Growing up in Vietnam, Anh Phan was always sure of her calling to pursue a business-related career and follow in the footsteps of her hardworking parents. But first, she needed an international qualification. Canada stood out as a top destination for its quality institutions and multicultural population. When Phan found Dalhousie University, she was convinced it was the best choice for her. “It was my first choice due to its prestigious reputation of academic excellence, research opportunities and vibrant campus life,” she says.
When she hopped off the plane, Phan was excited to start her new chapter in life, but also a little nervous. Once she was on campus, however, she found comfort in the friendly and approachable students surrounding her. They readily noticed her confusion and assisted her in locating her classes. Phan remembers cherishing her free time to explore her new home. Each excursion entailed uncovering another quiet study spot with breathtaking views and minimal noise, encouraging focus and productivity.
The level of support she received right off the bat helped her realise this academic journey was not one she had to embark on alone. Hence why the student registered for a Together@Dal Mentor, a student who dedicates their spare time to supporting and encouraging new students through their first year at Dalhousie. Participants join one-on-one and group meetings, social activities, and events alongside their mentor, who serves as a knowledgeable guide, thoughtful facilitator, and ultimately a role model and advocate.“Engaging in Together@Dal allowed me to make new connections through check-in sessions and on-campus activities, which made social integration easier,” Phan says.
She also leveraged Dalhousie‘s Study for Success programme, which helps learners enhance their study skills through frequent workshops, personal coaching and tutoring sessions. Focus areas include time management, efficient note-taking, effective studying, exam preparation, bouncing back from failure, and overall academic progression.
All of this made it easy for Phan to make the most of her Bachelor of Commerce experience. She even felt confident enough to tweak her curriculum to match her interests. Lecturers were always available to guide her through the process.
“The academic advice team at the Faculty of Management always provided the greatest support regarding class choices and programme customisation,” she explains. “They always listen to my concerns and suggestions for improvement. They also do everything in their power to ensure I’m on track to reaching my greatest personal and professional potential.”
Phan, a major in Marketing, got to take modules in Artificial Intelligence and Brewing Civilisations — both of which are currently her favourites. These classes explore the historical aspects of technology, which fascinate her.
Professor Rick Nason tops Phan’s list of favourite faculty members for his distinctive teaching methods. They provide students with a comprehensive understanding of financial markets. She also had a positive experience at Dr. Horand Gassmann’s classes. “I often struggled with advanced quantitative due to its complexity, but he would always assist students who came to his office after hours to go through practice exercises or questions that may arise during class.
Life outside the classroom has been equally enriching. Phan actively participates in student societies aligned with her interests, such as the Dalhousie Vietnamese Student Association, which organises monthly events to highlight the cultural richness of Vietnam and foster a sense of unity among students. As a member of the Dalhousie Consulting Association, she’s been able to attend panel discussions featuring industry experts and office tours to prominent corporations. “Such opportunities allow us to learn from and network with industry,” Phan says.
“Thankfully, Dalhousie offers unique class schedules that allow students to flexibly balance academic excellence with other activities, including on-campus extracurriculars and work.” The university provides numerous part-time employment opportunities on campus, allowing Phan to earn practical experience in her field while establishing valuable connections within the community.
It’s easy to understand why Phan plans to build a life and career in Canada after graduating. Thanks to the end-to-end support from Dalhousie University, Phan has managed to build a solid foundation here, one that promises a bright future ahead for her.
“The International Centre at the university often holds workshops and sessions to share knowledge about study/work permits as well as other helpful resources,” she shares. “There is also a group of advisors, particularly for immigration purposes. They always give great advice to students and certainly help ease concerns regarding immigration and policies.”
If this sounds like the study abroad education you need, click here to learn more about Dalhousie University — the ultimate destination for international students.