Why did you decide to study in the USA?
My parents taught me that knowledge is really important in life, and ever since I was in high school I wanted to pursue my education in a country that has a high quality of education. I really wanted to experience an environment where friendship between students and professors is possible. A place where people encourage each other to grow. The USA education is the definition of what I want.
Why did you choose this particular college or university?
I spent a summer at a camp in Boston. When I was there I had an advisor who helped direct me to the right college path. She asked me what criteria about a college was most important to me. I grew up in the biggest city in Vietnam, so I wanted to experience somewhere that's natural, where there's four seasons, not just hot like it is over here. Another important thing to me, is that the environment has to be friendly and encourage me to grow. I want to be friends with professors and I want to have relationships with them. She suggested that I seriously consider SUNY Plattsburgh to find what I wanted.
What do you like best about your program or university?
I have to say that it is the professors. They are the people who encourage me the most here in my education. It was really challenging for me to say goodbye to my family and go halfway around the earth to study. I could tell that my professors really care about me beyond the classroom level. They would always ask me how I was doing. For holiday breaks they would ask if I had any plans or if I was going home. They really care about my well-being and that always encouraged me to do my best academically.
What do you miss most about home?
I miss my family and my dog the most. But I have really adapted to life here, so I can also say that whenever I go home, I miss Plattsburgh. Now I can’t claim that I have only one home, because it also feels like home here.
What was your biggest surprise about U.S. life and education?
The traffic actually stops for you when you want to cross the street! This is not something that happens a lot in my home country. I could not believe that it was a normal thing that drivers are expected to do.
... your biggest disappointment?
It is hard to say. Every place has their own flaws, but honestly, I can’t think of one thing right now.
How have you handled:
... language differences?
By speaking it every day. The more you speak it, the more you get used to it. Slang words were a big challenge for me at first. These are the words that only the local people understand and that are not taught in a textbook.
I consider myself lucky to be born in a family that could send me to the USA to study. My parents worked really hard for this, and I appreciate it. I got a job on campus as a resident assistant and that helped tremendously with finances.
... adjusting to a different educational system?
It was amazing. I was more stressed in my senior year in high school than I was here until my senior year inside. I know for me personally, I think I handle pressure quite well.
What are your activities?
I was a voting member of the College Auxiliary Services executive board where I helped to pass through policies. I am a resident assistant, and I was also the president of the Honors Student Association for one year.
How easy or difficult is making friends in the USA?
Personally, I didn't have difficulty making friends. I consider myself to be quite busy, so for me to spend time making friends is a luxury for me. I have always found people who get along with me. I have made friends with some other Vietnamese students, and we hang out together once in a while, or eat lunch together.
What are your career goals? How is your U.S. education relevant to your personal goals and to the needs of your country?
I am graduating soon, so my goal is to find an OPT job in the U.S. My business department has supported me a lot. My professor told me about job opportunities, and the Career Development Center gave me advice, looked at my resume, and directed me to different companies. My major field is growing tremendously in the U.S. and there are also a lot of opportunities for this career in Vietnam.
What is your advice to other students from your country who are considering a U.S. education?
I want them to know that when you're 18 years old and you're coming to the U.S., it is fine if you feel that you are not sure about what you want to do. When you go to the U.S., and specifically our school, you can change your major more freely. I came here for international business, and then changed to global supply chain management. I have a passion for music, so I also decided to double major in music.