October 1, 1999: College student tests her education in Vietnam

      October 1, 1999
      Contact:  Shelley Kean
      (604)  983-7596

      Teanny Lau, a graduate of the Advanced General Management diploma program at Capilano College, recently won a competition for a six-month internship in Vietnam. Lau was the only college student chosen for this Youth Employment Strategy program, which is funded by the Canadian government. The other candidates were selected from Canadian universities and are working in Hong Kong, Switzerland, England and Central America.

      "I was told I was chosen mainly for my eight years of experience at the Canadian International Dragon Festival," Lau says, "as well as for my other work experience in the event management industry. My sponsoring organization is the University of British Columbia."

      When the 24-year-old was interviewed for the position, she was asked if she would feel comfortable working among people who had gone through university programs. The question arose because in Canada there is a misconception that university training is better than a college education.

      "My answer," she says assertively, "was, ‘I do not feel that their education was better than mine. I am proud to say that I came from a college. I learned similar things and I am able to accomplish what they have. I earned my position after all. I am confident that my abilities will show through my work and because of this they will realize that my educational background is comparable.’"

      The Vancouver resident is working as an administrative coordinator with the Canada-Vietnam Business Association in Ho Chi Minh City. "I have the opportunity to meet many consulars, ambassadors, and government officials," she says. "Most recently, I met the newly-appointed Canadian ambassador to Vietnam. I also meet regularly with other national associations to discuss the needs of foreign businesses in that country."

      This is the first time the recent graduate has been away from home alone and although she knew when she applied that she had a good chance of getting the job, she also recognized that it would be a big change.

      "I was petrified," she admits. "I consulted many people on whether or not to accept the offer. I do owe thanks to Marilyn Taylor (Retail Marketing instructor) , Dave O’Leary (Business Administration and Co-op program instructor), and Peter Holden (Business Administration instructor), among others, who encouraged me to take this opportunity.

      "The funny thing is," she adds, "I’ve never had them as instructors. They just supported me in my decision. The last course I took at Capilano College was International Business. Rorri McBlane did a great job of teaching and it has helped me cope. That’s probably why I accept this environment rather than dislike it. I encourage anyone, whether they intend to do anything internationally or not, to take a similar course."

      Other than homesickness, Lau is really enjoying herself. She has settled into a small hotel that has air-conditioning, hot water, a television and two hours of free Internet access daily, all for US$9 a night. She even managed to meet some Asia Pacific Management Cooperative Program associates, who are also working in Vietnam.

      "I was having a conversation with a group of people one day and it just came up that they were from Canada. That led to the question, ‘where are you from, etc.’ I met one APMCP associate and he knew the others."

      Lau hopes to complete her business degree through the Open University and continue to work in the event management industry. "After listening to consulars during my pre-departure workshop, I may consider an occupation working for the Canadian government in consulates and embassies," she says.