Tracy To’s advice for students who want to study abroad

Tracy left Vietnam when she was 18 years old to study in Canada.

Update 12/22/16: Hue’s post on Study Abroad Corner has some great advice for anyone who wants to study abroad.
What I wish I had known before studying abroad in the US

Every week I organize an English speaking club for university students in Vinh City. It’s called Hello! English Club. To learn more about it, follow this link.

I met Tracy online through a mutual friend. She was in Canada when she learned about my English club. She asked if she could talk about her experience as a Vietnamese person studying and working in another country. I happily agreed. I think it’s important for young Vietnamese people to hear from others who have already “been there, done that”.

You can contact Tracy with any questions about the first steps of getting in to a university in Canada. She can be reached via Facebook here.

Here’s some of the advice she shared:

*** You have to love living abroad. It will be very difficult if you don’t.

*** You’re going to miss your family, your friends and Vietnam. You should mentally prepare yourself for being homesick.

*** As you’re learning English, try and pick up a native American (or Canadian) accent. It will make it easier for native speakers to understand you.

*** Place yourself with higher, more advanced English speakers to learn from them (not just those of your skill level or below).

*** She worked in a hotel and restaurant and was able to learn a lot of real English there. She learned the real way that people speak.

*** Watching movies without subtitles is a good strategy for learning English.

*** Learn manners/how to be polite. When to say please, thank you, sorry, etc.

*** Make others comfortable around you and they will open up to you. It’s easier to make friends that way.

*** Try and get out of your group of people that you hang out with all the time. Get out of your comfort zone.

*** Life advice: be brave, listen to yourself, and FOLLOW YOUR HEART. Don’t let other people tell you you can’t do something.

About Tracy To

Tracy is from Vinh City and has been studying and working in Canada for 8 years. She attended Thompson River University in British Columbia and graduated with a degree in nursing. Now she works for a Canadian government health organization called Interior Health. She’s a licensed practicing nurse on a psychiatric site in a long-term-care hospital. She’s 26 and has been working there for more than 3 years. She left Vietnam when she was 18 years old.

Tracy To speaking at Hello! English Club about what her life is like in Canada.

What do you think?

Have you considered studying in another country? Are you studying abroad now? Share your advice in the comments below.