07 Aug 2017

Minh Sees a Better Future for Her With an Overseas Degree

News, Alumni

Bachelor of Commerce (Finance)
University of Wollongong Australia
Graduated in 2015


Minh had a hard decision to make when she completed her high school in Vietnam. She aspired to attain a university degree and was adamant about not doing it in Vietnam. It was not that the local graduates or universities were not well regarded in her country. She heard enough about the difficulties faced by local graduates in getting relevant jobs that fit their qualifications. It got her worried. But she was quite sure that gaining an overseas degree could make a difference for her.  

“When I was in the last year of high school, I had to make my own decision in selecting and applying for overseas universities. It was an important step of my life. I was also thinking whether I would be wasting my time and money to study overseas.”

To make things worse, her parents were then going through a divorce and she was not sure if she should stay with her mother or father.

“As the only child in my family, I was suffering from this struggle and it was a stress on me. I was not strong enough to face the problem. Partly for that reason, I decided to go abroad to study in Singapore. My mother wanted me to study in Australia but I declined as I wanted to study in a country nearer to home so that I could go back to visit my parents more often. I was hoping for a better future after completing my studies in Singapore.”

Her online research about PSB Academy gave her positive feeling about the school, and her agent was supportive of her choice. In 2011, Minh attended Level 2 of the Certificate in English Proficiency programme at PSB Academy before progressing to the Foundation Diploma. English became a bigger struggle at the Diploma level as she had to communicate in English with her international student classmates during group projects.  

“For me, I felt like I had to improve my English as quickly as I could because they all could speak very well. Sometimes, in the group discussion, I felt out of place. It was hard for me to convey my thoughts to them as I didn’t know how to explain my ideas clearly to make them understand. I also had this challenge when I started my degree in 2013.”

She even tried going through books on the proper usage of English grammar. But nothing works better than making conversation with fellow students. Forcing herself to communicate more in English had opened up new opportunities for Minh. The active student life available on campus beckoned her and she found herself taking the lead in some student events. These included ‘Orientation’ event for new students, Halloween Night, as well as events which the Vietnamese Student Association collaborated with other international student associations. For someone who was poor in English, she must prepare for the challenges.  

“As the team leader, I must ensure that our plans and actions were communicated across properly.  Consistency was the key to maintaining control.”   

“I felt special when I was asked to be a facilitator for the 2015 Youth Leadership Camp. It was an opportunity for me to learn more about leadership. Taking the lead, I learned how to approach and manage people based on the situations. Becoming more confident, talking louder, and thinking clearly in decision making were good learning for me. I was able to gain the attention and respect from my committee members.”

Minh’s effort was recognised at the 2015 Outstanding Student Leaders Award Ceremony and she appreciated the gesture very much. Her experience as a student leader had a positive effect on her studies as she gained more confident in her English and participated better in group discussion.

“I felt more comfortable when attending classes. My favourite lecturer was Mr Ng Choo Kiong, who taught accounting and finance. He would share with us his real world experiences. He was the friendliest lecturer, very helpful, and even remembered the name of every single student. He would greet us happily when we meet.”

“I am quite proud that over the two years as a student leader, I have learned to overcome my fear and worries in leading other students.”


Article by Jeffrey Yap (Student Affairs & Industry Engagement)