Khoa Trinh lives in a basement apartment in Côte-des-Neiges, “the quintessential immigrant neighbourhood,” he says with a laugh.
An undergraduate software engineering student in his second semester at Concordia, Trinh grew up in Vietnam. He came to Canada when he was 16 with the help of his parents, who saved up enough for him to attend Westmount High School in Montreal.
He decided to stay for CEGEP, even though the financial support from his parents ended when he graduated from high school. To afford his three years studying finance at LaSalle College, Trinh borrowed money from his extended family — money he paid back when school finished and he took a job at a bank. It took him just over two years to pay off the debt before Trinh decided he was ready to enrol at Concordia.
“In Vietnam, I was the only student taking notes at school with a pencil and paper; everyone else had a laptop,” he says. “It’s what developed my interest in engineering. I’d visit computer stores and spend two- to-three hours a week playing around on computers, trying to figure them out.”
Trinh is only five courses into his four-year program at Concordia, yet he’s making the most of his experience through the hands-on projects he works on academically, as well as the clubs and activities he participates in socially.
Trinh is a grateful recipient of the Broccolini Construction Undergraduate Bursary in Building Engineering. When he returned to university, he had decided to stop working to focus on his studies. The award helped him pay for two semesters of study.
“When I received the news about the bursary, I was on cloud nine,” Trinh says.
“It’s easy for immigrants to feel alone in a new country, without any support, but having this kind of support can be life-changing for someone like me. It really encouraged me to work harder — and for that I want to say thank you to donors of bursaries.”
After graduating from Concordia, Trinh first sees himself working as a software developer, before merging his experience in finance and engineering to take on a bigger project management role.