LEANDRO Bertero describes the past six months as "overwhelming", but in the best possible way.
The native Argentine has been granted a visa to live in Australia, started studying in an area he is passionate about, was offered a job in the field and at the start of this week became engaged to his girlfriend of three years, Vanessa.
He has also taken one step closer to his goal of becoming a Newcastle-based accountant, after he received the $2500 Bean Counters Higher Education Scholarship at the Hunter TAFE Foundation Semester One Awards and Scholarships presentation in Kurri Kurri on Wednesday.
"I feel amazing," Mr Bertero said.
"I was not expecting it - so many people applied. To get this scholarship after my first semester is fantastic."
Mr Bertero, 38, is studying a Diploma of Applied Commerce at TAFE and hopes to attend university next year to complete an undergraduate degree in commerce.
"I've always loved numbers and been good at dealing with formulas and equations," Mr Bertero said.
"I went through different careers but always used to think this would be a great profession for me."
Mr Bertero studied biomedical engineering in Argentina and started an irrigation company.
He travelled to New Zealand in 2015 and onto Australia in 2016, where he met Vanessa in September.
They spent last year living in New Zealand, where Mr Bertero applied for a visa and completed an English proficiency exam so he could start studying.
The Hunter TAFE Foundation granted 23 students $17,500 worth of awards and scholarships. Mining Electrical and Mining Mechanical Engineering Society Scholarships valued at $2000 each were given to Certificate III in Mobile Plant Technology student Krystal Hickey and Certificate III in Electrotechnology student Oliver Davidson.
Diploma of Visual Arts student Lynelle Elliott received the City of Newcastle Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Scholarship, valued at $500, and said she wanted to pass on her knowledge to others.
"I find visual arts a great avenue for self-expression, culture and creative freedom," she said.
"This scholarship will enable me to... engage arts institutions, communities and businesses in the cross pollination of cultures, ideas, inspiration and collaboration."
Anna Bailey is one week away from completing her Certificate III in Travel and was one of 11 students who received a $500 Foundation Encouragement Award.
"I feel so proud," she said.
"It was a lot of work and a lot of study but I loved it - I didn't think I would love it as much as I did."
She experienced a major life change and decided to reconnect with her passions, including travelling.
She hopes to complete her diploma and a media course to start a travel blog and will soon start work with Scenic.
The full list
- Bean Counters Higher Education Scholarship (valued at $2,400)
- Leandro Bertero, Lakelands - Diploma of Applied Commerce at TAFE NSW Newcastle
- Mining Electrical and Mining Mechanical Engineering SocietyScholarship (valued at $2,000 each)
- Krystal Hickey, Paxton - TAFE NSW Certificate III in Mobile Plant Technology at TAFE NSW Muswellbrook
- Oliver Davidson, Mount Hutton - TAFE NSW Certificate III in Electrotechnology at TAFE NSW Glendale
- Sonia Walkom Memorial Scholarship (valued at $1,500)
- Leon Ryder, Mayfield - Certificate IV in Property Management Services at TAFE NSW Newcastle
- City of Newcastle Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Scholarship (valued at $500)
- Lynelle Elliott, Woy Woy - Diploma of Visual Arts at TAFE NSW Newcastle
- Study Assistance Scholarships (valued at $500 each)
- Caroline Ball, Metford - Diploma of Nursing at TAFE NSW Newcastle
- Megan Burley, Waratah - Advanced Diploma of Visual Arts at TAFE NSW Newcastle
- Macayla Conners, Aberglasslyn - Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing at TAFE NSW Scone
- Alexandra Pearce, Kurri Kurri - Diploma of Nursing at TAFE NSW Newcastle
- Michelle Schlig, Niagara Park - Certificate IV in Laboratory Technologies at TAFE NSW Ourimbah
- Zonta Club of Hunter Newcastle Scholarship (valued at $500)
- Jennifer Eze, Maryland - Certificate IV in Ageing Support at TAFE NSW Glendale
- Bean Counters Achievement Award (valued at $500)
- Renda Mruwey, Waratah - Certificate IV in Accounting or Bookkeeping at TAFE NSW Newcastle
- Foundation Encouragement Award (valued at $500 each)
- Amina Bi, San Remo - Diploma of Community Services at TAFE NSW Ourimbah
- Nicole Ramsay, Adamstown Heights - Certificate IV in Marketing and Communications at TAFE NSW Newcastle
- Anna Bailey, Aberglasslyn - Certificate III in Travel from TAFE NSW Hamilton
- Ellen Starrett, Merewether - Diploma of Marketing and Communications at TAFE NSW Hamilton
- Chantelle Thomas, Morriset - Certificate IV in Tertiary Preparation at TAFE NSW Wyong
- Isobel Heffernan, Hamlyn Terrace - Certificate IV in Tertiary Preparation at TAFE NSW Wyong
- Brenna Smith, Bolton Point - Diploma of Marketing and Communications at TAFE NSW Newcastle
- Ashlee Vernon, The Entrance North - Certificate IV in Tertiary Preparation at TAFE NSW Wyong
- Lily Rees, Islington - Diploma of Nursing at TAFE NSW Newcastle
- Bianca Racsits, Caves Beach - Diploma of Nursing at TAFE NSW Newcastle
- Jye Fawaz, Wattanobbi - Certificate IV in Tertiary Preparation at TAFE NSW Wyong