Being away from home is one of the major struggles of studying abroad. Not only will you be far from family and friends, you will also need to adapt to a new environment.
Accounting major Gia Ky Huynh is one of many fresh graduates stepping out of Loyola Marymount University (LMU) and into professional life this year. Now that she is on track to begin a career at the prominent accounting firm Deloitte, she is one step closer to reaching her dreams.
However, Gia Ky’s road to graduation was not free of hardship. She faced several hurdles as an international student in Los Angeles. Perhaps the most challenging of them all was being thousands of miles away from her home in Vietnam. Despite all this she has been able to grow into her potential through the support given to her by her peers.
Gia Ky looks back at the past few years with gratitude for the significant part the bluff and its community has played in her journey.
Life as an accounting major at Loyola Marymount University
Gia Ky flew about 8,000 miles around the globe from her home in Vietnam to study in LMU. Determined to learn everything she can about accounting and entrepreneurship, she was initially drawn in by the university’s top-ranked College of Business Administration.
Another factor which eventually led Gia Ky to choose LMU is school culture. The collaborative dynamics of the students with each other as well as with their teachers impressed her.
“The bluff is a place where relationships are built. There’s such a great diversity amongst the students, yet everyone is working towards the same goal.”
These observations are unsurprising. LMU ranks in the top 5% of US schools when it comes to diversity. International students make up around 10% of the school’s population. As a result, international students such as Gia Ky have a smooth time adjusting to the new environment.
Finding a stable support system
At one point during her time studying abroad, Gia Ky’s father fell ill. The experience took a toll on her well-being, leading her to seriously consider leaving her studies behind and flying back to Vietnam.
“Luckily, I had the support and encouragement of my CBA Deans and professors during that difficult time; they were willing to help me in any way that they could. It was a comfort to know that even thousands of miles from home I had a support system here.”
Later on, this same support system would lead an opportunity to knock on Gia Ky’s door. First, her professor in Entrepreneurship would help her in securing an internship at a CPA firm. Second, the network she gained from joining the LMU Accounting Society would get her a sought-after interview with Deloitte.
Closing in on her dreams
Having received a warm welcome from the LMU community, Gia Ky made the most out of her experience studying abroad. She threw herself into her interests. Eventually, she became the Vice President of the LMU Accounting Society and joined the Beta Gamma Sigma, an international honor society for business students.
Gia Ky’s advice to future LMU Lions? Get involved.
“Try to get the most out of every experience you have because, whether small or big, somewhere along the way it will be helpful.”
Gia Ky’s efforts earned her two accolades on her final year at LMU. She was named 2019 Program Scholar for both Accounting and Entrepreneurship. Driven by the ambition to eventually become the CEO of her own business someday, Gia Ky intends to continue studying even as her career at Deloitte starts. She will be pursuing a Master of Accounting at the University of Southern California.
“LMU gave me the confidence and support system to step outside my comfort zone and pursue my goals to the fullest. It really became like a second home to me, a family – I can’t wait to return.”