In today article of Life Here and There, we interview a young Vietnamese woman whom is currently living in America, a freshman of Orange Coast College. She has quickly integrated with the America culture and is currently happily living with her wonderful life. She is Steph Nguyen.
You are living with your sibling right? It must be very exacting?
Currently, I am in Orange County, South California. I’m living with my aunt and my two brothers. My life is very good right now, here I met many friends from many places, from difference countries, I learnt many thing from them, like how to communicate, their cultures and most important is their life skills.
Can you describe your everyday life?
It is usually every busy. Most of my time is spent on working as a volunteer for NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illnesses) and practice Muay Thai.
What is your major? And is it what your truly wish for in a career?
I’m major in psychology. My dream is to help those with mental illness from the pain within them. My biggest goal is to go back to Vietnam and become a speaker to teach and help other with mental illness.
Back then in Vietnam, living with your family support and care taking from your parents as well as your family members. Going to America, you must have doing a lot of things by yourself, how did you feel when you have to live far away from parents as you study in America?
The first 6 months living far away from Vietnam, my parents, my friends and those whom close to me, I felt very lonely. Even after being here with my aunt and 2 brothers, being surrounded by my 2 brothers and their friends, I still feel that it is so difference from Vietnam. I was truly shock after having to leave everything behind and continuing my life in a strange new place.
Can you tell us more about your experiences and discoveries as well as your feeling in this new land, about friends, weathers, trees, foods and other things… I really want to hear every little details of the American life through the eyes of a young woman who is nurturing her dream and desire.
Because I’m living in Orange County, there a lot of Vietnamese peoples, that is why when I first arrive, I didn’t have any problem with the language barrier or making new friends. But the weather was very harsh. The first winter here was truly a challenge for me. When I was in Sai Gon it was always sunny but when I’m here and have to face the freezing winter, just imagine it was terrifying. And because of the weathers my study also got interrupted. It was so cold all I want to do was sleeping therefore I missed my classes and make it difficult for me to focus. The food here is nothing compares to Vietnam, I remember the first time I ate Com Tam in America, it was so bad it almost make me cried. It has no flavor unlike in Vietnamese. But what this place made up for is its theme park like Disneyland, Six Flags, Knotts Berry Farm. shopping malls, gorgeous beaches, endless fields of sunflowers and majestic mountains. Swimming in the vast ocean or hiking to the top of a mountain, make me realize how grand this world is and it make you want to explore it all.
When you or a person with multiple nationality. You get to travel to many places, it good for your mind and soul.
We know that back when you still live in Vietnam, you were very good with the piano, are you still playing it now?
Yes, on a daily basis. Over here, I still have a piano like in Vietnam so luckily I didn’t have to lefts that hobby behind. My piano is also my friend. In good time or bad, I would always sit and play it. When I miss my family and home I would play on it to ease my heart, I love to play piano very much.
One time, through youtube, I saw your performance as the lead role in a musical with all your friends from around the globe, I love it so much that I have to watch it repeatedly. It seem you have truly integrated with the environment. Can you tell me more about that.
That was when I’m in the 12th grade of Fairmont high school. I was in charge of the lead role from the Legally Blonde musical. Back then I was very energetic so that role was quite perfect for me. My favorite hobby is to sing and perform on stage. So you know, I was very happy to be a part of the show. We practice a lot. 6 hours a day after school, 4 times a week.
Usually at a performance I not very confident because I nervous in front of the crown. But somehow when it came to this play, it like I was came to live on the stage. I give all I got and my effort paid off. The play leave many memories deep in me it help me realize that I can overcome any fear. As long as I have the will and courage to face it.
There this very interesting detail in my life that is the trip to New York last year. I was 18 then and was starting my freshman year in university. Once again I have to deal with environment change. But here it was difference, I was all alone with no one by my side. Everything I have to take care of by myself and at school I only have 5 friends that is Vietnamese and very few Asian peoples. It was a very interesting trip. Here it completely difference from Orange County, I got to work and study with many white American from the North side of the Country. They have difference life style, from dressing and behavior. I got to live by myself, living in a dorm room with a roommate, interact with many peoples from difference regions. I think that is one of the best thing when living and studying in America.
Thanks you steph Nguyen, we wishing you achieve both perfect health and highest dream.