How did you learn about Kirkwood and decide to come here to study?: My grandfather had relatives who knew about Cedar Rapids and Kirkwood. He told me to think about coming here. I went to a college advising center in Ho Chi Minh City and found out some information, then learned more about Kirkwood over the Internet, too. Kirkwood is a good place to study at an affordable rate. It is a good start for me.
Tell us about your home and family in Vietnam: I am from the Cu Chi district of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. Many years ago the larger city was known as Saigon. My home was close to the Mekong River, the major river system in my country. My mother, father and brother still live in the Cu Chi district. My family is so important to me. I am very grateful for their support and encouragement.
Can you describe your schooling in Vietnam?: I was in advanced classes in my school, you might say the “best” classes. They were difficult in many ways, but they gave me high grades in middle school that let me get into the best classes in the upper grades. I did study some English, too. My school day started early, at 7 in the morning. We got to go home from 11 to 1, for lunch and a quick sleep. Then after 1 p.m. we were back in school until 5. We also had study groups that would meet in my teacher’s home some evenings.
What are you studying here?: This is my third year studying here. I am very interested in studying Marketing and other Business classes. I like to go out and talk to people as part of a job. I want to take the opportunity to go out and explore new people and their ideas. One possible business I would like to start would be an international travel agency. I also want to make my family proud. I am grateful for them, because I know they think about me every day. Even though they are so far away, I feel them with me every second!
Hoa, if you would, could you help us say your name as it should sound?: My full name is Hoa Tran Kieu Nguyen. It would sound like “Hwah Tron Cue Wing.” Hoa means “flower” in my language.
We understand you have been pretty busy this last year…. Yes, it has been great! I enjoy my work at The Hotel at Kirkwood Center. I am a banquet server for events there. The people at The Hotel are great to work with—so much fun I also just joined Phi Theta Kappa, the honor society, and the Student Leadership Council. I also got involved in the Kirkwood Dance Marathon. That will be so much fun and such a worthy cause for children.