Theo Making the Most of His Time in U.S.A.


Vit Nosek, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Theo Phan, current exchange student from Vietnam, came to Notre Dame Academy in August last year. Therefore, it has been nine months of academic studying and learning about a different culture.

He is currently a senior and at this time, he is getting ready for graduation. His honest smile and positive attitude are shared with all of us every day.

Theo grew up in a city called Ho Chi Minh, commonly known as Saigon. This place is famous for multicultural cuisine and the monsoon climate.

Theo described Saigon as “a huge city with anything you could imagine, like open markets with constant fresh food produce of any kind, skyscrapers and beautiful parks. If you would ever travel to Vietnam, feel free to ask natives for help. People there are very friendly and willing to talk.”

Theo left for the United States two years ago. Last year, he was a student at a different high school in the Green Bay area.

Theo decided to study abroad for many reasons. “I believe that America has a better education system and tools that will help me in my future career,” he said.

Theo has a brother, along with many cousins, who are currently working or studying across the state.

The differences between the Vietnamese and the United States education system include students in Vietnam stay in one class for a whole day with teachers moving between classrooms.

Theo sees some benefits in the Vietnamese school system: “We get to know our classmates more and are closer to each other.”

Generally speaking, education in Vietnam is more focused on experiments and real-life experience. On the other hand, schools in the U.S. offer a broader, wide variety of subjects. For example, Theo was really excited for school in America because he could not take an art class in Vietnam.

Regardless of all the differences in the education system, Theo truly loves NDA.

“I feel like I have grown so much more here than in the last couple of years. I became more confident, loving, and I got to learn more about the USA,” he said.

Theo really enjoys art class and Mr. Lagerman’s theology class.

“Art provides me a chance to develop my love of art while preparing for my career and theology enriches my faith and mind through lessons about God.”  

And how does he feel about Americans?  “I love how everyone here always puts on a smile and cares for each other no matter the situation.”

Theo would like to study computer animation, another foreign language and learn more about the Bible.