Why did you decide to study in the USA?
My decision to study in the USA is a combination of careful planning and passion for learning. I had always known for sure that I would go to the US because I liked the diversity and different opportunities here. So, when the chance came, I decided to take it and do it.
Why did you choose Goucher College?
Goucher College is really unique, and I couldn’t have made a better choice. I came here not only for the study abroad program, but I also for the people. The college is relatively small, and I get to know my professors really well. I’m also a student worker, so I have the chance to build close relationships with the staff. Here, everyone wants you to succeed, and there are resources that will help you for sure. And Baltimore is an incredible city with so much diversity, entertainment and cultural values.
What do you like best about your college?
Academically, I like the freedom to express my intellectual curiosity. I’m a triple major so I have a lot of interests in general. Sometimes the course content doesn’t align with what I have in mind, and the professor will agree and help me to execute what I want to do.
What do you miss most about home?
It’s always the food, especially around Lunar New Year. And my family, of course!
What was your biggest surprise about U.S. life and education?
Daylight saving time. Once, I came to work late because of this!
... your biggest disappointment?
I think for me, it’s the social issues that still persist in the US: racism, class struggles, etc.
How have you handled:
... language differences?
Language is not much an issue for me personally, but that’s because I made a lot of preparations in Vietnam through English courses. I also enjoy learning languages in general. I think Americans are pretty open-minded towards international students, so I don’t have too many worries.
Because international students cannot get student loans, I take care of my financial situation thanks to the generous scholarship from my college and on-campus employment.
... adjusting to a different educational system?
There was a lot to learn when I arrived. I think teachers are more low-key and relaxed, and there is more direct interaction between students and teachers.
What are your activities?
Peer Listening: a student-run program with the goal to provide safe places for students to share their challenges and struggles - Study Abroad - Library and Special Collections and Archives.
How easy or difficult is making friends in the USA?
I’m an introvert, so it was difficult at first. But I think Americans are open-minded enough for you to really mesh in with the culture.
What are your career goals? How is your U.S. education relevant to your personal goals and to the needs of your country?
I think I’m too young to know for sure what I want to do. I do want to complete a master’s degree in Library Science and Information after my graduation. And as I think there is still a lack of appreciation and equitable access for knowledge and information in Vietnam, I hope I can use my studies in the United States to do something for the people there.
What is your advice to other students from your country who are considering a U.S. education?
I don’t think studying abroad is ever going to be a wrong decision or the mistake of your life. I think the world has so much to offer that if it’s really what you want to do, and if you can afford to do so, do it. And it’s never too late to start an education or change your careers. Learning is really a life-long journey that will continue to enrich your database of experience and skills. On the other hand, it’s expensive and there are times when you will be really disappointed, but it’s part of the experience. And feeling extreme homesick is real. That’s why I recommend learning how to cook some Vietnamese food!