Volare | Blog
Part 1: Finding a passion
Finding purpose and passion is the goal of any college student. Whether they are native born American or an international student from far away, all hope that their secondary education will lead them to find the right road, so they can ride it to happiness.
It’s elusive, but every once and a while, I’ll meet a fellow college student who has found a passion for something, and quite possibly a purpose beyond themselves. When I talked to Nhi Nguyen, I obviously had her tell me her story. She grew up in Vietnam, she goes to Seattle University, she has a boyfriend, all of which are major components to the person she is.
When she started talking about finance though… I couldn’t help but smile.
“When I was in Vietnam, my Dad taught me about stock and equity and stuff,” said Nguyen. “He was a commerce lawyer, and he handles stuff in stock and equity.”
Here the tone of my conversation with Nguyen shifted. Her voice got excited, she started to speak faster, and I knew that whatever she was about to talk about absolutely excited her.
“So I started learning about stock and equity really early, and at first I thought it was more of a gambling thing, but afterward I felt like, if you know how to value stuff, if you know how to take care of the evaluation, and reading news, get stuff from the news, it’s not like gambling, it’s more of an analytical game.” Nguyen excitedly explained.
Part 2: Overcoming Difficulties
Nguyen is one of countless examples of skilled and passionate international students who are trying to make it in the US economy. Students like her have the immense capability to improve and enrich everything they are a part of. Yet the road ahead for Nguyen is very rocky.
“Finance is a really hard major for international students,” Said Nguyen. “First of all a lot of domestic students do student finance, because finance is a more common major… in other states students major in finance a lot, especially in Chicago, San Francisco, New York, and North Carolina, there’s a lot of banking, like the finance industry in those states/cities is really big.”
Nhi’s next step is to get into a summer internship, in order to open up networking opportunities, which she hopes will lead to a full time job which she can use to satisfy her OPT requirements.
“In finance you have to network a lot. I don’t know about other majors but I know for finance specifically networking is a big part of it.” Nguyen said.
For Nhi this internship will have to be unpaid, as she cannot get paid to work until she gets her OPT.
Part 3: Taking advantage of opportunity
Nhi has her share of difficulties, but she also has her share of advantages when it comes to other international students. Nhi went to a British international school while she was in Vietnam, where she learned how to speak and write in English. So while networking is obviously still a struggle for her she doesn’t have to deal with the major language barrier others have to.
“I’m a really outgoing person so I didn’t have a hard time talking to people. If I network in vietnamese or talk to like vietnamese people it’s going to be a lot easier than when I talk to like an American person.” Said Nhi.
Nhi recommends volunteering to other international students first entering the American job market.
“When you are volunteering, you don’t have a liability to do the job, so people are nicer to you,” Said Nhi.
Nhi has also extended her OPT window by double majoring in finance and business analytics, giving her three years of OPT instead of the usual one year, many of her peers have to sprint through.
If she could do it all over again, Nhi wishes she had a plan to find a job as soon as she got to America.
“I didn’t know that I have to start out earlier. If I talk to any prospective international student, I will give them a plan, like this is what you do the first year, this is what you do the second year, third year, fourth year,” Said Nhi. “Sometimes things always change, but if you have a plan it’s easier to trust, so I think I’d create a plan.”
Nhi will continue her education and road towards success at Seattle University this fall.