Ngoc Tran Overcomes Obstacles to Graduate This Spring as a Candidate for Valedictorian
Just four years ago, Ngoc Tran, now 28, came to the U.S. from Vietnam. She was newly immigrated, still learning English as her second language, and also just married. She enrolled at Santa Ana College (SAC) in the fall of 2019, but because of the pandemic, the majority of her experience at SAC has been through online classes.
Despite all the changes Ngoc experienced, she overcame the obstacles and will be graduating from SAC this spring with an associate degree in business administration. Beyond reaching the finish line, Ngoc earned a 4.0 grade point average and was considered a candidate for valedictorian.
“When I was young, I wanted to learn in the U.S. but my parents could not afford that, so I continued to learn in Vietnam,” Ngoc said. “After that, I married my husband, and then I came here.”
Before Ngoc came to the U.S., she earned a bachelor’s degree in finance in Vietnam. When she came to the U.S., she wanted to attend California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), but was unable to because of entrance requirements that included a high school diploma and standardized testing. Now having fulfilled the necessary requirements for transfer, she will be attending CSULB this fall and majoring in business administration with an emphasis in finance.
“I want to be a financial analyst,” Ngoc said. “After I have a job, I want to continue to pursue a master’s degree in finance.”
Even though she was a candidate for valedictorian this year, she decided to not participate in the search because she felt timid about her oral communication skills.
“I am not confident about my English speaking,” Ngoc said. “When I had an opportunity to learn at Santa Ana College, I tried to speak with American people to make my speaking better.”
Ngoc recalls how much she enjoyed learning English as a young person.
“When I lived in Vietnam, I always tried to learn English more and more,” Ngoc said. “I watched English movies. Tried to read English books if I had time.”
Though she lacks confidence about her English-speaking skills, Ngoc is undeterred from learning another language: Spanish.
“I also took a Spanish class because of the people around me, a lot of Mexican-Americans,” she said. “I’m very interested in learning more languages besides English. I want to know more about English and also Spanish.”