RMIT Vietnam alumna Nguyen Phuong Thuy had to overcome social and personal obstacles to follow her love of NGOs and passion for travelling and helping others.
For the 28-year-old Bachelor of Commerce graduate, finding her passion took some time.
“After graduating I got a good job in the financial industry with a high salary and great colleagues,” Thuy said.
“But within a few months I realised that I did not fit into this industry, and I wanted to quit my job.
“I believe that you can be a failure if you push yourself to do something that you’re not passionate about.”
Looking back, Thuy said the two best decisions in her life were choosing RMIT Vietnam for university study and leaving the financial industry.
“Studying at RMIT gave me confidence, decision making skills and a belief in myself.”
It also gave her choice.
Faced with this difficult situation, Thuy had the self-confidence to choose a new career more aligned with her passions: to support the community and to work in an international environment.
After working for another NGO, Thuy joined Sarus, an exchange program which aims to create experience-based attitude shifts within university students from bordering countries and to converge future leaders from both countries in a collaborative and transformative month of personal growth.
“I started as an intern at a lower salary but felt much happier,” Thuy said.
It was challenging to work with people from different cultural backgrounds.
Thuy experienced culture shock when she first accompanied her Cambodian friends as part of her job.
“I thought I understood our next-door neighbours, but I was wrong,” Thuy remembered.
“The first month was very tough; we misunderstood each other, and I had to step back and learn to listen and apologise.”
After more than two years in the organisation, Thuy is now the representative of the Sarus program in Cambodia and has run three exchange programs in Cambodia and Vietnam.
“Sarus helps bring peace to countries as stated in its core values, but it also creates understanding among individuals,” Thuy said.
“For me, Sarus has brought inner peace as my work is now aligned with my passions.”
Story: Ha Hoang