Anh Nguyen from Vietnam: Studying Journalism at Temple University in Philadelphia
Why did you decide to study in the USA?
Vietnamese culture considers a good education the foundation of society. The United States stands out with a world-class educational system that values well-rounded development and hands-on experiences for students. By being a learner and doer, I feel at home studying at Temple, which is helping me become a future global citizen.
Why did you choose Temple University?
The first thing I loved about Temple was its campus and location. I am amazed by Temple’s resources for students, the high level of faculty and staff, and the abundance of student activities. Philadelphia is a growing hub for technology. It also offers ample cultural and historical destinations and numerous internship opportunities with national and international corporations.
Last but not least, I was enticed by the diversity at Temple. My friends come from nearly 80 countries in the world and are from all over the United States. I learn from my friends as much as I learn in class.
What do you like best?
What I like best about my program is the faculty and staff. I’m welcomed as more than a student, but as a friend and future colleague as well. My professors are all really accessible. In my freshman year, the school hosted “Lunch with the Dean” for students, where I had the opportunity to talk about my experience as an international student.
I feel understood and my opinions, whether right or wrong, are always taken into consideration. The Temple classroom setting, where students and professors are learning together, encourages me to speak my mind and contribute ideas.
What do you miss most?
I miss Vietnam and the warm weather. But what I miss most is my family.
What was your biggest surprise?
No matter how well prepared I thought I was about the U.S., I still experienced culture shock. The biggest surprise is the diversity. It took some time to understand all the accents I encounter everyday.
... your biggest disappointment?
The distance. Everything outside of the city is farther away from each other in the U.S.
How have you handled:
... language differences?
I am not ashamed to ask people to repeat a sentence again and help me fix my pronunciation.
Thanks to a generous scholarship from Temple, the financial weight on my parents’ shoulder was lifted. I live off-campus now because the rent is cheaper. Budgeting is important so you don’t overspend.
... adjusting to a different educational system?
In my country, it’s rude to speak without being invited directly by the older person or a teacher. Therefore, when I saw American students energetically participate in class discussion, I felt a little left behind and didn’t know what to do. I was intimidated. I quickly adapted, and everything’s okay now!
What are your activities?
As a student worker, I intern with the IELP - Intensive English Program Language within Temple. I have a great time working with international students like me. The job offers a professional working environment and extra money that I can use toward food and books.
How easy or difficult was making friends?
American students are really friendly and open. In my experience, if you start a conversation with them, they will talk back and listen to you attentively. However, since I didn’t know a lot about the things they were interested in, at first, our conversations usually started and ended with classes and homework. I improved the situation by finding shared values: Temple football, music and artists. Now, making friends is super easy!
How relevant is your U.S. education to your personal goals and to the needs of your country?
I want to become a data journalist and contribute to the transparency of my government. The U.S. is the world’s leader in this field. Resources are abundant and accessible. Since Philadelphia is the birthplace of the modern press, I chose the right place to start by coming to Temple University.
What is your advice to other students who are considering a U.S. education?
Know the area and school type: Do you prefer a rural or urban campus? Liberal arts college, public or private university?
Learn about the school’s reputation: Does it offer what you want to study? What do others think about your school? What are the post-graduation employment prospects?
American culture and lifestyles: Avoid culture clashes by being open-minded. Remind yourself you are here to learn new things every day.
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