He may be only 18, but Huy Minh Nguyen is serious about his future and understands the importance of a good education – and his commitment to getting all he could out of his education began at a very early age.
In his hometown, Ho Chi Minh City, Nguyen went to school from seven o’clock in the morning to 4:30 in the afternoon five days a week and half a day on Saturdays. “It was a pretty intense education,” he said, adding that his commitment to school and the expectations of his parents and instructors played a huge role in his desire to succeed.
His parents had dreams for their son and added English lessons to his already busy days. The young Nguyen went to church every afternoon after school, where he learned his new language from a 70 year-old Sister. “She was very strict…and if you spoke Vietnamese, she spanked you,” the SCC sophomore recalled. But today, the international business major appreciates the tough environment the older woman insisted on in the classroom. “I not only learned English, I learned how to manage my time.”
His father encouraged his gregarious son to practice speaking English any time the opportunity arose and Nguyen fondly recalls his father’s support. The family lived in the International District of the largest city in Vietnam where English was commonly spoken. “He (his father) asked people on the street if they needed help and then threw me into a situation to help,” Nguyen said, who today is grateful for his father’s vision. As Nguyen grew and his English developed, the quick exchanges became conversations and he learned to enjoy the opportunities to talk to others about their ideas and cultures.
Nguyen’s language skills and interest in people have contributed to his success in his Student Government position as Minister of Finance at Shoreline Community College in which he supports student requests for club and organization funding. He also advocates for students as a member of the Parliament at the college.
His English skills have also come in handy for him as a member of the college’s DECA debate team. “Since I was young, I always liked to persuade people,” he says. His team, who presented on sustainability of a business at the regional business competition, took second place for their business plan for a bed and breakfast. Nguyen’s interest in world affairs earned him the vote as public information officer for the Global Development Project at the college as well. The club is dedicated to learning how microcredit can provide market-based approaches to solving poverty in developing countries. At Shoreline, he committed his personal time to supporting the efforts of the MLK Food Drive.
Nguyen’s microeconomics instructor says that his class performance was continuously among the top in a class of around 40 students and well beyond his expectations. He plans to transfer to the University of Washington next fall to earn his bachelor’s degree in international business. But first, he is looking forward to graduating from SCC. “I think my family is proud of my success,” Nguyen says - so proud that his father is traveling nearly 7,500 miles to see his son graduate.