International Student Story: Thanh Tung Le

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Thanh Tung Le is freestyle photographer and a Vietnamese international student in Sydney, Australia. You can recognize him by his nice and impressive style of dressing. Not only does he have photography skills, but Tung also has a Bachelor of Engineering with Second Class Honours from University of Technology (UTS), Sydney since 2014.

Tung went to Australia in 2009 with an open mind and optimism about the high educational system. The reason why he chose Australia as his studying destination is quite simply because he has relatives already living in Sydney, it is a short-distance from Viet Nam and has global qualified educational systems.

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You can recognize Tung by his impressive style of dressing. (Photo by Justin Le)

When Tung first came here, he was taking an Advanced Diploma of Electrical Engineering in TAFE for 2 years. He did it because of his passions in physics, math and technology back in high school years. After finishing the diploma, he still felt unsatisfied and wanted to learn more, which pushed him to apply to a Bachelor of Engineering at UTS.


Why Engineering and why the University of Technology?

Answering this question, he becomes a serious and passionate person, explaining the important role of engineering to human life. “Engineering is very interesting and essential in developing civilisation. Everything needs to be created, developed, fixed and innovated all the time to be better. For example, hearing aids was invented a long time ago, but it is always developed to be more convenient and cheaper for everyone to be able to buy it,” Tung said with enthusiasm.

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When Tung knew a story about a mind-controlled smart wheelchair invented by a Vietnamese student in UTS, he was more encouraged to accept the challenge of the major. This decision may also be a good chance for Tung to move closer to his dream which is inventing things to help more people.

Tung predicted that engineering was not an easy way, but it was more challenging when he was already in it. To him, teamwork skills and new study methods are what he has improved the most. The amount of work such as assignments and projects escalated before he noticed.


To those doing engineering, Tung’s advice would be:

“Choose your team members wisely for a group assignments.”

Tung explained more about the challenges in teamwork. For every project, everyone has to pick up a new team, and therefore has to get used to all members quite quickly. Moreover, each project requires a different solution, so the methods, environments and roles are constantly changing.

To complete the assignments, Tung believed that communication is the key element of success. Communication, he defined, is to know the contact of every member so that any problems can be immediately fixed as a group. This is very important because “it will save more time and efforts to correct the mistake at the beginning than last minutes” – Tung said.

As an international student, like many others, Tung had a part-time job. There was one semester that he had to take 4.5 subjects (with one compulsory half-credit “half subject” unit) while working as an Internet café operator. This temporary job not only brought him an adequate amount of money, but it was also a chance for him to meet different types of customers and improve his skills in solving situational problems. To relax and stimulate himself during other stressful times, Tung listened to speeches and videos of inspiring people.

Everything can be done. It is just about yourself if you want to make time for it. Well, an engineer can still be a photographer, isn’t it, Tung?

“Being a photographer means you have to be ready for criticisms besides compliments. It is nothing but helping you to be more patient and determined.” – Thanh Tung Le

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With Tung, photography is more than just a hobby. It is a passion that made him into the person he is today. When he wasn’t studying, he loved to shoot photos for his friends.

In his experience, the main difference between working as a professional event photographer and a casual photographer is flexibility. Tung explained that as an event photographer, he was more relaxed due to the team’s encouragement and stimulation. When directing a photo shoot, however, he was very strict.

Striving to learn more, Tung is now volunteering for Ozduhoc, a project founded in 2014 by Infinity Connect Pty Ltd. It is a multi-media channel aimed at helping the Vietnamese students community in Australia to get the most out of their education, networks and resources. Tung has been involved in some successful events as a poster designer and photographer since September 2015. So far he finds the volunteer work to be very enjoyable.


Tung was studying and working harder than ever, and everything paid off on his graduation ceremony day.

For Tung, it is one of the gravest and most memorable days of his life. He excitedly said: “At the same time you know all your efforts worth it, you feel worried before the ceremony but when you are on the stage, smiling big is the natural thing you will do.”

Tung is now working full time as an Assistant Directorfor a small company about lighting wholesaler and project specialisation. Although his dream is a technical position at CISCO, he is still happy with this job as it applies techniques and skills learnt in his Bachelors. Tung believes that it will give him the necessary professionalism and practical knowledge required for business management. He is also considering a Master degree, majoring in Project Management as a first step to his goal of opening a business about technology.


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“Do not work hard, work smart!” – Thanh Tung Le


Last modified: November 20, 2015

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