HOMETOWN: HANOI, VIETNAM
MANHATTANVILLE COLLEGE IN PURCHASE, NEW YORK
DOUBLE MAJORL COMMUNICATIONS AND ENGLISH
Why did you come to the US to study?
My parents studied abroad when they were younger. They went to Russia, and that’s where they met and where I was born. So they always wanted me to go study abroad because they felt it would be a really good experience for me — to help me be independent and just grow as a person.
I wanted to come to the United States because I studied English in high school, so I thought it would be the best fit for me.
How did you pick Manhattanville?
I just browsed, really. I found out through the Internet.
I was interested in a school that gave a lot of financial aid for international students, and Manhattanville does that. I’m also interested in Communications, and Manhattanville is perfect because of its location. It’s right outside New York City.
Reid Castle, built in 1892, is the face of Manhattanville.
Do you have an internship? How did you get it?
I intern at Lincoln Center (in Manhattan) for their film society. I looked on the website , which said that anyone who is interested can send a resume and writing clip — so I did. They called me for an interview and I got it earlier this year.
What’s the most difficult thing you’ve had to adjust to in America?
Partly the language. I’m really good at writing, but when I came here I realized I wasn’t that good at speaking it. It’s a whole different thing to know how to write and speak the language. In Vietnam, they focus more on grammar than speaking.
Do you ever feel homesick?
Not really. I Skype with my parents a lot, and because I’m an only child I’ve always been really independent.
How do you spend your free time?
I go to the city a lot, mostly to museums and the movies. I also like going to thrift shops with my friends.
Students enjoy working outside of the library on a sunny day.
What’s your favorite place to study on campus?
I love studying in the stacks in the library. It smells a little weird there because of all the books, but I love that there is no WIFI there. I can do my work without any distractions.
What’s your favorite American dish?
Crawfish. Southern-style cooked crawfish is amazing! I really love seafood.
What surprised you most about the United States?
College in the US is portrayed as people partying all the time, so I was surprised to find out that it’s not actually like that. People here care about what they’re studying.
I’m really glad I met a lot of people at Manhattanville who are really passionate about what they’re doing. Also the relationship professors have with their students is very different here. (In the US) it’s great that students and professors get along so well and that professors actually care about you. In Vietnam, professors are like “God.” You can’t really even talk to them. They’re on another level than you. Here, it’s like a friendship, and I really like that.
What’s one of the best experiences that you’ve had?
Last semester I had an internship at ABC (TV). … I was on a mini movie set and got to see how they shoot a video from scratch, and I thought that was awesome. I was asked to be an extra, so one-fourth of my face became famous!
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone who wants to study in America?
I would say to be aware that even though it’s a lot of fun to study abroad, there is a lot that you have to pay attention to — especially financial issues. In Vietnam, when you study abroad, it’s not just for one semester; it’s for your whole college experience. It’s important to stay organized and know what you want to do.
What do you know now that you wish you knew before you came here?
I was just really shy before I came here and would mainly keep to myself. But probably because my job involves talking to people, I’ve gotten over being so shy. People are really nice here, and you should talk to them and be more open. That’s one thing that I wish I knew, so that I could have opened up right away.
What’s the biggest issue facing college student today?
Probably tuition and loans. I’m lucky enough that I don’t have any, but I can only image how hard it is. Also getting an internship is hard, but something you have to do!
What are your plans after you graduate?
I plan to go to graduate school for film studies.
BY PATRICIA RODRIGUEZ-DIAZ