« Back to Articles

My Experience in the U.S. – Sylvia Dao from Hanoi, Vietnam

My Experience at Temple University

My Experience at Temple University

Name: Sylvia Dao

Country: Hanoi, Vietnam

Year: Senior, Class of 2018

School: Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Major: Communication Studies

Q. Why did you choose Temple University?

A. I chose Temple firstly because Philadelphia is a diverse city. I wanted to get to know people who come from different backgrounds and cultures. I also really wanted to participate in many extra-curricular activities to develop my leadership and collaboration skills and Temple has nearly 300 student organizations. Also, the fact that the school was right in the city made it easier to experience urban life.

Q. What was your biggest fear or worry about studying in the United States, and what did you find when you arrived?

A. I was worried about language and culture barriers. However, I was lucky to have an American host family who I lived with my freshman year. Me not speaking English well was not a problem. We somehow understood one another really well. They taught me so much about American life, about slang, holidays and traditions, and politics. I’m a Buddhist and they were also supportive of me practicing my religion and culture. They even came to the Asian market with me to learn about my traditions.

Q. What’s the best part of studying in the United States?

A. I get to choose the classes that interest me. I knew I wanted to be in communications but didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, so being able to take classes in everything — media, public relations, advertising — was crucial for me. I think I’ve settled on journalism, but I don’t know, we’ll see.

Q. What’s the hardest part?

A. To balance schoolwork and social life. Sometimes, the workload here is heavy and you don’t have time for self-care. You have to learn to prioritize things and manage your time effectively.

Meet Sylvia Dao from Temple UniversityQ. What’s the coolest thing you’ve done or learned?

A. I co-found a publication called Freely Magazine because I think it is important to blur the boundaries between different ethnic groups and be more globally aware. Freely is an online multicultural magazine that provides a safe space for international students to raise their voices and share their cultures. As a consequence, domestic students have a chance to be exposed to a bigger world and understand that it is okay to be different. If it had not been for this magazine, I would not have been able to meet such amazing and talented teammates, tell such powerful stories and broaden my horizon

Q. What advice would you give incoming students?

A. Don’t be afraid to take risks! Take every opportunity that comes to you. You never know what it might lead you to. Wonderful things can happen if you believe in yourself.

Don’t Miss…

Watching jazz performances in New Orleans! I went there for fall break and fell in love with the music scene. There were lots of street musicians and shows in cafes. The whole city was alive with music.

My Experience Series

Want to meet other international students in the My Experience series?