HSSCU Scholarship Testimonial: Alexandria Aquino

News,Scholarships, Wednesday 11th August, by HSSCU

HSSCU Higher Education Scholarships

At HSSCU, we are passionate about helping our members with their educational pursuits. We are well aware that education can be one of the most important aspects of someone’s life and we are thrilled to help make it easier for our members. With that in mind, we provide €50,000 in scholarship funds each year. Whether studying for a degree, diploma, master’s, or any further education course, our members can apply for a HSSCU scholarship. So far we have helped with physiotherapy, art courses, disability studies, and more. What’s more, it doesn’t matter what year of your course you’re in! This year, we decided to extend our application closing date to September 17th due to the later Leaving Certificate results. Please see the below testimonial from one of last year’s winners – the lovely Alexandria Aquino!


Alexandria Aquino Testimonial


Credit Union Scholarship Winner - Alexandria Acquino with HSSCU


Hi Alex, tell us about yourself!


Being born in a developing nation, coming to Ireland as a child, I grew up with the idea that stability and job security were paramount above all. For that reason, I became a nurse. However, HSSCU’s Higher Education Scholarship allowed me to grow from solely a survival mindset to one of chasing a dream. That is why I am currently studying a Master’s in Marketing at King’s College London – to approach the intersection of marketing and wellness through a public health lens.


How did you hear about HSSCU’s Higher Education Scholarships?


I have been with HSSCU for a few years because it is one of the largest and most progressive credit unions in Ireland. And through miraculous coincidence, I heard about its Higher Education Scholarship while reading through one of their newsletters. When I considered applying, I did not think I had any chance. But the harsh realities that were presented last year forced me to reflect on the life I was living. It ignited my desire to explore the world’s treasure trove of possibilities that inevitably brought me to a crossroads of decisions. Could I, or better yet, should I pursue my dreams? Reading through the testimonials of members who were granted scholarships through HSSCU made me think yes, it was possible and, yes, it was okay to do so.


How did you find the application process?


I found the application process very quick and easy to manage. It involved filling in information regarding myself, the course details, and providing a 400-500 word essay about how the scholarship would mean to me. Because most of the process involved sharing my hopes and plans for the future, it suggested to me that HSSCU was truly personable and genuine in wanting to help its members.


How was it for you when you heard the good news?


When I received the call from HSSCU, I was in the kitchen with my family. I could scarcely say a proper full sentence and could only utter words of pure gratitude and unadulterated joy. And when I finished the call, my mother and I jumped from pure excitement over the bright future ahead.


How has the scholarship helped you with your education?


Undoubtedly, this scholarship has positively impacted my education. Receiving it has allowed me to unload much of the course’s financial burden. With that, I am able to spend more time and energy focusing on studies rather than on work. In fact, I have so far been able to maintain an average grade of first-class honours because of this. I would go as far as to say that the scholarship has been a big piece in the puzzle of what has created a strong foundation for supporting me in my success in pursuing a degree and, furthermore, excelling at that degree.


Not only has HSSCU’s Higher Education Scholarships program helped me with my education, but I have also been able to afford the flexibility to continue my community advocacy. International travel was rightfully limited during COVID-19; however, the blanket travel restrictions resulted in many binational families being separated. In May, I became a founder of Faces of Advocacy, a non-profit organisation dedicated to reuniting these families safely. Alongside my Canadian partner, we identified that this was destabilising to many Canadian families and petitioned the government for safe, compassionate exemptions. During our campaigns, we grew to over 10,000 members and have been mentioned in over 50+ articles, including CNN, New York Times (twice!), and USA Today. Because of the scholarship, I was able to prioritise more time into our campaigns, which resulted in our organisation being responsible for the Extended Family and Compassionate exemptions to the COVID-19 related Canadian travel restrictions. Most recently, we directly impacted Canada’s recent news of hotel quarantine exemptions for vaccinated family members, many of whom were separated due to the costs. I believe this scholarship has played a role in this success and, for that, I cannot thank HSSCU enough.


Would you recommend to other members to apply for a HSSCU scholarship?


I can only speak good things about HSSCU and its scholarship program. The application process is quick and easy, and the scholarship can be life-changing for many. And if that does not convince you then remember that, as Wayne Gretzky (arguably the greatest hockey player of all time) once said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”


Would You Like to Apply?


To apply for a HSSCU scholarship this year, simply visit our scholarships webpage and download our application form. We are very excited to be able to afford this opportunity to a host of new members this year. You can see a wonderful video testimonial from a previous winner Alan O’Connor on our YouTube page.


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