Meet Your Fellow Anteater
The International Center is committed to facilitating an enriching college experience for the international community at UC Irvine. Meet Your Fellow Anteater is an opportunity for us to connect international students by highlighting the involvement, accomplishments, and experiences of the outstanding students in our community. Don't be afraid to say "hi" when you see your fellow anteater around campus.
Learn more about VY below:
My name is Vy Nguyen. I am from Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam. This is my second year at UCI and I am majoring in Business Economics. I speak Vietnamese and English, but I am also taking Chinese class right now. Hopefully, I can be trilingual soon. My favorite restaurant in Irvine is Yigah, a Korean restaurant.
2. What is your favorite American food/snack?
My favorite American snack is Froot Loops. It is supposed to be eaten as a breakfast meal, but because it is so sweet and tastes so good even without milk so I like to snack on it when I am craving some sugar. My fastest record was finishing a box in 3 days. I like it because of the colorful loops. I had been having it since I was a kid, so it is part of my childhood memory and I don’t think I will ever stop eating it.
3. What are three words you would use to describe yourself and why? OR what is one fun fact about you? (choose one or answer both!)
One fun fact about me is that I like 100% dark chocolate. A lot of people say that over 72% of cacao in the chocolate is already bitter, and it’s hard to eat. However, I enjoy the bitterness and the crunchiness of cocoa bars. I learned that cacao, in fact, is very nutrient-dense. Sometimes, milk chocolate would make me feel guilty because of its high level of sugar content; I would sub it for dark chocolate. My favorite is Matcha Green Tea & Spirulina Super-Dark Chocolate Bar by Vosges Haut Chocolat.
4. Why did you choose to come to UC?
I chose to come to UCI because I want to go to a school that is close to my home. Before going to college, I know that I will be commuting from Huntington Beach every day, so I decided to attend UCI, which is only 20 minutes drive away. I also like Irvine because of its cultural diversity. You can find so many Asian, Hispanic, American food around the city. Because of it, I have had the chance to learn more about different cuisine around the world. I don’t think I will ever be food-sick thanks to all the good restaurants in Irvine.
5. Who or what inspires/motivates you in life/school?
My friends definitely are the ones that inspired me the most in my school life. UCI is such a huge school and I get to see many people coming from different backgrounds. I learned about their cultures, their stories, and became friends with them. They are sometimes my friends, sometimes my mentor. Being friends with them motivated me to continue trying new things in life. They brought me out of my comfort zones and taught me how to improve myself. They are also my biggest mental supports in the midst of heavy academic life.
6. What are some of your involvements here at UCI? What drew you to these specific involvements/organizations?
Ever since I was a kid, I have always been interested in working with International Students because I enjoy learning about the differences in languages and cultures. In my first year at UCI, I was lucky to have the chance to volunteer at the International Center for two quarters. I had the opportunity to help run events and workshops for International Students. I think it was a great chance for me to meet and talk to people from different countries without having to study abroad or getting a flight ticket. During my second year at UCI, I became an International Peer Group Mentor, in which I guided my group of mentees in finding their ways to succeed academically and socially. As I like working with international students so much, I decided to join the ASUCI International Student Advocacy Office as an intern. As an intern, I want to learn about how the student government can organize events or target students' problems that other organizations cannot do.
7. What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
One of my biggest concerns when I first came to UCI was making friends. That summer before college, I had anxiety wondering if I can fit in the community. My high school was a small private school, so we would know everyone in the school. But after going to college, my problem was making close friends in such a big campus. I think the source of my problems is my own thinking; it stops me from trying to find friends because I worried about so many things. After a while, I changed my mindset. I see that the bigger the campus can also mean the higher the chance that I will meet the right friend. All I have to do is putting myself out their more, investing in some more time, reaching out to new people and eventually I will find at least one or more friends that I can trust.
8. What advice do you have for other international students currently adjusting to life in the United States?
My advice is to try and explore opportunities on campus as much as you can. You have to try out different things to find the right fit for you. It might take you a long time, but it is never too late to start trying. People around you might be a high achiever and you might experience peer pressure at some point in life. However, remember that people are individuals that come from different backgrounds and grow at different speeds. You might just need some more time, some more practice, and some motivation to catch up on the run.
9. What has been your favorite experience at UCI and/or the U.S. so far?
My favorite experience at UCI is being a mentee in International Peer Group program. My mentor had guided me on how to improve myself academically and socially. Being in the program, I was able to make many friends and meet a lot of professional staffs. I develop more leadership skills within my time in IPG. And within my mentee group, the people make me feel like I belong to UCI and that we are actually a family that supports each other. Most of my friends now are from IPG, I became friends with them because of IPG. So I would say my time with IPG has been the greatest time so far in my first year.