Three Vietnam exchange students find home at Newman

Sep 18, 2019
Newman University

As high school exchange students from Vietnam, Minh Vo Pham, Minh Nguyen, and Hy “Emily” Hua found a home in Wichita. Now they have found a home at Newman University as they continue to live with their host families and attend college.

Minh Vo Pham 

Pham came to Newman from Kapaun Mount Carmel High School.

What has your experience been like studying in America?

My experience has been great so far, especially in college. Specifically, I don’t write any notes down on paper like in high school. I just type them out on my Mac. They will all be synced to my iCloud account, so I can review them on any devices I have. It’s convenient.

Why did you choose to continue your education at Newman?

Minh Vo Pham

I chose it because my older cousins are students at Newman currently, and it’s a good university for studying medicine.

What are your goals and aspirations?

My goal is to study well, get good grades and become an architect in the future.

What are the differences in education in Vietnam and here?

In Vietnam, I had to learn everything by heart for almost every exam, which was on average, almost two pages with full words per test. Here, I don’t need to do that anymore, just go over the notes I took, read and review!

Minh Nguyen 

Nguyen also came to Newman from Bishop Carroll Catholic High School.

What has your experience been like studying in America?

I have been here for five years, and everything has been pretty good so far. I did struggle a bit when I first came here, culture-wise and with other stuff, but it did not take a long time for me to adjust.

Why did you choose to continue your education at Newman?

Minh Nguyen

To me, what matters the most is the environment and what you can extract from being a Newman student. Also, when I met with some Newman science faculty during my senior year in high school, I got a great vibe from them that really drew my attention.

What are your goals and aspirations?

My biggest, but not the final, goal is to become a cardiothoracic surgeon with a Ph.D. under my belt. However, this only contributes to my aspiration of providing free heart surgeries for a lot of underprivileged children in Vietnam and other parts of the world.

What does your education mean to you and your parents?

As the son of an English teacher and a math teacher, education plays a huge role in my family. However, we believe that education includes not only the attaining of knowledge from schooling but also how we perceive the world and react to social issues. This really encourages me to go out and explore the world to further refine my education.

What are the differences in education in Vietnam and America?

The structure, in general, is fairly different from the States. Vietnam middle school goes from sixth grade to ninth grade, then high school goes from 10th to 12th. Also, all transitions to a higher level of education require a specific test given by the city’s department of education. Vietnamese colleges also offer only specific majors within a campus. For instance, all medicine-related majors will be put in one school, and all business-related majors will be put in one. This system helps with the general environment, but it makes changing majors really difficult as you will have to retake the national college entrance exams. 

Hy “Emily” Hua

Hua came to Newman from Wichita Collegiate School.

What has your experience been like studying in America?

So far, my education and experience in America can be described in one word — bittersweet. It would be a lie if I said that I did not encounter any challenge or difficulty in America. However, those unpleasant experiences helped shape the person who I am today and most importantly made me become a stronger and better person. At the same time, I had many great experiences, such as learning American culture and education and reading good books that completely changed my perspective of the world. Therefore, I have always cherished every moment I spend in America, whether I am going through a smooth or rough time. I would not have had a huge transformation if I had not chosen to study in America.

Why did you choose to continue your education at Newman?

Hy “Emily” Hua

There are three reasons why I chose to invest in my education at Newman University. First, it is a small, private college that focuses on not only developing personal academic but also nourishing personal faith and philosophy. And I think this is why the school has such a special name — Newman. We will gradually transform ourselves into a new individual after receiving an education here. Second, I can establish an intimate relationship with my advisor, who can help me make the best decision while I am attending college. Third, the school is close to my house. 

What are your goals and aspirations?

I have a lot of goals, but I find these are most important, such as graduating with a science degree, starting my own business, traveling around the world, reading great books, learning French, having a healthy body, retaining a positive mindset and exploring delicious food. For aspirations, I would hope that I can reciprocate what my parents have sacrificed and how they have loved me unconditionally during my journey in the United States. Without their support, I could not pursue my education smoothly. Also, if possible, I would hope to become a fearless, academic, independent, healthy and happy individual.

What does your education mean to you and your parents?

To our family, education means not only being successful in academics or work-related fields but also occupying a kind heart in life. 

What are the differences in education in Vietnam and the United States?

I would say there are two huge differences in education between Vietnam and here. Students have an opportunity to discuss their opinion more often. Also, we are given space to exceed our imagination and learn exploration skills.