Old Boy Sean Riksen (2017), pictured above right, is a 2018 recipient of the Churchie Foundation ‘Overseas Study Scholarship’ for Old Boys. Sean is attending the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia and has penned the following recollections of his experience so far.

As my first year at Penn is coming to a close I thought I would write to you to provide a small update on the adventure thus far. Perhaps it would be nice to start with my realisation of how well Churchie prepared for me this environment. There are umpteen opportunities here to involve yourself in numerous academic, business and sporting clubs. For example, I have become entrepreneurship chair of Wharton Healthcare and have walked on to Varsity Rowing who had actually just raced against fellow Old Boy Alex Jeremijenko (2016) on the weekend. I am now pursuing pre-medicine as part of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and the culture here is very rigorous. The academics here are very challenging and again I felt very well prepared in the areas of chemistry and physics.

Outside of the school however, there has been a lot of self-learning. In the first semester, I did bite off a little more than I could chew, leading to an average of less than four hours sleep a night for three months. I do not recommend trying this. A big lesson has been that sometimes it can be a lot more fruitful to focus on what you want to really do, do that incredibly well and then, after this, start adding the nice accessories. As former Vice President of the United States Joe Biden said in his speech here last week, build the body and then add the radio.

Separate from this, it brought a smile to my face when Alex Chan (2018) messaged me with his good news from Georgetown. It’s great to see that the boys are still willing to pursue heading overseas.

Unfortunately, I will not be returning to Australia over the summer vacation as I will be working in Amsterdam.

In 2019, Churchie Foundation is again awarding the Old Boys Overseas Study Scholarships. Applications are now invited from Old Boys and current Year 12 students wishing to attend colleges or universities in the UK or USA. The application process will close on Friday 31 May. To find out more information or apply for a scholarship then please click here.