Diversity at Nazareth is remarkable. Every one of us have or already had an international or exchange student in class at one point or another. But how many of us take a step further than just saying hi, how are you, or where are you from? There is no doubt Nazareth College is a diverse place. But are we really taking full advantage of this situation? (If you are not, you should.)
Our first interview is Duyen Nguyen from Vietnam. She discusses her experience of living in the United States and at Naz.
Duyen was born in a city called Hue in Vietnam. She and her family moved to the United States in February 11, 2011. I ask Duyen “What is your American Dream?” which is obviously cliche to ask an immigrant. She answers the question by rejecting the cliche and stressing the importance of individuality. “I don’t necessarily believe in the American dream but I believe in my dreams,” she says. Duyen is a freshman biology major with a pre-dental minor. Her goal is to graduate from Naz with a good GPA (by the way, she currently has a GPA of 3.6), get accepted to a dental school and eventually open up her own dental office.
I asked her to identify basic differences between living in the United States and Vietnam. There is generally a lot more freedom here. Some people are friendly, but some are not. Neighbors in Vietnam are more open and very friendly. Neighbors here aren’t as friendly but I don’t know, maybe it was just my neighborhood. Sadly, many people don’t take a step after saying “Hi, how are you?”And, I am not sure why but sometimes I feel unsafe outside probably because I hear a lot about kidnappers on the news. I am not very fond of the food or weather here, although I like chicken wings (but not hot dogs). On the other hand, school is way better in the U.S. and that’s the main reason I came here. Education and living conditions in Vietnam are poor compared to here.
I ask Duyen to list her favorite things about Naz. The campus is very peaceful and beautiful. Professors are very nice and understanding. There are also various opportunities for leadership positions and volunteering.
Then, we talk about the difficulties of living away from her native land and studying in a second language. Language can be a barrier. I feel like my accent prevents me from fitting in. Sometimes, I am afraid that people are going to make fun of me but I force myself to overcome my fear.
Naz campus is a great environment to make friends from all over the world. If you have a list of countries to travel in the future, like myself, you can even visit the friends you make here in their native land and ask them for guidance.
Photo credit: Esma Simsek