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### Embracing Diversity and Fostering Independence: My Study Abroad Journey with Đức Ngô

Meet Ngô Lê Anh Đức, a 25-year-old individual hailing from the bustling city of Hà Nội. Raised in a traditional Hanoian family, Đức’s formative years were influenced by his father’s adherence to time-honored values.

Navigating the demanding Vietnamese educational landscape, characterized by rigorous entrance exams, Đức not only demonstrated academic excellence but also cultivated resilience and a robust work ethic. In 2016, driven by a thirst for exploration, he embarked on a journey to Helsinki, Finland, leveraging the final year of tuition-free education.

Having completed his studies in 2021 as a structural engineer, he is currently engrossed in a challenging Master’s program at Aalto University in Finland. This pursuit not only enhances his expertise but also aligns with Aalto’s esteemed status as the premier university in the nation. Juggling academic responsibilities with part-time roles as a structural engineer and entrepreneur, Đức epitomizes the essence of a global learner, confronting obstacles head-on and making a mark on the international platform.

Preparing for Departure from Vietnam

At the age of 18, I experienced a whirlwind of emotions as I prepared to venture into the unknown. Excitement mingled with apprehension, painting a vivid yet slightly daunting picture. Material preparations, including acquiring a new phone, laptop, clothes, and shoes, added to the sense of anticipation. Stepping into uncharted territory evoked a mix of thrill and nervousness, marking a significant and transformative moment.

Daily Routine Insights

Đức Ngô (on the right) | Source: Đức Ngô

Embracing the rhythm of daily life, my mornings commence with a ritualistic awakening, accompanied by the comforting aroma of Vietnamese coffee. The day unfolds with a blend of dedicated work or study sessions, interspersed with entrepreneurial endeavors. A visit to the gym serves as a rejuvenating break, underlining a commitment to holistic well-being. Evenings are marked by reflective dinners, followed by leisurely indulgence in international sitcoms or movies, culminating in a peaceful night’s rest.

Source of Motivation

Fueled by an unwavering ambition, my existence revolves around the pursuit of significant accomplishments. Embracing the hustle, I shun idleness and set ambitious goals to achieve by milestones such as 20, 25, and 30. Each day is a classroom where I glean valuable insights, propelling me forward with excitement and purpose. Stagnation holds no allure for me – I crave perpetual progress, a continuous learning journey, and a dedication to unlocking my full potential.

Maintaining Connections with Home

My bond with my family, particularly my parents, is profoundly cherished. Daily conversations with my mother revolve around the nuances of everyday life, fostering a sense of connection and comfort. On the other hand, dialogues with my father delve into weighty topics such as business, philosophy, politics, and finance, offering a platform for profound intellectual exchanges. As I navigate life’s complexities, the wisdom imparted through these conversations becomes increasingly invaluable, shaping my growth and understanding.

Cultivating Relationships Abroad

Đức Ngô (in the middle) with his international friends | Source: Đức Ngô

Embracing openness and transcending the confines of familiarity is paramount. My experiences abroad shattered preconceived notions and highlighted the richness of diversity across cultures, cuisines, beliefs, upbringings, and languages. Engaging with individuals from varied backgrounds broadened my perspective, leading to a transformative shift in mindset. Understanding that there is no universal definition of “normal” fosters a more inclusive worldview and fosters personal development.

Identity and Cultural Connection

I choose to retain my Vietnamese name as a tribute to my heritage and parental legacy. While an English alias might offer convenience, it risks diluting the cultural depth and personal significance embedded in my Vietnamese name, Duc. Embracing my unique identity opens avenues to share the rich narrative behind my name, its Vietnamese essence, and the profound reasons behind my parents’ choice. This decision underscores the value of cultural authenticity and personal narrative over conforming to conventional norms.

Nurturing Creativity and Social Bonds

In vibrant interactions, shared passions and hobbies intertwine, weaving a tapestry of connection with friends. Focusing solely on academic pursuits without nurturing personal interests can lead to a sense of monotony and detachment. Cultivating a life beyond scholarly endeavors not only guards against ennui but also paves the way for organic friendships to blossom effortlessly.

Evolution through Global Education

Embarking on a journey of independence through overseas education has honed my ability to navigate challenges autonomously and maintain a sense of composure. Embracing diversity with an open mind has been enlightening, allowing me to glean insights from individuals with diverse perspectives and backgrounds. Interacting with a spectrum of global citizens has reshaped my understanding of common sense and stereotypes, fostering a profound appreciation for the richness of human diversity.

Source: Đức Ngô

Overcoming Adversity

The intensity of homesickness often correlates with one’s extroverted or introverted nature. As a fervent extrovert, surrounded by close friends and supported by a loving partner, my sense of homesickness has been alleviated. These connections provide a comforting tether to home, easing the ache of separation and fostering a sense of belonging.

Aspirations for the Future

As a serial entrepreneur, my aspirations span the realms of gastronomy and brewing in Vietnam. Each venture symbolizes my commitment to crafting unique experiences within the dynamic Vietnamese business landscape, contributing to the entrepreneurial ethos of the local community.


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