Linh Truong - Alumni Success Story
10 June 2021
Imagine picking up your life and moving almost 10,000 miles away to a foreign country, where they spoke a very different language. How would you continue your career? Would your education be accepted in your new country? This was the dilemma faced by Linh Truong when she moved from Vietnam to the United States in June of 2017.
As a student in Vietnam, Linh graduated from University of Economics Ho Chi Minh City in 2003. She was employed in the procurement field for 12 years before moving to the U.S. Linh was happy with her career and was hoping to pursue similar work when she arrived here. However, the transition would not be so simple. Employers did not recognize her degree and language was a barrier. “My CV was not accepted by U.S. employers. Besides, people did not understand my English,” said Linh.
Determined to move forward, Linh concluded further education was the answer. “I decided to get a professional degree in the U.S. for a better future,” she explained. She chose Harford Community College, because it was convenient, and close to home. “I’m really glad I chose Harford; the teachers are very high quality,” said Linh. She enrolled in English as a Second Language (ESL) classes at Harford, and spent a year improving her English language skills. Linh’s husband, who had been living in the U.S. since he was 13 years old, became her study partner.
“After one year in ESL class, Ms. Chelsea advised me to continue on to the GED classes as my level was overqualified for the ESL class,” said Linh. She registered for GED classes at Harford in September 2019. While attending her classes, Linh was working full-time at a nail salon and caring for her two small children and physically disabled husband. “I had little time for studying at home. I tried to remember what I studied in the class. Repeating the class is the way to earn knowledge,” explained Linh.
It took her one year, but in fall 2020, she earned her GED. “The teachers are so friendly and passionate. They knew English was my second language. They paid more attention to me in the class and helped me solve the exercises,” explained Linh. “I greatly appreciated the instruction and kind support of my GED teachers, Mrs. Carolyn Swift, Mr. Joseph Ploskonka, Mrs. Kerrin O’Neill, Mrs. Denise McNew, Miss Courtney Glock, Mrs. Rhonda Davis, Ms. Beth Johnson, and Mrs. Jessie Thompson,” Linh added.
One of her GED instructors, Rhonda Davis, remembers Linh fondly, saying “When I learned that Linh passed her GED exam, I thought about her persistence to learn. Linh had a vision for the future that fueled her learning. Adult Literacy is proud of her accomplishments.” When asked what advice Linh would give other students working toward their GED, she explained, “Doing the exercises in GED books and i-pathway is useful. Practice tests on the GED website are good for students before the real test, and attending all sections of the GED class.”
While working on her GED at Harford, Linh was also enrolled in the Dental Assistant program. She completed the program in 2019, but was still struggling with her English. “English communication is my trouble. I could not understand the orders of the dentist and requirements of the patient. I gave up this career,” she said. In the same vein, regarding the degree Linh had already attained from University of Economics Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, she said, “I decided not to pursue this career fundamentally because of the language barrier, in addition to the transitional requirements in order to practice my educational background/field here in the States.”
After getting her GED, Linh landed a position as a learning assistant at William Paca Elementary School in Abingdon. “I am so happy and enjoy the education working environment,” said Linh. She is currently enrolled at CCBC in the noncredit bookkeeping program, and is planning a career in that field.
Harford is proud to call Linh an alumna and to hold her up as an example of persistence in education. The College wishes Linh all the best and every success in all her future endeavors!
English as a Second Language
The ESL program helps foreign-born adults improve listening, speaking, reading, writing, and communication skills.