ESL student working through obstacles to achieve dream

Nhu Vu won’t allow language barrier, treatment of others to weigh her down


Mikie Negrete, Times Staff

Everyone has goals they’d like to achieve, plans to reach those goals, and dreams they’d like to make come true.

The same stands true for one of the ESL students on campus, who left her home country, Vietnam, to pursue and take advantage of better opportunities here in the States.

Nhu Vu started attending San Jose City College after leaving her native Vietnam three years ago.

“I wanted higher education and to pursue my dream,” said Vu, “I want to become an elementary school teacher.”

Obviously, moving to a different country did not come without necessary adjustments for Vu. She said that something she had to put effort into was bettering her fluency in English.

“I don’t want to give up my dream because of my accent,” said Vu, “I know I can do it.”

When one relocates anywhere, let alone to a whole different country, there will be friends and family that are inevitably left behind.

When asked what she missed the most about Vietnam, Vu said, “My old friends, the food, and the places.”

Moving to the U.S. has also led to a certain amount of personal growth for Vu. “Back home, my parents took care of everything. Here, I take care of stuff,” said Vu.

For Vu, establishing herself in a country completely foreign to her has not come without its challenges.

“Some people are very awkward, some people are very friendly,” said Vu, “Some people ignore me because of my accent. They don’t want to work with me in group work. I also have a part time job, and some of my customers don’t respect me because of my appearance.”

Vu followed her comments up by reinforcing that regardless of how she has been treated by others, she didn’t care what people thought of her.

Life will always present an assorted variety of challenges; in Vu’s case, moving to an entirely new country to her, having to perfect a second language, adapting to a culture different than what she had previously been familiar with and even being mistreated by people at school and work.

However, what is very clear is that Vu won’t allow any circumstance or situation to obstruct her from reaching her ultimate goal of becoming an elementary school teacher.

So, what can we learn from Nhu Vu?

There will always be a reason to not improve the situation an individual finds themself in, but the refusal to cave to the difficulties and obstacles one faces can produce immense personal growth in someone.

That is reason enough to keep on keeping on.