Birthplace : Vietnam
Faculty : APM (Marketing)
Grade : 3rd year
Activities at APU : Honors Program, Exchange Program, Arauma Chiyo, TA
Annie Hoang is a 3rd year APM student from Vietnam who is majoring in Marketing. She is a proactive student who has strived for both academic and non-academic excellence throughout her years at APU. In this interview, Annie talks about her life at APU, her YouTube and Instagram brand, her experience partaking in the Exchange Program in Canada, and the honour of being bestowed the prestigious Ando Momofuku Award in her third semester.
【 What are you currently working on?】
I am taking a seminar course right now. I am also working on my thesis for the fourth year and doing job-hunting simultaneously. Besides this, I have a few passion projects that help me stay motivated every day and explore my interests in art, video-editing, and media. Due to the pandemic, I am currently jobless, circle-less, and mostly at home. But before this, I was a member of Arauma Chiyo, a traditional dance circle at APU. We practised once a week and performed at numerous events throughout the year.
【During your time at APU, what achievements (Academic/Extracurricular Activities) are you the proudest of?】
I am proudest of having received the Ando Momofuku Award in my third semester. It was a significant milestone for me because it reflected what I had done in my first three semesters, how much effort I had put into all the extracurricular activities I did, and how those activities paved a path for what I wanted to do in the upcoming years. I had proven to myself that if I work hard enough for something I desperately want, I can achieve it.
Recently, my exchange program at the University of British Columbia in Canada is another significant milestone for me. It was my first time going to the West, and I was baffled by how different things are: how they work, how they talk to each other, and how the job-hunting process functions. The exchange program expanded my horizons as it made me understand that I do not have to be this or that. For instance, I realised that I am good at marketing, but I also have a passion for art and design, so I could combine these two into something new to suit my unique interests.
【 What are the skills or attributes you gained at APU that you value the most? 】
The most apparent one, applicable to all APU students, is multi-cultural communication. When interacting with the diverse student body, you realise that there are so many different ways of viewing the same topic. It is an excellent exposure in APU to get to hear from so many different people. This kind of opportunity should not be taken for granted as it is offered only in selected places.
Secondly, appreciation of little details is another essential attribute I developed at APU. I learned to appreciate myself as well as the people around me. Since the beginning, I was blessed to be welcomed to APU in open arms. My friends, floormates, RAs, professors, and even the office staff were very attentive and took great care of me. From the littlest things like doing kitchen duty(KD) together, or sticking snacks and notes on each other’s doors, to throwing surprise birthday parties, it’s the little things that make for the secret ingredient of a long-lasting relationship. I learned to apply this to all my extra-curricular activities at APU as well as for the companies that I worked for.
【Were there any cultural shocks that made it difficult for you to adapt to the Japanese lifestyle?】
The challenge for me was that I was too prepared. I knew that I wanted to go to Japan for higher education, so I had researched in detail about the Japanese lifestyle and how I should respond to particular situations. I would have better liked to explore the Japanese culture for myself and stumble upon cultural shocks and differences during this process. That way, I would have had a more enjoyable experience.
Another challenge for me at the beginning was that I was quite lonely. I had joined in the Spring semester when there were not many students from my country. I found it challenging to communicate with the Japanese students since not just verbal but non-verbal communication in Japanese was quite different from my own. Yet, I was lucky enough to make friends with whom I could talk to and share my thoughts.
【 What kind of challenges did you face at APU?】
I used to have a lot of self-doubt in my opinions. In class, I would always have a burning passion for saying something when the teacher asked questions or when I thought of something interesting. But it’s my personality that I am quite shy. I wanted to avoid confrontation, so I suppressed many ideas and opinions to be ‘in harmony’. Even worse, I was afraid to share my thoughts because I thought it was mediocre or ‘not good enough’. Adding to that, I used to go to a public school where people don’t usually appreciate when students stand-out; it was more about conformity. But now that I have more experience, I feel like I should have been more adventurous and rebellious at that time. Although people may disagree with you, at least you will not regret not saying the things you wanted to say.
【 Which course at APU would you recommend to other students?】
For senior students, I recommend the seminar classes. Since the mandatory classes at APU tend to be big, you do not have enough time to go over specific topics. A seminar is a perfect way to focus on what you want to do within your subject of interest. Professors tailor what they teach and what you learn around the topic. For junior students, I’d recommend them to focus on their workshop classes like MCW and SSAW as it helps to grasp the foundation of being a university student whilst working with a diverse group of people.
【 What resources were the most helpful for you during the job-hunting process?】
I started with my job-hunting process two months ago. I initially planned to get a job in an international corporation as I was doubtful of my Japanese-speaking skills. But after having joined various seminars and guidance sessions for Japanese corporations, I have started to open my options to include Japanese companies as well. For international companies, it is hard to get resources on campus, so I reached out to external parties like Glassdoor and Linkedin as well as corporations such as J-port that offer assistance for international students to find employment in Japan. The ‘Shukatsu Handbook’ given by APU that lists important dates and templates detailing various companies, has also been a helpful guide for me. APU indeed has a lot of resources for job-hunting, and the staffs are always available to help.
【 What are your future goals?】
I want to finish my thesis on marketing about creating shared value between the customers and the company. I want to find a job with a similar objective of bringing customers and the firm together. I see myself working in Japan for at least 5-10 years because the past three years at APU have taught me a lot about how Japanese companies work, how Japanese people are, and how the Japanese economy functions. So I am looking forward to putting what I have learned and what I have been doing so far into practical use. The Japanese market and society is a great way to start. After accumulating experiences here, I am thinking of starting something of my own, maybe going back to my country and starting a business there.
【 Do you have any message for current APU students?】
You are capable of amazing things. Believe that you have the potential to do it. Focus. Focus on yourself and believe that you have so much to offer. Explore a range of interests and work on what you are passionate about. You don’t have to have the highest GPA; you don’t have to get every scholarship; you don’t have to be the best in everything; just be the best at being yourself.
To learn more about Annie, follow her at:
Youtube: Annie Hoang (https://www.youtube.com/aepiannie)
Instagram: @aepiannie (https://www.instagram.com/aepiannie)
LinkedIn: Phuoc (Annie) Hoang(https://www.linkedin.com/in/hvtphuoc)