Student navigates cultural tension
Born and raised in Vancouver, Joti Bhangle spent her formative years speaking Punjabi, practicing Sikhism, and living in tension between tradition at home and western influences everywhere else. Bhangle’s parents immigrated to Canada from India 30 years ago and, she says, continue to adhere closely to their cultural heritage.
Bhangle recently graduated from Trinity Western University with a Bachelor of Arts in Geography, Linguistics, and Spanish. Her story of leaving the security of her upbringing is one that crosses borders, cultures, and faiths.
In her late teens, Bhangle was introduced to Christianity—and discovered how different it was from the religion of her childhood. “The main thing that struck me about Jesus was that He wanted to know me,” she said. “I could have conversations and a relationship with Him, which I never knew before that.”
A mentor of Bhangle’s pointed her in the direction of Trinity Western; it seemed like the perfect place to connect with other Christ-followers and grow deeper in her newfound faith.
But while Bhangle’s desire to attend TWU was strong, there were two things standing in the way. First, her parents wouldn’t approve her choice to attend a Christian university, and second, without their financial support, she wouldn’t be able to afford the tuition.
Despite her apprehension, Bhangle applied and was accepted to TWU. She also applied for endowment and scholarship awards, and, to her surprise, was selected as a recipient. “I was thrilled when I received them,” she said. “I knew there was no other way I’d be able to afford to study at Trinity Western.”
Five years later, Bhangle leaves TWU with a degree, a large community of lifelong friends, and a thriving Christian faith.
Looking back, Bhangle is grateful for the opportunity she was given to study at TWU. “Someday I would love to give back to the Trinity Western community,” she said. “I want to impact a student the same way I was impacted.”