Senior Bao Tran Nguyen journeys from Vietnam to the United States

Senior Bao Tran Nguyen poses in her traditional school uniform in Vietnam.

Senior Bao Tran Nguyen immigrated to the United States from Vietnam in 2019.

“I came to the U.S. to find better opportunities for my education journey,” Nguyen said.

She was excited for her new journey in America where she would be able to meet new people and learn new things.

However, as excited as she was, leaving Vietnam was still something very hard on her.

“Having to leave my home country is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done so far. I felt sad when having to leave my school, my friends and people that I loved,” Nguyen said.

Since Tran immigrated more recently, she still clearly remembers what it was like the first time she arrived.

“I felt so lost and worried because everything was so new and different,” Nguyen said.

The start of her new journey was kind of rocky as she faced many obstacles that came with moving to a new foreign country.

“I had trouble adjusting to the weather, the language barrier, transportation. I also had problems with my mental health because I truly missed my old life in my home country,” Nguyen said.

Language was also another challenge even though she had previously learned English in Vietnam.

“English was still not my main language so I had trouble with listening and speaking in the first few months,” Nguyen said.

As the days went on, she started to adjust more so things eventually got better and easier for her.

Through all the challenges that she has faced on her journey, she has kept a positive outlook on the situation.

“I think changes are hard but we all need changes to be better,” Nguyen said.

There are many differences between Vietnam and the United States that Nguyen notices after living over a year here. Transportation and weather are significantly different.

“The main transportation in Vietnam is motorbike, and in the U.S. it’s cars. The weather in South Vietnam where I lived is always hot, while the U.S. has 4 seasons in a year,” Nguyen said”

There’s also differences that she notices in the school systems in both countries.

In Vietnam all students are required to wear school uniforms regardless if they attend a private or a public school.

In addition, Vietnamese students also don’t have the freedom to choose the classes they wish to take.

“Students in Vietnam can’t pick the classes they want to study, they have to study all the subjects,” Nguyen said.

Besides all the differences, she does find some similarities between the two countries with their friendly people and the high importance of education.

Nguyen is a very active member of the AHS community. She participates in many clubs.

“I’m a member of the ELL Access Committee and Anti-racism Education Committee in the AHS Equity team. I’m also a part of Asian American Leadership program, Green Atoms and Just World club,” Nguyen said.

Outside of school, Nguyen enjoys going to football and hockey games with her friends, trying new foods, exploring new places, and making friends with people.

However, she does miss some things she used to do in Vietnam that she can’t do here.

“I enjoyed bonding with my best friends, volunteering at an orphanage near my house, going to concerts, camping at my school. I especially enjoyed wearing Ao Dai- Vietnamese traditional dress to school every Monday,” Nguyen said.

She wanted to visit Vietnam last summer, however, due to the pandemic she was unable to return home to visit her family and friends.

“I plan to go visit next summer if things go back to normal,” Nguyen said.