Parthenon in Athens, Greece

An educational odyssey

2 November 2022
A scholarship supporting Greek language and culture
A gift by one of Australia’s most well-known and successful Greek-Australians is helping Evangelia Sakarellou expand her educational horizons.
Associate Professor Anthony Dracopoulos presenting the certificate for The Politis Scholarship to Evangelia Sakarellou

Associate Professor Anthony Dracopoulos, Chair of Modern Greek and Byzantine Studies, and Evangelia Sakarellou at the School of Languages and Cultures 2022 Award Ceremony

In 2018, the same year Evangelia Sakarellou was listed in the HSC Top Achievers for Modern Greek Continuers and Extension, Nick Politis AM made a generous gift to the University of Sydney to establish in perpetuity The Politis Family Scholarship in Modern Greek / Byzantine Studies in honour of his family and his Kytheran Greek roots.

Like Mr Politis, the 2021 recipient of the Politis Family Scholarship Evangelia was born in Greece and has maintained a love and admiration for Greek language and culture ever since. She arrived in Australia in 2017 and was drawn to study at the University of Sydney by the reputation of the “amazing language department in Modern Greek”.

The University of Sydney offers a degree which gives me the flexibility I am looking for in my studies and I was excited to open my horizons as the areas of study I chose are extremely multidimensional.
Evangelia Sakarellou, Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Advanced Studies student and 2021 recipient of the Politis Family Scholarship

Evangelia says she’s really honoured to have been selected for the scholarship and thankful to Mr Politis “for providing this opportunity to students studying the Greek language and Byzantine studies, as few scholarships exist for these studies and students really stand to benefit from it.”

The generous scholarship award has made a huge difference for Evangelia and helped her financially during hard times.

“Receiving this scholarship was extremely beneficial as it aided me with my educational expenses,” said Evangelia. “It made possible for me to feel more independent and assisted me in applying for my virtual exchange unit at the time which involved some additional expenses.”

One of Australia’s most successful businessmen, Nick Politis came from humble beginnings. Born in Kythera, he moved to Australia with his family in 1950, sponsored by another Kytheran family. Nick was educated at Ipswich Grammar School and the University of Queensland.

He was made a Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia in 2014 for significant service to rugby league football as an administrator.

As a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Advanced Studies student majoring in International Relations and Psychology, Evangelia says she has enjoyed “the diversity of units that exist and the fact that I have the chance to meet and learn from so many prestigious academics.”

She has taken advantage of some of the diverse language units of offer. In July 2021, she undertook an online Open Learning Environment (OLE) In-Country unit, Experience the Arab World, which she says is one of the highlights of her studies so far.

“It is an eye-opening experience that brings you closer to other people and their cultures…You can connect with others in a unique way and gain life-long experiences that you wouldn’t otherwise. Taking part in an in-country experience is relevant to any discipline and it provides you with essential global skills.”
Evangelia Sakarellou on the OLE in-country unit, Experience the Arab World (July 2021)

This year she has entered her advanced coursework year, ready and excited for what’s ahead. She hopes, one day, to apply for a master’s degree in Human Resource Management. Just at the beginning of her educational odyssey, the horizons certainly look bright for this bright student – thanks to Nick Politis’ generosity and vision.

Hero image by Spencer Davis via Unsplash

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