Ian Good Leadership Award, which provides individual career mentoring.
As she prepares to graduate today with an LLB, she reflects on the crucial difference the scholarship has made in helping achieve her goals.
Nicole (22), said: “Without the support of the University Development Trust, I would have completely missed this opportunity with the Robertson Trust. Without the scholarship, my time at University would not have been even been remotely financially possible – it has been life-changing.”
The Robertson Trust connection has led to more opportunities for Nicole, including being part of an overseas home building expedition in Tanzania in 2017, which was organised in partnership with the Vine Trust.
She has since been offered the chance to support another expedition by the Vine Trust this summer to support the construction of 'Kazunzu Village of Hope' on the shores of Lake Victoria.
During her time at Aberdeen, Nicole also benefited from the many student employment opportunities offered by the university.
“I was incredibly fortunate to gain a position on the InternPlus project, as well as work as a student ambassador, a telephone fundraiser and mostly recently, a student resident assistant.
“These positions have been key to my professional development and have given me the opportunity to work with an array of amazing and dedicated teams. They have shaped my career interests and I would encourage all students to get involved in one way or another.”
Following her work with the Vine Trust, Nicole plans either to return to Aberdeen to complete her legal diploma, or possibly pursue a masters further afield.