UNIS Hanoi Service Learning helps an alumna to find her passion.
Nguyen Hoai Co May’s (Class of 2020) passion for feminism and gender equality steered her into an extended ‘gap year’ to ride out Covid making difference for others.
She is currently working at HopeBox - a Hanoi based, social enterprise supporting women who have experienced gender-based violence (GBV), as a part-time marketing officer. Her ‘gap year’ became three and Co May will be attending university in September 2023.
“I was about to go to Australia following the “going abroad” pathway as many of my peers.” Then Covid hit. Co May could not fly to Australia and took online classes instead. Taking advantage of her free time during online learning, she helped her father’s business as a marketing intern. This was when Co May recognised that reality is nothing close to her imagination. Seeing insights into the business world, Co May had to reconsider her major and bravely decided to postpone her study. “I was lost and trying to find what was right for me.”
What pulled her back on track was her learning from Service Learning at UNIS Hanoi. Gender equality and feminism are the lodestars of her decision-making. “I've always been passionate about these topics since my time at School”. UNIS Hanoi also allowed her “to practice as an active feminist,” she used to raise her voice and take action against what she believes is not right. “It would not make any impact if I don’t continue out of UNIS Hanoi’s wall”. Hence, it drove her to join HopeBox - an NGO providing survivors of GBV with a 6-month vocational training and trauma healing programme.
After three years of professional experience, Co May has changed her major to Business Administration and Mental Health. “I know exactly what I want to do now. I’d like to set up a community-oriented organisation dedicated to women”, shared Co May firmly. The 21-year-old alumna is excited to go to the USA next school year to start her university life.
Co May affirmed, “I have no regrets. To be honest, I am thankful that UNIS Hanoi has equipped me with critical thinking and ignited my passion for making the most out of my 3-year gap. I am ready for the next chapter and will embrace whatever comes next wholeheartedly”.