When speaking of the first day at a new school, I, like many people, have distinct memories and first impressions. My first day at Thang Long was filled with surprises and delight. After over a year of studying there, I still feel excited to go to school every day. 

At the start, when mum told me of Thang Long, I wasn’t interested as my timetable at Chi Lang school was already tight, and I hate talking to new people. After about a month though, I decided to enroll as I felt I should experience new things, and it would be a good opportunity to improve my communication skills. But before enrolling, there was an interview process regarding my family background. My family situation is average, the main difficulty is my mum’s job involves a lot of manual labour despite her suffering from an incurable illness. Honestly, even though it’s hard to talk about mum’s illness, I’m proud of her for always doing her best to support and care for my sister and I. 

The application process for Thang Long involves an aptitude test, which I think is reasonable. At the time of admission, there is an exam to identify a student’s skills/level in order to be placed in an appropriate class. This was one of the things that gave me a lasting first impression. When I first met my peers and teacher, I was timid when communicating. Over time, however, I quickly found that everybody was super friendly and easy to get along with. Everybody supports each other with studying and everything else. The teacher teaches us wholeheartedly. She’s pretty funny too and always finds novel solutions to help me better understand the material. 

However, I was only at school for a little while before the first Covid outbreak occurred in Vietnam – then, I could only see my peers online. Online learning is much more difficult. You’re more prone to distractions, your neighbours might be noisy, or you may have wifi connection issues. I have to sit next to the wifi router, clear my room of pillows and blankets – these are issues that can easily be resolved, but annoying nonetheless when faced every day. With that being said, everyone in my class is always studious, including when online learning. 

I’m glad that I am able to study at Thang Long – whether it be face-to-face or online. Even if there are obstacles, I’m happy to see my friends and teachers. Thanks to the support of my class, I was able to overcome my weaknesses in communication, and now very much enjoy talking and socialising with my peers. Everybody is easy to get close to – they’re kind and patient. Everybody wants to get to know each other better and support one another. The learning material is also incredibly beneficial. Besides teaching material from the textbook, my teacher further expands our knowledge with outside material – and sometimes, even organises fun activities to improve our understanding. 

My Thang Long school is like that. Everyone is easy-going. All the teachers are dedicated to teaching us – and in turn, all the students are respectful and listen attentively to the teachers. Whether it be face-to-face or online learning, I still enjoy it because I like Thang Long school. I hope I can achieve something life-changing in the future, and that disadvantaged students have the opportunity to go to school.