• Updated : 2019.4.17 수 16:28
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Getting in Touch With the PastInterviews with Vietnamese Alumni
Nguyen Huong 객원기자  |  tribune1968@cnumedia.com
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승인 2018.03.15  16:57:54
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The CNU Press and Broadcasting Center has a plan to cover the story of overseas alumni in order to give them a sense of belonging and pride in their university, and to inspire CNU students to dream big beyond the country and to realize their dreams. During the winter vacation, a special coverage team visited Vietnam and interviewed three CNU alumni living in Ho Chi Minh City from January 8 to 12, 2018. The Chonnam Tribune reports the findings of this overseas coverage in this article. – Ed.

     As the population of international students rise, so does the presence of Vietnamese students at Chonnam National University (CNU). Many have graduated and now have a successful career. A conversation with Vietnamese alumni helps current and prospective students learn from their experiences and most importantly, to acknowledge their contribution to the collective cultural heritage of CNU students as a whole. The Chonnam Tribune caught up with Trần Tuấn Anh, Nguyễn Thanh Hải, and Trần Anh Tuấn and had a chat with them about their time in Korea. All are teaching at prestigious universities in Vietnam and one is a founder of a technology company. What can we learn from their journeys?

▲ Trần Tuấn Anh (Lecturer, Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology)

Q: How was your campus life at CNU?
Trần Tuấn Anh (Lecturer, Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology)

Language was the hardest part. I had always spoken only in English. Other than that, I was satisfied with campus life. The campus environment was really good.

Trần Anh Tuấn (Lecturer, University of Sciences, Vietnam)
It was very difficult in my first year. First, it was the language barrier, and getting used to Korean food, and the study method. We had to present our research results during lab meetings, while in Vietnam; I did not have to do that, so that was a challenge. But that was only in the first year. The following years were different. I became familiar with life at CNU, I started to enjoy Korean food, my communication with my lab members got better, and I think now that after I graduated, I miss everything about Korea.

▲ Trần Anh Tuấn (Lecturer, University of Sciences)

Q: What is the difference between your university and CNU?
Trần Anh Tuấn

There are differences in methods of study or research. There are many meetings outside of class in Korea, and few meetings are available to study and research alone, while non-professional instruction by professors and students at Ho Chi Minh University in Vietnam is what’s all about.

Nguyễn Thanh Hải (Professor, Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology, CEO of Vietsonic)
There is a big difference in the way we study or do research. In Vietnam, four to six hours a day can be used for research. Because of the poor research environment and the lack of income, students in Vietnam have to do part-time jobs to survive. However, in Korea, the whole working day is dedicated to research. Perhaps the biggest reasons that create such a difference are the academic environment and funding. For example, in the Mechanics Department, professors must have some projects and money for them, to pay for students’ tuition fee and their monthly salaries. However, obtaining a fund in Vietnam is not easy. It contributes to the difference. I also think the differences in living conditions cannot be ignored. Another reason is old equipment, which is over 20 years old in Vietnam so there is no chance to do a new project. As a researcher in Vietnam, I think it is easier to work in conjunction with corporate projects or exchange technologies with companies.

▲ Nguyễn Thanh Hải (Professor, Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology, CEO of Vietsonic)

Q: What do you think about the prejudice that Koreans have against Vietnamese?
Trần Tuấn Anh

It seems that most Koreans do not mingle well with Vietnamese people. Although the bias is not significant against Vietnamese students, I don't think it's very good for the working class. They are given more work than Koreans but receive less money, discrimination and maltreatment. They also seem to think that Vietnamese people are rude and do not obey. Be more considerate and listen to your voice. I ask you to have a big heart.

Q: Do you have any memorable events in Korea?
Trần Anh Tuấn

I had to do a lot of things with my professor who gave me plenty of opportunities to learn new things and enjoy Korean life. He would invite us to have Korean food after a meeting, for instance. He and my colleagues would ask me about my life here in Korea, if there were any problems. It was a very nice memory. I also enjoyed my time with other Vietnamese students. I was the President of the Vietnamese Students’ Union at CNU. I organized all the activities in this community during my time at CNU. During the holidays, I would organize different events for them so there are a lot of good memories.

Q: You are the President of CNU Alumni Association in HCMC. How often do you have a regular meeting with CNU alumni?
Nguyễn Thanh Hải
Ho Chi Minh City has about 200 CNU alumni, and we meet about once every three months. As the president of the alumni association, I try to keep in touch with everyone. In fact, I want to make this organization efficient. It is not easy to say, and although I do not have such a specific plan, I have many people to keep in touch with - Koreans, Vietnamese, businesses, universities, and professors – all in one network. I regularly keep in touch with Korean universities to exchange our skills, for personal acquaintances and so on.

Towards a United Student Community
Vietnamese or international alumni play an essential part in helping recruit students from different parts of the world, both by promoting CNU and motivating prospective applicants to enroll. Another considerable benefit is that the process maintains the connection between the CNU and the graduates – and the more involved alumni are, the more likely they are to make donations as well as their time. Most importantly, alumni are not only storytellers; they are ambassadors – ambassadors of the lessons, experiences, and values that all CNU students will most likely hold. We as current students get to hear their refined reflection, we reflect it back to ourselves, and as we do, we figuratively continue their existence in the University. Together, we all become one, wiser and stronger as the years go by.

 By Nguyen Huong, Guest Reporter

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