Meet The An Huy Nguyen, otherwise known as Dann Nguyen. He is a Vietnamese international student, the main singer of “The Calligraphers” band and an adviser of VIET Youth Australia. Here’s what he had to say about his experiences:
Why did you choose Australia?
Choosing a place oversea to follow your dream is hard, but I am always eager to learn about Western cultures, new knowledge and techniques in a course related to music industry. Apart from looking for a high-quality school/institution, you will have to see if the place you are going to is safe and saving enough or not. After taking ages to conduct my personal research, I decided to go to Australia instead of the America because:
1/ Australia is a safe country.
2/ I can work part-time legally.
So I landed in Australia and well, this is an “open-minded society”. I mean it because it is where people do not care about your appearances, abilities and the way you behaves, as well as there is no gossip and creating a network for business is easier.
“You are not a tree to stay in a place”
Tell us a bit about your academic experiences:
I finished high school back in Vietnam and right after that moved to Australia with my passion for acoustic music in February 2015. Since I was under 18 years old at the time, I started with a Foundation program in UTS: Insearch, and graduated with quite a high grade. Honestly, I found Foundation very easy. Future students not to be apprehensive about it. Some tips to survive:
- You just need to work very carefully and notice the details about English —> It is ALL about English!
- Try to be financially stable! —> Learn to cook, home-cooked food is good and cheaper!
- Take more risks and be open!
- Do not skip many classes
After the Foundation program, I then took one semester of ‘Bachelor of Sound and Music Design’ in the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), skipping all the core subjects and theory classes because I was so excited to learn about what I could do. However, I felt as though I needed a more hands-on experience and so transferred to SAE Institute, majoring in Audio Engineering to save time and money on the way to reaching my dream.
“Do not care about haters. Because you have your values”
How would you describe yourself?
I am a bold, daring, optimistic and confident person! I am not afraid of taking risks and doing what I am keen on. I defined it as my pros and cons, as it helped me to ignore public opinion and focus on myself and what I love. However, it also makes myself become quite a bit hurry and hasty when handling problems that I always think it has nothing to worry about.
I have an endless love with acoustic music and guitar. And my dream is to be able to create an acoustic guitar brand. Therefore, I chose to study the “Bachelor of Sound and Music Design” at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS). This subject and major are pretty hard to find in Vietnam, so with a passion for acoustic music and guitar, I came to Australia, enroled in the top university in this major to pursue my ultimate goal of my life.
Remember: “You are you! Do not be fake!”
You mentioned that you were in a band, how did your passion for music start?
Since I was in high school, I joined many music clubs, set up Phu Nhuan Acoustic Club. I also recently won first place in “VIET Youth Has Talents 2015” with my band “The Calligraphers”. After I came to Sydney, I also joined all Vietnamese student music events such as “VDS Gala” and “VietYouth got talents” (I call it ‘enthusiasm’), and am currently an adviser for the organisation of “Viet Youth Australia”. I also still keep in touch with my team in Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam) despite the distance and different time zones. I mainly write their training contents with the knowledge I gained from reading books or by asking famous international Vietnamese students, and create useful projects for the students about things such as the ‘Mindset’ and being an ‘Entrepreneur’.
What is some advice you can give to other international students?
“Do not wait for an opportunity. Find it or create it yourself.” I like this quote because it can be applied to anyone, in any situation and think it is especially inspirational to artists. Although I love Vietnam, I still wanted to leave and find an opportunity to bring new air to my homeland’s music industry. I love my country’s music and desire to do something new, to proofread the acoustic music. The music industry in Australia is all filled up; even Westerners cannot get a job. In Vietnam, the music taste of young people is westernised.
At the moment, I am having a three-month holiday before the new semester starts at SAE. I took a chance during this long holiday to come back Vietnam and prepare for my treasured event as a director of “Ngan Ngo – The Concert”. This concert, in the form of musical theatre, is to orient new thinking about arts to young people and enhance their knowledge of humanities. All music clubs from every high school in Ho Chi Minh City will be able to contribute to this enormous project and perform at Hoa Binh Theatre which can fit up to 2000 people.
“There are 7 billion people so why don’t you be confident?
It is not about who you are; it is about you.
Because you are different!”
– Dann Nguyen
Last modified: May 28, 2016