As an international student, Tra "Hana" Hoang learned branching out was the best way to make new friends. She enjoys dancing, watching Korean dramas, and running in her free time.
Hana Hoang makes Iowa State her second home
Adjusting to college took time for Hana. She was not only transitioning from high school to college, but also still adapting to life in the United States after growing up in Vietnam. Hana struggled her first two semesters, so she decided to make changes to improve her college experience.
“My first year was my hardest year,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to work in a food-related field, which is why my first major was dietetics. I’ve never been a chemistry person, but I wanted to try it anyways.”
Hana switched her major to hospitality management and got involved around campus. She learned how to bake when she first came to the U.S. and wants to own a bakery after she graduates, so she started working in ISU Dining's central bakery. Working at the bakery gives Hana time to do what she loves and take a break from school.
“Getting to see all the baking supplies makes me really happy,” she said. “It’s really relaxing, and the people are nice. Not being able to bake at home and then getting to go over there is really fun.”
In addition to switching her major and starting a job, Hana also found a way to make new friends and express herself by joining Motion Sickness Dance Team. She was even able to get over her fear of performing in front of an audience.
“I had really bad stage fright. During my first show, I was shaking,” Hana said. “I’ve learned and improved my skills with the help of my friends on the team, and it helps me de-stress after studying.”
By changing her major and branching out, Hana found a close group of friends and her niche on campus. Though her transition to college was tough, she wants other incoming international students to know getting involved and meeting people can lead to a much more positive college experience.
"My best tip is to make lots of friends," she said. "My friends and I share a lot of interests and we support each other through the ups and downs."