Meet the spunky and creative 15-year-old in our EducationUSA Academy summer program.
Name: Mai Tran My Tram
English Name: Amanda
Program: EducationUSA Academy
IELP: Hi Amanda! What part of Vietnam are you from?
AMANDA: My hometown is 100 km away from Saigon, called Tây Ninh.
IELP: How did you hear about the EducationUSA Academy program at Temple and how did you decide to come here?
AMANDA: My teacher told me that I should apply for because it is a really good program for young students. She helped with the recommendation letter, and after a ton of waiting and preparation, I’m here!
Amanda and friends at the EducationUSA Academy ice cream social.
IELP: Did you always want to go to the U.S.?
AMANDA: I’ve been wanting to go ever since I started learning English three years ago. My teacher nurtured the dream in me. She said whatever you want to do, come to the U.S. and your dream will come true.
IELP: What was your first impression of the U.S. when you stepped off the plane?
AMANDA: I was really tired because my flight was 30 hours! When I got to Temple, everyone was so friendly. Everybody came from different countries, and the lessons are amazing. I absolutely love them!
IELP: What are some customs here that are different from Vietnam?
AMANDA: I have to admit that I got culture shock when I came here for the first few days. Here when I’m in my dorm, the staff says, “Good morning, have a good day!” That makes me feel really good. We don’t do that in Vietnam.
IELP: Tell me about a meal from Vietnam that you can’t live without.
AMANDA: Half of my suitcase is food! I can’t get used to the food here; there isn’t a lot of seasoning. I love my mother’s cooking. My favorite is Thịt kho. She makes it with rice and steamed meats and vegetables, like curry.
Traditional Thịt kho is made with soft boiled eggs and pork braised in coconut sauce. Yum!
IELP: Do you have a favorite Vietnamese entertainer?
AMANDA: When I was younger, I used to watch a comedian named Hoai Linh. He’s famous for performing comedy but also for his heart of gold.
IELP: What’s one word you would teach someone to say in Vietnamese?
AMANDA: Xin chào is hello in Vietnamese. But I would teach something special, like how to say “I love Vietnam.” Tôi yêu Việt Nam!
IELP: Who in the program is from a country that’s farthest from Vietnam?
AMANDA: Everyone! Maria in our program is from Romania. I learned from her that in Romania they have massive buildings. Bigger than the Eiffel Tower and Empire State Building! It’s a really small country but they have amazing architecture.
IELP: What do you want to study in college?
AMANDA: Before this, I only knew I liked speaking English. Then Courtney and Sam gave a presentation on Communications during my first lesson here, and I was like, “Oh my gosh, I finally found my major!”
Amanda (middle) after winning first prize in an EF Organization speech competition last year.
IELP: Speaking of which, I hear you’re into vlogging. What are your goals for your vlogs?
AMANDA: My teacher inspired me to start making videos because she said I had really good proficiency in English, so I should share it. I started hosting videos teaching English and posting every day, and I got a team of people to help edit.
IELP: What advice would you give to other international students who are coming to the United States for the first time, but feel nervous about it?
AMANDA: I wouldn’t say anything, I would just show them my videos! The IELP program is a great place to experience new things, and you get to learn about a multicultural group of people. You have to be in it to experience it. America is big and there are a lot of things to learn – once you get here, you’re going to get something out of it.
We don’t know about you, but we’re jealous of all the fun Amanda is having this summer. Follow her English tips and journey in the U.S. through her vlogs (IK English Centre) on Facebook.