Cash lightens the load

Link Housing scholarship helping student juggle university and family duties


Sangyal Choedon has been awarded a scholarship from Link Housing. Picture: Adam Ward

SANGYAL Choedon is not your average uni student.

Instead of juggling her studies with part-time work like many other young adults, she is also the household interpreter and administrator (looking after bills and paperwork) for her Indian parents.

And now her hard work has paid off.

Miss Choedon, 20, has been awarded a $3200 scholarship from community housing provider, Link Housing.

The Dee Why resident will use the grant to further her international business studies at La Trobe University’s Sydney campus.

“Like many eldest children in non-English speaking families, I’ve been helping my parents for a long time because it is my responsibility,” Miss Choedon said.

“My parents left India for a better life and more freedom as well as the educational opportunities for me and my brother and sister.

“I am grateful to them, but sometimes it’s hard to be at home helping when I have other stuff to worry about, and I’m busy at uni and work

– it can be overwhelming.

“In the future I might leave home, but not in the near future so this scholarship is helping to ease some of the financial stress (of HECS).”

Link Housing chief executive Andrew McAnulty said the scholarship program encouraged those who had skills, talent and the desire to achieve in their chosen field.

“By providing financial assistance, we can help our tenants embrace new opportunities, experiences and hopefully, achieve their goals,” Mr McAnulty said.

Born in Dharamsala in India, Miss Choedon arrived in Australia with her family in 2005 when she was eight.

She started Year 2 at Dee Why Public School and can remember it being like a “new world”.

“The culture was so different and at that age it was a bit scary because I didn’t know anyone,” she said.

“I learnt English at school and I help my parents by translating for them everywhere we go because they only know basic English.

“I know it will get better though because my younger brother and sister are starting to help out, and I’m determined to finish my degree.

“When it gets hard I just remember, the more experience you get, the more you know.”

Miss Choedon’s income from working as an office assistant also goes towards supporting her family.

After she finishes her degree she would like to enter the business world, possibly in a managing or marketing role.

The annual scholarship program is open to all Link Housing tenants aiming to excel in areas such as education, sport, music or other extra-curricular activities.

Since the inception of the scholarship program in 2013, 29 scholarships worth more than $100,000 have been awarded.

‘‘ Like many eldest children in non-English speaking families, I’ve been helping my parents
Sangyal Choedon