A world of opportunities: an architect’s journey to India

In 2019, Ridho Cairns was on the brink of dropping out of his Master of Architecture course when the welcome news came through that he had received the Anthony Auh Chew Kang Scholarship.

After moving from Queensland to Melbourne to attend university, Ridho was struggling to balance work and study and was worried he wouldn’t be able to fulfil his ambition to work in India as an architect. He says the Scholarship was a game changer.

Ridho Cairns Anthony Auh Chew Kang Scholarship

“The primary challenge was financial stability, as it was becoming evident that I would not be able to both work and study. The best result I could imagine for myself was that I would barely scrape through, rather than succeed or excel like I had done during my undergraduate studies.”

The Singaporean Kang family generously created the Scholarship in memory of their late father, who also studied at the University of Melbourne and went on to forge a career as a successful architect.

“Aside from being astounded, happy, and relieved, I also felt deeply honoured. I had the great opportunity to meet Kevin Kang the very next day upon receiving news of the Scholarship and listened to him speak of the values his father taught him to live by,” says Ridho.

That sentiment has carried through to Ridho’s professional life and helped him develop his own work ethic.

Ridho on an architecture site in India

“It opened the door for me to completely focus on my studies, alongside some architecture-related work, to develop personal discipline and a work ethic that I have carried onto my professional life. This Scholarship enabled me to test and go beyond my limits while a student,” he says.

Ridho’s interest in working in India came through a personal relationship and, after visiting the country several times, he developed strong connections with Indian architects and moved there post-graduation to follow them up.

He hopes to soon oversee the construction of a 10-metre span loadbearing brick dome, part of the project he is currently working on, in between updating his blog about living and working in India and thinking about writing a book on a house he admires.

My family benefitted tremendously from the education we received at the University of Melbourne and we wanted to pay it forward by establishing the Anthony Kang Scholarship.

Since getting to know them, we have been blessed by the friendships forged with the scholarship recipients, Ridho and Clinton. They have the most wonderful outlook on life and are a true inspiration to us and many others out there. Ridho and Clinton are a real credit to both their families as well as the University of Melbourne. We continue to be inspired by them and cheer for their continued happiness and success in life.

Kevin Kang, Kang family member