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Vietnamese students abroad feel pressure because of cultural differences

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A hot topic in recent days among students and parents concerns the case of a Vietnamese female student in the US who suffered from depression and was expelled from the school.

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Phuong Thuy, who is studying media in the US, said such students were commonly seen now. Thuy had a friend who was severely depressed who tried to commit suicide. 

“My friend felt lonely in an unfamiliar cultural environment. The disappointment about the curriculum was also a reason,” she explained.

Many Vietnamese students have to work to cover their basic needs, she said. Most of them do so without work permits and some have been discovered by the police and sent back to Vietnam.

Thuy, who is older than other students, studies on full scholarship and has married an American man, but she sometimes finds it difficult to integrate into life in the US.

“Vietnamese students overseas are under pressure, including financial capability, cultural differences and problems in study,” she said.

Do Huong, who has 14 years of experience in consulting for overseas study, said that even the students who have prepared well also feel pressure.

“They (the students) got high IELTS and TOEFL scores in Vietnam, but they still cannot understand native speakers well,” she explained.

“The other reason is the differences in culture. The third reason is the homesickness: they feel lonely and stressed as they are living far away from families. There is no one for them to share their opinions with when they need advice,” Huong said.

Many Vietnamese students dream of studying overseas, but feel disappointed when they realize that everything is different.

“In Vietnam, you can buy things you need everywhere as shops and markets are at every corner. In America, you will have to go far to buy something,” Huong said.

Thuy stressed that this is not because Vietnamese students lack skills and knowledge. These are all common problems for many students, especially those who come from cultures that are very different from American culture.

Tran Thi Thanh Huong, who studied in the US seven years ago, noted the differences in educational systems of Vietnam and the US. 

“I came from a state-owned high school in Vietnam and it took me a long time to adjust  my learning methods and adapt to the learning environment in the US,” she said.

“Besides, you may meet other problems such as racism and religious differences,” she said. 


Source: VietNamNet

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