Thank you for helping me out with this!Essay 1 - The Global UGRAD Program is for young leaders committed to serving their home communities.
Why would you be a great participant in the Global UGRAD Program?
Majoring in Education, I have never stopped being surprised at how it continuously shapes the way I construct meaning from experience. Like any teacher, I place a strong belief in the power of education - it should not be an end in itself, it should be a tool to solve social problems. It is born out of my belief that education is the result of and the solution to social problems. However, via my volunteering in A Better Tomorrow club where I tutored the students from low socio-community background, I realized that to solve a problem, one needs to revise the whole system and understand how the system works. That idea has brought me to another major of interests, which is Sociology. This has prompted me to search for opportunities to study in the U.S where top universities teaching sociology lie.
However, my enthusiasm for education is not confined to its function to tackle social issues. Its power, in my opinion, also lies in its capacity to teach one how to think in the sense that it gives one the choice to choose what to think. Living in a crowded city like Hanoi, I never get used to traffic jam, however, I learnt to make the experience less uncomfortable and weirdly more intriguing. Instead of staring blankly at the traffic lights, I would let my mind wander that colors are just lightwaves, they are just a creation of our brain. I find it such a privilege that I can allow myself to see reality more than what it is as equal access to education is still a serious matter in Vietnam.
Thus, I am the team leader at Save The Words where we plan to hold a concert to fundraise and build schools in mountainous areas of Vietnam so that they can choose their own way of perceiving the world around them. This year, we plan to raise 350 million VND to build a school in Huoi Thanh. Further upon my returning, I also wish to establish a project that assists the youth in provincial areas where I came from to get access to information about scholarships to further leverage equal opportunities for student mobility. With my experience in the U.S via UGRAD, I wish to learn from the world top leaders and broaden my networking so that I could return to my home country and help more students learn to think for themselves. I am fully aware that I cannot help everyone, but I can always help someone.
It is worth mentioning that my internship at Vun Art, a social enterprise, taught me lots about cultural sensitivity. I worked with three other interns from Northwestern university to help with marketing and partnerships. Their nationalities varied, two from the U.S and one from China. Culture clash did not happen until the 7th week when we talked about religion. One of them, Ari, is Jewish, and my Chinese friend accidentally said he was the nicest Jew she had ever met, which triggered an argument about why she found a nice person being Jewish a discovery. The accident led me to think people are not just their religion nor their culture - they have their own individuality. As a young Vietnamese person, I hope to bring new perspectives to the cultural and academic settings in the US not just via my nationality but also my personal identity.
I believe that by studying in the US via UGRAD, I would have the opportunity to grow as an individual and an academic among dynamic young leaders with dedication, passion and diverse cultural identity.