Creating smiles through generosity

As the daughter of Vietnamese refugees, An Tran has seen her parents struggle and succeed at building a new life when their old ones had been devastated by the Vietnam War.

These experiences taught her the transformative power of grit and resilience, and the opportunity that comes from the generosity of donors.

“My parents had to go through a lot in their lives, so the lesson is that life isn’t fair, but you have to keep pushing through and make sure you learn from every obstacle you encounter,” Tran said.

“While I haven’t experienced even a fraction of their pain, my parents always encouraged me to work hard in order to give back to the Australian community and thank them for welcoming us with open arms.”

“My father has always emphasised that education is the most important thing; it lifts us up and allows us to develop skills that help us contribute to the community."

After graduating high school with outstanding marks, Tran chose to pursue a career in dentistry so that she could help others. 

But the thought of moving across the country to study at UQ, away from all of her support networks in Melbourne, seemed not only emotionally daunting, but also financially unattainable.

“I was scared to leave my family, but we also weren’t sure how we could make it work,” Tran said.

“Moving and living so far away from home would be extremely expensive, not to mention the cost of dentistry equipment and textbooks each semester.

“We were determined to try to make it work.”

Through a donor-funded Aspire Scholarship, Tran received enough support to buy her dental equipment and was able to budget for purchasing textbooks each semester, while also easing the need to work so many hours while studying. 

The Aspire Scholarships provide financial help in the first year of their degree when they need it most and are most vulnerable to dropping out. It has enabled students to concentrate on their studies rather than having to worry as much about making ends meet.

“I couldn’t have done it without the scholarship,” she said. 

“It helps me juggle the demands of dental school and the cost of living. It also allows me to honour my commitment to getting a university education.”

October 23rd is UQ’s Giving Day. You can be a ChangeMaker by supporting more talented students like An through the ChangeMaker Fund

Help students like An reach their potential.

100% of donor contributions go to the nominated cause.