Austin is from Orlando, USA, which he describes as green and culturally diverse. After several years of planning to relocate to Vietnam, he and his parents eventually made the move. Austin was upset about leaving behind so many friends and relatives, but at the same time he was excited to see what Vietnam had to offer.
In the early days, Austin, with his height, blond hair and ocean–blue eyes, was not sure how to respond to all the attention that he received from the local people. Prior to joining the Australian International School, Austin undertook an online learning course. His motivation level increased and he began to enjoy school life soon after coming to AIS. The support of staff, teachers, and friends also played an important part in helping him settle in Vietnam.
By making new friends who shared common interests, Austin broadened his social network and increased his enjoyment of
life in Vietnam. As time went by, Austin developed a deep appreciation of Vietnamese culture and people. Austin observes: “Vietnamese people love the family unit and relatives. Even when they are gone, Vietnamese people will still pray and respect the deceased. It is very rare for people in America to appreciate their family in this way.” Austin continues: “I was an average kid back in Orlando, and now living in Vietnam has changed me into an above-average kid because I now have experiences and knowledge that other kids back home don’t have.”
Austin’s tip for young people like him to settle well in Ho Chi Minh City:
“Get involved with the community, talk with people and socialise – these are the best ways to get to know a new city”.