Volunteering abroad builds skills and insight for scholarship recipient

Posted: Wed, 15th August 2018 | Written by: The Team at Western Chances

Physiotherapy student Song-Tinh Le greatly valued his volunteer stint in Vietnam, as it put his studies into a real-world context and provided hands-on experience for his career.

Volunteering abroad builds skills and insight for scholarship recipient

Western Chances scholarship recipient Song-Tinh Le, is in his third year of a Bachelor of Applied Science/Master of Physiotherapy Practice at La Trobe University. This semester he’s preparing for upcoming clinical placements.

“I'll be in hospitals practicing physiotherapy as a student which I'm very excited about!”

As part of his physiotherapy studies, Song-Tinh recently volunteered in Vietnam working with children with disabilities. The trip provided a valuable development opportunity.

“It was an eye-opening experience, and has given me a deeper understanding into what physiotherapy can do for the community, both here in Australia and overseas. I travelled to a lot of different orphanages and disability clinics and it really put my studies into context. I think getting that real life, hands-on experience was something that can put me in great stead moving forward in my degree.

“A lot of what physiotherapists do can be pretty manual and hands-on, but that's just a portion of what they do as health professionals. Much of what physiotherapists do involves exercise prescription and education, and you really need to be a people person to do your job well. That's something that I've learnt when I was volunteering in Vietnam, and I now have a deeper understanding of what these families go through.

“As a Vietnamese-Australian, who was born in Vietnam I now have a much greater appreciation for my culture and heritage and this experience has made me so proud to be Vietnamese.”

Song Tingh arrived in Australia in 1997, Song-Tinh lives in St. Albans, and went to high school at St. Albans Secondary College.

“Western Chances has been supporting me for a long time now, and I can still remember the news I got when I got the scholarship from them!”

Song-Tinh received his first Western Chances scholarship when he was in Year 10in 2013 when he was nominated by his teacher for being outstanding in all his subjects and undertaking accelerated maths studies and JapaneseSong-Tinh has been successful in having his scholarship renewed in 2014, 2015, 2016, 20174 and 2018 He has received funding for a laptop, study trips, textbooks, MYKI and stationery

“The scholarships have given me the financial security to pursue physiotherapy. I have a lot of contact hours and live quite far away from La Trobe, so juggling a part time job would've made it all the more difficult for me. Western Chances have also been one of my best advocates when it comes to applying for jobs and other opportunities.

“Western Chances have been generous in their faith in me, and have been able to offer me opportunities to apply for other scholarships, as well as participate in programs like the Trinity College Young Leadership Program, which has been my most memorable summer high school experience to date. I am always grateful for how much they believe in me and it has really nurtured my confidence and ambitions.”

Song-Tinh’s big dream for the future is constantly evolving.

“If you'd asked me this a couple years ago I would've told you that I was absolutely certain I wanted to be a paediatric physiotherapist working with children. But honestly, there are so many options and specialisations afforded to us as physiotherapy students that I'm not quite sure where I'll end up. But for now, I'd love to work in a big hospital working with a variety of patients. But like I said, I'm starting to learn more about my options and excited with where I'll end up in the future as a physiotherapist.”

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