Meet Nguyễn Huỳnh Đoan Trang, a twenty-something with roots in the scenic regions of Long An and Da Lat, Vietnam. From the quiet charm of her hometown, she found herself in the bustling streets of Ho Chi Minh City, driven by a deep love for learning.
Trang’s childhood was all about love and a passion for teaching. Growing up in a small village, she started study groups and helped underprivileged friends, laying the groundwork for her commitment to education and community.
High school in the lively Ho Chi Minh City marked a turning point, expanding her horizons and sparking a desire to give back to her community. The next leg of her journey took her over 10,000 kilometers to Leeds, England, where Leeds Beckett University became her academic haven.
Currently navigating the corridors of Leeds Business School, Trang is on a mission to become a People Development Consultant and Lecturer. Her academic pursuits stem from a holistic knowledge of business and a 5-year stint in human capacity development back in Vietnam.
Motivated by personal and professional growth, Trang chose to study abroad to challenge herself and broaden her horizons. Financially supported through scholarships and backed by her family’s unwavering belief, Trang’s story is a testament to the courage to embrace challenges and the crucial role of a strong support system in achieving dreams.
On her preparation before leaving Vietnam
Starting this big adventure, I had to say goodbye to good friends and a job I liked. Getting ready, I sorted everything out—visa stuff, a place to stay—all to make moving smooth. Learned about life in Britain, like how people do things and what they eat. Emotionally, I geared up with a positive mindset, thinking of this as a chance to grow. Also, I linked up with students in Vietnam, making a crew for folks going through the same stuff.
On her daily routine
As the sun peeks in, I reflect on the past and plan the day, then ground myself with meditation. Breakfast is simple—bread and cereal. Taking care of my plants is my thing; they’re like my quiet buddies. Most of my day is all about work and study, but I sprinkle in some refreshing walks in nature. You’ll find me cross-stitching, buried in books, or rocking out to music when I’m kicking back. Come night, I stare at the evening sky, a peaceful moment before I say thanks for the day and ease into a good night’s sleep.
On what keeps her going
The saying “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” keeps me going. It’s a reminder that, even though I’ve come a long way, every little step matters in my journey. It adds up, shaping who I am and how I grow in life and work. I’m super thankful for those who’ve had my back. I truly believe that our inner strength can help us tackle anything that comes our way. My game plan for this adventure? It’s all about “love and care,” handling problems with “Patience,” and soaking in every moment. These ideas are like my North Star, keeping me on track.
On staying connected to her family and friends in Vietnam
I’m truly grateful for the constant presence of my family and friends, whose unwavering support brings me immense comfort. I make it a heartfelt routine to connect with my parents, beloved, and friends through daily video calls, cherishing the chance to strengthen our bonds. These precious moments of shared experiences build a strong and unbreakable connection that means a lot to me, making sure that emotional closeness goes beyond any physical distance.
On building relationships abroad
Beyond the comfort of my Vietnamese and Asian roots, I’ve purposefully expanded my circle to welcome a global community. Wearing hats as a Global Ambassador and Student Recruitment Ambassador, I’ve actively formed and nurtured friendships from different cultures, weaving together a lively and diverse multicultural picture.
These bonds range from my flatmates and classmates to the buddies I’ve found in my yoga class, all contributing to a more vibrant social experience overseas. Thanks to these friendships, I’ve learned priceless lessons and developed a profound respect for the diverse threads of culture and history, broadening my outlook with each story and perspective they bring.
On having an English name
Tiffany is more than a name; it’s a blend of ‘Ti,’ my family name, coupled with a tender touch that evokes memories of home. It encapsulates the core of my heritage and the warmth of my family—a mix I carry with me, both in spirit and in my heart. Wherever I go, I carry the comfort and love of home and family, an ever-present hug with every step I take.
On the importance of nurturing creativity
I am passionate about education. To me, teaching and nurturing each person’s growth isn’t just my job; it’s what I’m meant to do, my calling. Getting to guide and see someone’s knowledge journey unfold is super satisfying and lines up perfectly with what keeps me going. But you know what’s just as crucial? The life beyond the classroom. It gives me a wide view that helps me understand the many sides of human growth.
The ever-changing “classroom” of the world outside is like a constant lesson in what’s new and the delicate dance of different cultures. By staying super connected with what’s happening globally, I get to keep my insights fresh. It means I can bring the latest ideas and cultural know-how into my teachings, making sure what I share matches the beat of the world.
On what she learned from studying abroad
Stepping into independence, I stepped away from the comfy bubble of family to find my own way. It wasn’t a walk in the park—setting up my own place and juggling responsibilities brought on some real challenges. But you know what? This solo ride turned out to be a game-changer, pushing me to grow on my own and teaching me how to stand on my own two feet and keep myself going. In this new chapter, I figured out that taking care of myself and celebrating even the tiniest wins is a big deal.
As I bounced around Europe, my world got bigger. From The Netherlands to France, Italy to the Vatican, and more, I ran into all sorts of cultures, each with its own cool story and traditions. These adventures didn’t just make my personal life cooler but also gave me a bigger picture of my self-growth. I started seeing how vast our world is and how many awesome things it has in store.
On how her outlook on life has evolved
In navigating my journey, I’ve come to understand the value of reaching out for help, drawing strength from the guidance provided by mental health services and the wisdom of mentors, both of which have played a crucial role in building my resilience. Learning to embrace and let go of emotions related to things beyond my control has shown me the liberating power of acceptance. Hobbies, once just for fun, have become essential for relieving stress and maintaining well-being. Studying in the UK has been an eye-opening adventure through a tapestry of cultures, with each new friendship expanding my insight and enriching my appreciation for life’s diversity.
On dealing with challenges
Being an international student far from home, I’ve faced a mix of challenges that go beyond just academics and money. I’ve powered through more profound struggles of homesickness and solitude. In this journey, I’ve found strength by turning inward—writing in my journal to clear my head, surrounding myself with motivational quotes, and creating a cozy haven in my room where every corner has a purpose.
Connecting with plants and my morning ‘forest bathing’ routine with nature’s tunes has become my go-to for daily peace and grounding. Besides mental strength, I’ve embraced the energy of physical activities like hiking and cycling. They not only keep me active but also let me explore and blend into this new cultural landscape. These routines have become my guide, helping me balance personal growth with the challenges around me.
On her hopes for the future
My dreams are rooted in a childhood passion for teaching—an ambition that has stayed with me since my earliest days. This dream has grown but remains unwavering; my commitment to becoming a lecturer is resolute. Whether in the UK or Vietnam, I see myself on the academic stage, lighting up minds and influencing futures. Beyond just teaching, I want to ignite curiosity, nurture resilience, and inspire a lasting love for learning in my students. I want to equip them to face the world with curiosity and determination.
This or That
Movies or books?
Cats or dogs?
Honestly, I am scared of both, but I love looking at them.
Fresh juice or smoothie?
I love both
Shopping in-store or online?
I like both, but shopping in-store is much more relaxing.
Instagram or Twitter?
Give a speech or write a paper?
Write a paper