Simran Pun: “In 21st century you will have to work with India”

Neena - simran pun










Simran Pun was travelling in India when Board of Education rang her with the news of her topping the state in Hindi

By Neena Badhwar

Simran Pun topped in Hindi Continuers in the state this year. It was a pleasure meeting her proud parents at the ”˜First in State Subject’ ceremony organised by NSW Board of Education. Her father Sunil Pun accepted the certificate on Simaran’s behalf as rightfully Simran was with her grandma in Bhatinda, India when she heard the great news. Simran’s mum, Simmi, a High School teacher, was at the ceremony too  when she said, not only just in  Hindi, she had helped Simran in all her other subjects.

Since Hindi is now slowly progressing with its national curriculum just released in December by ACARA, it was nice to know from Pun family that taking Hindi had really helped the ATAR achieved by Simran.

Simran was contacted by BOSTES when they informed her of her wonderful performance. TIDU got in touch with Simran and asked her how she went about her HSC and also about her Hindi exam which took a lot out of her time as she studied it from a Saturday School of Community Languages (SSCL, Liverpool) and was taught by Kulwinder Kaur.

Here’s the excerpt of our interview with Simran for the benefit of those who may be intending to take up Hindi as a 2 Unit subject:

Simran, How was your HSC journey?

It was a year of ‘discovery’, full of exciting and at times very demanding and stressful moments due to the very nature and structure of the HSC- assessments, exams and multiple conflicting deadlines. However, in hind sight it was a very rewarding experience as I found myself challenging my boundaries and being challenged by the expectations of my teachers, peers and family.

Did you come across some stressful moments and how did you handle the overall stress?

Yes, I found it quite stressful when there was more than one assessment due on the same day. I overcame it with  prioritizing  and planning my work load using the ever present support of my mother in getting my work completed in an organised manner.

You topped in Hindi …how did you manage to tackle the exam as well as the orals…what was your in-depth study topic?  

My in-depth study topic was PM Narendra Modi. This topic was suggested by my mother and supported by my teacher Ms Kulwinder Kaur, who helped me in preparing and  practicing  a  range of questions from different perspectives throughout the year. I also prepared a range of extended writing scaffolds on various topics in the syllabus in such a way that I could adapt, mould and transfer the content to fit any kind of question. I also worked along with my mother and teacher to refine and build my formal vocabulary, that was very handy for both the oral and written components of the exam. I attempted and completed past papers and a variety of practice questions, which were then marked and given feedback by Ms. Kaur.

What sort of resources you used to make your Hindi good enough for an HSC exam?

– Watching and listening to Indian news, current affairs, interviews and other formal TV programs.

– Listening to Mr. Modi’s speeches and interactions, which not only helped me with my topic but also enhanced my vocabulary and language skills.

– Conversing and practicing using formal Hindi vocabulary with my family.

– Reading online newspapers and staying up to date with a range of current topics and media issues. This enabled me to again polish my Hindi language skills related to various topics as well as to tackle such topics if asked in any format during the exam.

– My other 2 subjects, Society and Culture and Studies of Religion 1 were also connected to learning about my country and its culture, such as studying Hinduism and Buddhism in Studies of Religion and selecting the country, India, for my depth studies, Popular Culture (Bollywood) and Social Inclusion and Exclusion (Indian Women) in Society and Culture.

In what ways did the family put their effort in your endeavour to achieve good HSC outcome?

I am greatly indebted to my family for being there unconditionally at every step of my HSC journey. I started studying Hindi in Year 7 at Saturday School of Community Languages Liverpool Girls HS centre after learning the basics of this language from my maternal grandmother during my visits to India. For all other subjects, both my parents helped me directly or indirectly every single day by accommodating my requirements, school timetable, assessment deadlines and pushing me to do my best, staying positive and keeping me motivated and focused throughout the year.

Your dad mentioned that you have been offered a scholarship by the Western uni…what are you planning to study there?

Yes, I have been offered a scholarship for Academic Excellence by Western Sydney University to study the degree of my choice. If everything goes well, I intend to study a Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of International Studies or a Bachelor of Communications/Bachelor of International Studies.

What sort of study schedule you kept during HSC years?

Although I was advised to have a set study timetable and work accordingly, however despite my best intentions I never got around to have a timetable. Honestly, I have completed my HSC without a formal timetable but I studied consistently according to the demands of my subjects. Most of the time I worked through the syllabus and wrote and rewrote essays in preparation for school exams and the final HSC exams. I’m thankful to my teachers for their prompt feedback and helping me to continue polishing my answers till the last minute.

How have you fared in your other subjects?

I’m quite happy with my overall HSC marks in every subject. As I have come first in state for Hindi Continuers and achieved two Band 6s, my overall  ATAR is 94.5, which will definitely get me into the degree of my choice.

We are sure Hindi will help you in many ways in your career…can you elaborate?

I am passionate about learning my language, culture and all aspects of Indian society as it will definitely help my future education and career prospects. The 21st century’s reality is this that you cannot run away from India. You will have to work with India, with Indians whether in India or out of India. Henceforth, I feel advantaged that I am making use of my background positively by staying in touch with Hindi through my intended degree (Bachelor of Intl. Studies) and its Asian units of work.

You are spending special time with grandparents and the rest of the extended family…it would be exciting to see them and see India with them? Sharing your remarkable HSC achievement would have been a nice moment and the call from BOSTES would have been quite thrilling news…what do you have to say?

Neena - Simran with family









Simran with mum Simmi and grandma. “Grandma taught me the basics of Hindi which helped greatly,” Simran says.

It was very thrilling for my maternal grandmother to get a call from BOSTES advising me about my unexpected achievement as I was confident that I will come first in my centre but coming first in the state was a cherry on the cake. Of course, everyone in my family is elated with HSC marks and overall achievement. Everyone is celebrating and sharing my happiness and overall success.

How would you like to help the world through your contribution?

I would like to encourage all the Indian students and their parents living in Australia to learn their language and stay connected with their cultural heritage. Learning a language never harms you and is a very satisfying and rewarding skill because it gives one an edge in all fields, connects you with people and opens a window of opportunities. Similarly, I would use the language to connect with people, form positive relationships and utilise every opportunity to ‘Advance the Indian fair’.


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