26 Jan 2017

Tina Completes Her Diploma After Going Through a Difficult Period in Her Life

News, Alumni

Ms Truong Minh Ngoc, Tina 
Diploma in Tourism and Hospitality Management
PSB Academy
Graduated in 2015

Tina finally completed her Diploma from PSB Academy, but not without having gone through a period of soul-searching.

About eight years ago, Tina was adamant in her decision to go overseas to study. Her mum was supportive and sought to send both her brother and her to study in the United States of America as they have relatives there. 

“Before going to the USA, I was living under too much stress. I felt suffocated because of the stress from my family, friends and everything. Therefore, my decision to go overseas to study could be considered a rebellious action on my part.”

After a few attempts to apply for a US visa, she was successful but not her brother. In the USA, things did not go according to plan. Her education at Rhode Island was short-lived as she disliked the cold weather. Moving south to the Washington State was much better, and there she enrolled as an international student at a community college. 

The system of education in the USA was new to her, and she had a hard time adapting to it, not to mention the culture shock and stress from her family. In her first year of studies, everything was fine, until the second year. As fate would have it, Tina did not complete her studies even though she changed subjects a few times. Alas, time ran out for her as the US Immigration Authority did not extend her visa. Returning home to Vietnam was her only option.

You thought Tina’s life would go back to normal when she returned home. It turned out to be more miserable as she was confused and uncertain what she should do next.

“I was lost, did not know what to do, and not want to communicate with anyone. Not many people knew that I had a ‘trust Issue’ when I came back. It all started from an incident with my friends in    America. As a result, I did not know who to trust and just wanted to stay away from people for a few months. I also did not want to see the disappointed look from my family or sympathy from my friends. For half a year, I did nothing. Then, I made up my mind to get away from Vietnam to another country to continue my studies.”

Those were depressing moments that Tina would rather forget. Going to Singapore was like a good decision. But after five months studying in a private educational institution in Singapore she had second thought about the programme. It was by pure coincidence that her landlady talked about PSB Academy because some of her tenants studied there. The next thing you knew, Tina became a student of PSB Academy.

“Having to cope with studies was one of the challenges. The biggest struggle was integrating with other students who were younger than me. The different nationalities posed a challenge initially, but my classmates were friendly enough and helped me come out of my shell. What happened during my first year encouraged me a lot and gave me hope of fulfilling my studies.”

For students who have gone through periods of emotional adjustment, it makes a lot of difference to them if their concerns and welfare are taken care of by the school. Tina cited how Ann Sum, an International Student Recruitment Officer of PSB Academy, would attend to her needs each time she approached her for help.

“On the first occasion when I was undecided on which programme to take, she was kind enough to send an email and contact me to offer her advice. The second time when I decided to change my major and had a problem with the renewal of my student pass, the staff compiled the supporting documents for me to make an appeal with the Ministry of Manpower. Whenever we met, she would ask if everything was fine. Some may say that she was just doing her job. But for a person like me who has a trust issue, I really appreciate everything she has done.”

Tina tried very hard to shake off her unhappy past. Spending all her time on books was not going to help much. She needed to interact with people more and that gave her the idea of doing voluntary work. Her participation as an usher at PSB Academy events and doing front-desk work at events for other agencies not only built her confidence, but she learned to appreciate the importance of good customer service – things taught in her academic programme.

After what she went through, Tina was glad that she finally gained her Diploma.

“It is a great feeling that I finally gained a Diploma after all   these years as an international student. I used to be a   cheerful person until my bad experience in the USA. Now, I   can say that my life is much better although I am not back to my old self yet! I still feel unsafe with people around me but I am now more willing to step out of my shell to chat with them, just so to know if I can trust them. I have learned to calm down when a misunderstanding arises.”

No one will really know why Tina’s life turns out this way but she is on the path to recovery. They say ‘time heals all wounds’ and that is a comforting thought.

Article by Jeffrey Yap (Student Affairs & Industry Engagement)