Warrane College UNSW | college accommodation for students at UNSW
Warrane College UNSW | college accommodation for students at UNSW

All-rounder wins sporting scholarship


The winner of Warrane’s 2012 Sporting Achievement Scholarship, Sebastian Burfitt, is an all-rounder, both on and off the sports field.

Among the sports he competed in at high levels while at school were Rugby, Cricket, Soccer, Athletics, Cross Country and Touch Rugby. But he says one of his biggest achievements was working his way through touch rugby from local and zone levels through to the Association of Independent Co-Educational Schools (AICES) touch rugby carnival.

He was then selected to represent AICES at the NSW Combined Independent Schools (CIS) tournament and for this achievement, he received “Colours” from AICES – an award recognising excellence in a particular sport.

Sebastian also represented the CIS at the state athletics carnival in the 1500 metres event.

Earlier this year, his Rugby career entered a new phase when he was selected to represent NSW in the NSW Suburban Rugby Union team.

“We played Queensland and NSW Country,” he says, “and I was selected in the first fifteen over seven thousand players.”

Before launching into his Economics/Arts course at UNSW, Sebastian decided to broadened his experience by taking a gap year and launching into full-time work and overseas travel. For much of the year he worked for a carpet cleaning firm, Butler Carpet Cleaning, working on carpets, tiles and upholstery in domestic and commercial buildings.

“I was often required to get up before six in the morning and have places cleaned before they opened for trade,” he says. “It was very tough at times, but a valuable experience.”

In mid-August, Sebastian had saved enough to set off for Pamplona in Spain for an International Spanish Course which drew hundreds of students from all over the world. He says his language skills benefited from staying with a Spanish family, forcing him to speak Spanish full time.

“Thanks to that I returned to Australia with quite fluent Spanish,” he says.

While in Europe, he took the opportunity to travel to many cities, including Rome, Paris, Biarritz, Brussels, Bruge and many places within Spain – “an extremely memorable experience”.

On returning to Australia, Sebastian set about helping to organise a work camp in Fiji. The camp, organised by the Nairana Study Centre in Sydney’s north west, was the third overseas social service project that he has taken part in. It was centred in Vuake, a village in the northern Yasawa Islands of Fiji.

“We stayed there for three weeks and built a plumbing system which connected to a toilet and shower block which we also built,” Sebastian said.

“We also re-painted and renovated an old beaten-down convent that they now use for housing.”

When he returned from Fiji in late January, Sebastian took up work with Butlers once more to save a bit of money for university.”

Sebastian says the Warrane scholarship will help with his residential fees at Warrane, which he has to finance himself with part-time work. He says he is grateful for the financial help because he would otherwise have to work longer hours, taking away valuable time that he could be using to play sport for the College and to study.

“Thanks to the scholarship, the financial stress of living at Warrane has been softened,” he says, “and I am more able to contribute more wholeheartedly to the College.”