Yesterday was Graduation Day for me 👩🏻🎓! And on that occasion, I wrote my parents and thanked them for everything they did for me. You can’t imagine the sacrifices they made, the love and support they give me to grow into the person I am and will be. I feel like most children of Asian immigrants around the world can agree with me that Asian parents are so hardworking and giving and selfless, just so they can give their children a better future.
I studied at Copenhagen Business School, the prestige university for the “rich kids” – at least that’s the reputation. And there is always a bit of truth and a reason for a certain image. Understandingly when I first started, my parents feared I would have difficulties to keep up at that university and have disadvantages. That thought came because my family couldn’t just buy me an apartment here and they have no connections to get me a student job or internships. They would love to give me all these things but we come from a different background. And they wanted to support me financially at least, but I said no because they raised me and my two younger siblings to be independent and hardworking, so I financed every cent for my life here and for my travels myself and I graduated with an average B-, which is good enough for me and my future studies 🙂
Yes, to be honest, a lot of fellow students had it easier and got an internship or job because their parent or other relatives knew people or worked there themselves and could help them. They had it easier but it doesn’t mean I felt without a chance. I just had other chances and I made my peace that I have to work with these odds, and not against them. Of course, somedays it was killing my spirit, to receive no response to all the applications or to stress because I couldn’t find an apartment. It had its tough moments and I would lie if I didn’t envy some of my friends, whose parents could support them with their connections and status.
My parents came to Germany in the 1990s, crossing the border illegally in the back of a truck. I am always very proud of the fact that my mom and dad changed their odds and managed to set up a great life for us all in Germany. They grew up after the Vietnam War and during the civil war. In their teenage years, my mom and dad each on their own, went to Europe and then immigrated to Northern Germany after the wall in Berlin fell. My parents actually met in Germany, fell in love, had me and my brother and fought in order to stay in Germany indefinitely. And in 2000 we were allowed to – it’s a really sweet and typical immigrant story. As long as I can remember, my parents would work hard and try to find ways to start their own business, you know, having a restaurant or a shop, Asian immigrant style – in order for us to have a good life in Germany. A good middle-class life. And for some, that’s not good enough but for me, it is the most inspiring and empowering story. My parents grew up in the war-stricken country and managed to give their children, my two younger siblings and me, a completely different life. I didn’t feel like lacking anything, even though I knew we have a different background and sometimes I have to fight harder to get the same chances as others.
Which is actually one of the reasons I started this blog and my social media channels. One person asked me in a Facebook group where I shared my article, why I keep posting it in all these groups and if I am that desperate for attention. I thought about this statement for some time, not just to reflect on myself but also to find a way to explain it in a way, that is understandable. I realized that for me, in order to create my own network and connections, I have to invest and market the one thing I can always count on: myself.
I started to blog because I couldn’t find a proper student job 3 years ago, and only babysitting didn’t add value to my CV. So after months of applying for corporate student jobs here in Copenhagen and getting rejected or no answer at all, I decided to start a platform where people get to know me and where I help people to get started with their lives in Denmark. With this, I will reach out to people I might never have the chance to introduce myself to. Even if they just read my articles for a minute or two, I get the chance to make an impression right? And on the other side, I keep updating my blog and write down things I learned and my experiences, to help others and to connect with like-minded people. I guess if you are still reading, you can probably relate to living abroad, or the Asian parents situation and actually have a similar heritage yourself or you can relate to something else that I wrote about.
Anyway, two of the student jobs I have now, I got because my bosses were following my posts and channels. Some of my friends I have, I “met” them through Social Media. I have a very good friend named Anna, who was planning to move to Copenhagen two years ago, and then she bumped into my content. A month ago, a German-Vietnamese girl, named Mai, texted me that we just have the same background and interests and she felt understood by the feelings I expressed in my blog posts about cultural differences. Mai and I have been hanging out a lot since our first meeting and I am glad I got to meet her through my blog. Both Anna and Mai were waiting for me with flowers and champagne at my Bachelor defense, with my family from Germany. For me, friends are the family you find when living abroad.
That is why, some influencers, like me, entrepreneurs, artists or freelancers, etc, are sharing their thoughts and content in groups and it seems like a “cry for attention” and in a way it is – it is a chance to reach out to people to create our own network and build our own thing. Because some of us come from a background where our family doesn’t have connections or high positioned jobs to hook us up with a job and help us out otherwise. It’s great for me to get in touch with people; in Beijing and Taipei, where I will be living soon, in Shanghai where I plan to do an internship next summer, in Hanoi and HCMC where some family member live and where I have my roots and in Copenhagen of course, because that was my base the past years. We have to find a way to build that ourselves and Social Media is a great way for it. Also, it doesn’t hurt anyone and you meet the nicest and most helpful and inspiring people on it if you look closer 🙂
As for me now, I have the German citizenship since I am 19 years old, I love spending my free time blogging, I just graduated from one of the best business schools in the world and I will study my double degree Master in Beijing soon, spending several months in Taipei during my breaks.
I am so excited for my next years in China and Taiwan and thanks to my hardworking and loving parents, my life is in my own hands. They taught me that no one owes you anything – and only I myself can work hard enough to change your life. Their values taught me that with hard work and no sense of entitlement, I can go anywhere in the world if I wanted to, do anything if I wanted to and become the best version of myself if I won’t give up working on it. There are some factors you have no control about, but there are many things you can influence. I am excited for what comes next 🙂
Thank you so much for reading! Do you have a similar story and want to share them? When I posted about the feeling of being split and lost in between cultures, Real-Talk: Dating, feeling lost and feeling home; The Third Culture Kid, I got over hundreds of messages with personal stories, which made me realized that we are not alone with our feelings and its worth sharing 🙂 So please hit me up if you want to share a story!
Lots of love, Tuni ❤️
Curious about my life in Copenhagen? This is my first VLOG 🙂
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