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Huong’s Box Hill Institute of Tafe

Huong went to Box Hill Institute of Tafe in early 2012 to study Business Management. And she really managed to pull out all the stops to start her life: her first uni experience.

It was the first time I’ve ever been on a plane and my first time going to Australia. I was very nervous. I didn’t know how to fasten my seatbelt, where the toilets were… My heart was beating so fast. Luckily, I stayed next to a person who knew KOTO very well and said he’ll help me out—he even changed his seat to sit next to me to show me around.

I have never been to another city in Vietnam, let alone so far away. Coming to Australia I got the culture shock and another big shock: I never studied as a ‘formal’ student and now I had to. Everything was so different. Not to mention the language barrier. One day, I simply thought that I won’t manage to pull this through. This was a place where everyone was so proactive whereas in my culture someone tells you what to do. Here, you tell people how you want to do it.

It was the first time I’ve ever been on a plane and my first time going to Australia. I was very nervous. I didn’t know how to fasten my seatbelt, where the toilets were… My heart was beating so fast.

Adapting to a new mind-set

I had to adapt to this mentality while working part-time in a five-star hotel, Sofitel Melbourne on Collins, Australia. One time when I thought I couldn’t pass an exam, one of my teachers, Ros, gave us a writing assignment and called for everyone’s attention: my work was set as an example. Everyone was clapping. I was so shocked. It was such a big moment of encouragement that later on I kept thinking that, actually, I am not that bad after all, I can do this. It was a very, very powerful message that she sent me that day.

My course was supposed to go on for one and a half years, but since I really wanted to remain in Australia and do a full Bachelor’s Degree, the university invited me to become their international student ambassador and also gave me another scholarship. I took the scholarship for my studies but I also had to work for my day-to-day expenses. Ah, I remember my teacher calling for me and giving the big news: I was invited to become a Victorian Government’s International Student Ambassador; the first thing that popped into my mind was… is it paid for?. Luckily, I received two awards which sent me on a new scholarship path that helped me plan for my BA application. But then, every university that I applied for asked me to complete two additional years for the BA. I didn’t want that. I was set on studying only one more year.

My course was supposed to go on for one and a half years, but since I really wanted to remain in Australia and do a full Bachelor’s Degree, the university invited me to become their international student ambassador and also gave me another scholarship.

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