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18-year-olds in Vietnam – P2: Students’ voices

Friday, July 24, 2015, 16:18 GMT+7
18-year-olds in Vietnam – P2: Students’ voices

Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper’s forum on whether an 18-year-old person can be considered mature has received feedback from Vietnamese students who are studying in other countries and have a life apart from their parents.

The forum was launched by the newspaper when images of parents taking very close care of their 12th -grade children, who are 18 and were entering the national high school exam, spread widely in local media.

Although the exam took place from July 1 to 4, its sideline stories are still being discussed.

The results of the national exam will be used for both high school graduation and university admission.

To sit for the exam, which is considered a turning point of student life, contestants from across the country flocked to major towns and cities.

They had parents accompanying them, nervously waiting for their children to take the exam, driving them from home to school, watching them finishing their meals, as well as giving them other care.

Some students studying away from home told the newspaper what they think about this.

18 is not comprehensively mature

Oanh Ho, who is studying in Finland, said she thought 18 is a suitable age for someone to look after themselves.

“At that age, I think people have enough knowledge and skills fend for their own life, especially in the time of easily-accessed information technology,” she said. “However, someone 18 years old is on the way to growing up and is not comprehensively mature. This is the age to learn to be mature.”

According to Oanh, people at 18 could have their own thoughts and decisions, but have not had enough experiences to choose the right thing to do.

Meanwhile, Huynh Xuan Thi, who is studying in the U.S., said that parents accompanying their children to big cities for the exam is necessary because it could help them ease the stress of the tests, as well as adapt to a new place.

“However, people at 18 could be independent, because most people at that age in Vietnam sooner or later have to leave their family for college, and they must know how to take care of themselves,” Thi said.

Van Pham, a student in Singapore, said that it would be risky for those contestants to go to strange cities alone for the exam.

“This is an important exam, while they have many things to deal with like accommodations, eating, travel, etc., plus the danger of robbery,” Van said.

Another Finland-based student, Phuong Anh, also agreed that those who have just finished high school need to be taken care of by their family.

For students from other places coming to new cities for such an important exam like the national high school exam, the company of parents would be very useful for them.

“But 18, in my opinion, is the age at which people should learn to look after themselves,” she said. “Maturity is not about the age, but from 18, people will start to be mature when they live far from their parents.”

Aging is not related to being able to take care of oneself, according to Nguyen Ngoc Nha Thy, who is studying in the U.S.

“It’s obvious that a homeless 10 year-old kid will get acquainted with life better than an 18-year-old boy who has always been cared for by his family,” she stated. “But of course, I believe that people at 18 could take care of themselves.”

Being away from home – a good chance to grow up

Many overseas students admitted that leaving their home country to study, though very difficult, gives them a good chance to learn to be mature, as they have to deal with everything on their own, without the help of parents.

Singapore-based Van realized that being separated from family is a big turning point for people to learn how to grow up.

“I have to do everything on my own, from catching a bus to planning for daily expenses or signing tenancy,” Van said. “Overseas students are not the only ones who can be on their own, no matter where you are, if you dare to leave your family’s care behind, you’ll learn a lot.”

Eighteen-year-old student Huynh Xuan Thi, who has four years of experience in studying overseas, said it was tough at first but, “I was getting used to it and could be responsible for things related to my life, including applying to schools or doing housework.”

Meanwhile, Anh said from Finland that she left her home to study overseas at the age of 19.

“I have to do almost all the things related to my study, like preparing to apply to schools, finding places to stay, etc.,” she said.

Nguyen Ngoc Nha Thy, 18, said she went to the U.S. to study at the age of 17.

“It’s a very good chance to perfect myself, especially when I have to live independently of my family,” she said. “Though I was self-reliant at home, my parents still solved problems for me.”

“Due to the light curriculum, 18-year-old people in the U.S. can have time for part-time jobs and become independent of parents in terms of money,” Thy said while comparing the difference between young people in the place she is staying with those in her hometown, Ho Chi Minh City, adding that people at 18 in the U.S. seem to be more mature than her friends back in Vietnam.

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