Being in Tech and Education

I was born in Canada to Vietnamese Boat People Refugees after the Vietnam War and now I feel finally matured enough to tell my story and show my gratitude to the Canadian people. I hope my story can reach and educate other refugees what to do. I also hope this reaches Vietnamese here and abroad.

My parents were lucky to get sponsored to Canada from a Malaysian refugee camp. They were able to settle Durham Region (East GTA). The St. Marks United Church in Whitby sponsored them.

My parents did not know much English and it was a struggle adjusting to Canada.

I had a good upbringing from grades kindergarten to grade 8. I had supportive classmates that wished me well and pushed me to follow my passions. My classmates in grade 8 said I should study math. I did not know if math was right choice so I did not pursue it. I just liked computers, art and wanted to program which I could not figure out on my own when I was that young.

When I went to university, I did the typical thing all Asian kids do and did life sciences. I did terrible at it. I had a lot of things going on at that time.

I figured that I had enough life experiences to finally pursue programming and tried it after finishing my life sciences degree. It did not go well. I dropped out doing computer science in university.

I then ventured out into the working world thinking I could not do any programming like I wanted and I worked every job I was interested in. I even had a lot of failures in my own business ventures.

After many years, I came back to computer programming in college coming to the conclusion only creating software mattered. I made good friends at Durham College. Then I stopped for a bit to gain more experiences in life and then I came back to computer programming and now I am almost done.

The most valuable thing I learned in life was to gain enough experiences in life that you feel you need to experience first and make friends that support you. Canada has given me so many things that I am grateful for. I had the full opportunity to do what I liked and wanted by finding the right people who supported me in my journey.

I thank my bosses and friends at AMLCSL (Al Lane and Wayne Ross) for allowing me volunteer and work at their computer store. They pushed me to pursue higher education and use my brain. While there, I met Ben Cybulski when he was doing his co-op and now we run this website. These supportive people changed my life to think, think, think for myself. I owe them.

Also with Canada’s great welcoming immigration policy, I was able to connect to students from Vietnam at various colleges when I returned to school. I learned about my motherland culture through them which helped me. I was able to make good friends with a man name Tan Vu (John). We studied programming together. He taught me how to program. He is an exceptional person as he is hard working, a true problem solver and willing to put in the work to become a Canadian citizen.

I reached a point in my life I feel that I don’t find thinking is that stressful no more because I learned programming for 1 year. Learning programming at Durham College has helped me think positively and be healthy. Coming back to school at Durham College opened the doors for me. Thanks to the Canadian system and supportive friends, I was educated to a point where I am confident that I can do what I individually want.

All my experiences and opportunities taught me to source good people to collaborate with and now I can work tutoring and develop software I like.

Thank you for the opportunities CANADA and to all my supportive friends! You made me, a child of war refugees dreams become possible.