Lecturers, Peers, Friendships
During those first days in Melbourne, I had a really good friend – Syanon Munning – who lived near to where I lived. We went running together and we usually went to school together. We did so many things together that it created a lot of memories for both of us and we are still good friends today.
I remember how nervous I was when I came to campus on the first day for orientation but then Joy, the English teacher from International Student Services, asked where I had studied English and when I told her that I was studying at KOTO where I studied and worked before, she revealed that she had lived in Vietnam for 5 years and knew KOTO very well. That simple connection made such a difference to my start at Box Hill. She introduced me to a bunch of people later and we continue to be friends.
I loved Rosemary the most – she was the Head of Commerce. Due to my scholarship paperwork, I was two weeks late for the start of the course and she worked hard to support me, helping me get everything done and advising me about which subjects to learn. As soon as she understood my situation she sent out an email to all teachers and supporting staff to remind them about my case so that I got the support needed. She also taught me Business Ethics, and because she knew about the gaps my educational background had created, she spent an hour before lectures to help me cope. She also helped me with my assignments, reviewed my work and gave me extra support to ensure that I would perform to my potential. She was like a combination of a mentor and a mother, especially when she gave me medicine while I was dealing with my migraine. We built a close relationship and remain close friends; I visit her every time I go back to Melbourne.
“Huong had never given up her dream of having an education.” [Rosemary Fisher, Head of Commerce and Sessional Lecturer at Box Hill Institute, Australia]
Life at Box Hill
I am a people person so I joined a lot of activities during my time in Melbourne. I love cooking and had always wanted to introduce Vietnamese cuisine to international friends. I did some cooking classes for other international and domestic students as part of International Student Services activities. I was acting as International Student Ambassador and joined in some marketing campaigns and events for the college, always proud to represent Vietnam. We went to camp a lot, as well.
A Special Achievement
One of the major events that turned my education in a much better direction was gaining the Victorian International Student of the Year and Premier Awards for International Students of the Year during 2013.
I had a thirst for education and have always looked for scholarships that would allow me to further my study. One day when I was in class the marketing team at BHI called me to ask if I wanted to apply for the award. I said yes straight away and they walked me through the process. The awards not only changed my educational path by awarding me the $20,000 that paid for half of my master’s, but also made me a student role model on campus and for my country. Ever since then, I have been a Victorian International Ambassador and I seem to have been given more opportunities.