Special to Ontario Construction News
Scholarships can make a world of difference in a student’s education and future—the exact happened to Vincent Nguyen in 2020.
COVID-19 had just arrived in Canada. The then-Construction Engineering Technology (T105) student had his hours cut at his job. His parents’ business in Vietnam had also been greatly impacted. Suddenly, his tuition was in jeopardy and Nguyen was understandably frustrated.
But soon, luck (and proof of hard work) came Nguyen’s way in the form of the Concert Properties & Partners Award, helping him along the path towards graduation.
“There is no doubt that the scholarship I received from Concert Properties played a critical role in my life,” he said. “Never in my life would I have thought that I would receive a scholarship since I was an international student. However, this scholarship proved that if I work hard and support my colleagues and friends, everything will pay off.”
Besides helping him during a difficult time, Nguyen says the validation of his academic abilities was also greatly appreciated.
“Receiving this award means a lot to me since it recognized that I demonstrated outstanding academic performance, strong leadership qualities and contributed greatly to the classroom environment,” he said. “From the bottom of my heart, I would like to thank those who have created the scholarship program for our students.”
Nguyen chose to come to Canada for higher education for numerous reasons: for a challenge in a new environment, to take advantage of how Toronto is a world leader across many industries and to explore the variety of construction work opportunities. After hearing from another Vietnamese graduate of the Construction Management programs, he knew George Brown would provide the education and experience he needed to be well-equipped to work in the industry.
Since he graduated in 2021, Nguyen credits his program, the knowledge he gained from many experts in the industry, using career services such as using GBCareers, and his scholarship for helping him get jobs in his field. After working as a junior estimator, he is now a project co-ordinator at Flat Iron Building Group Inc. with a goal of becoming a project manager someday.
Being an international student is challenging and rewarding at the same time, Nguyen said.
“There were a lot of obstacles I encountered such as language barrier, culture shock, homesickness, work-study-life balance and financial difficulties,” he said.
But Nguyen found his way through it all and now has an inspiring message for students and fellow alumni.
“Remember to be open to new opportunities and learning new lessons,” he said. “Be bold to admit your mistakes and that you don’t know everything, and don’t be scared to ask questions. The more questions you ask, the more information, experience and advice you will gain. It’s also worthwhile to keep in touch with your alma mater as well as colleagues and mentors from your chosen industry.”