Vietnamese Department, Class of 2016
What are you doing now?
I am currently pursuing a dual MD-PhD degree at the University of Arizona, MSTP program.
What inspired you to join VHIO?
I came to the US when I was 14, without knowing much of the English language. At the time, I underwent a medical journey to get diagnosed with my medical condition. Each hospital visit was accompanied by a Vietnamese professional interpreter. This experience shaped how I viewed the mission of interpreters and the impact they have on non-English speaking patients.
Has your experience in VHIO impacted your life today?
The experiences I had in VHIO definitely solidified my goals to become a well-rounded physician who’s culturally and linguistically competent. The majority of the patient population in Arizona is Hispanic. I would love to learn Spanish one day in the future. A physician I shadowed on a mission trip to Mexico learned Spanish after he finished his residency. He was actually my Spanish interpreter during this trip! It’s definitely feasible to learn a new language later in your life 🙂
What’s something memorable about your experience in VHIO?
I would say the VHIO members I met are the most memorable part. I met so many new friends from other language departments and still keep in touch with a lot of them to this day. I definitely recommend everyone to pursue a leadership position. It’s the best way to interact with friends from other departments.
What advice would you give current VHIO members?
Take it easy. Take it slow. Take some time off after college to enjoy your life. Before medical school, I took a three-year gap to work as a research technician while studying for the MCAT. I had time to develop new skills as a researcher and more importantly grow as an individual. I had more time to enjoy life outside of school. I definitely would recommend it for everyone hoping to continue in the health care field. You’ll still have the rest of life to keep learning.