Vietnamese student honored in Australia

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Dang Thi Huong (R) and Governor of Victoria Alex Chernov. PHOTO COURTESY OF KOTO.

The heart-warming story of Vietnamese student Dang Thi Huong has earned her top honors in Australia as the state of Victoria's top international student.

The state named her International Student of the Year and International University Student of the Year on November 14, Tuoi Tre newspaper reported.

A student at Box Hill Institute, a Victoria-based educational institute offering a wide variety of courses to both local and international students, Huong beats out 1,000 other international students to win the two awards.

The Victorian International Education Student award seeks to recognize international students and celebrate their outstanding contribution to Victoria.

As the recipient of these awards, Huong will receive a $20,000 scholarship to continue her studies at the RMIT Melbourne. She plans to go for Bachelor of Business Entrepreneurship degree after graduating from Box Hill Institute.

After becoming a trainee at KOTO (Know One Teach One), a local charity that provides training in hospitality to disadvantaged Vietnamese youth in 2006, Huong never finished regular secondary or high-school in Vietnam.

When she was 12, Huong had to quit school so that her brother and sister can continue their study as their mother got sick and could not support the family.

At the age of 13, she had to leave her hometown for Hanoi, where she lived by herself and did anything she could to earn money and help her family.

After graduating from KOTO, Huong got a job at a hotel in Hanoi and came back to support the kids at KOTO. In 2011, Huong was offered a scholarship at Box Hill to study hotel and restaurant managing.

With excellent achievements in her studies there, she was chosen to be an International Student Ambassador for Box Hill Institute and was honored with the two awards.

More than 17,500 Vietnamese students are currently studying in Australia.

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