Thursday 19 April 2018

Vietnamese student reflects on uplifting internship in Ballymun

Joanna Kiernan

Joanna Kiernan

A Vietnamese student, who won a two week internship in Ballymun, has spoken of her positive experience in the north Dublin community.

Tran Thuy An, known as An, visited Ireland last month after winning the internship on Super Leader -- a popular young people's TV show in her native country.

As part of An's prize, she was offered a two-week internship with Global Action Plan (GAP) Ireland, working in Ballymun.

An loved Ballymun, but did wonder why people reacted strangely when she said she was going there.

"When I first came, whenever I mentioned that I was going to Ballymun, the people would go like 'wow, really?' But when I interacted with the local people I found them to be very nice," she said.

An worked on two GAP Ireland projects in Ballymun, and she said: "One of them is a gardening project for the local people, especially people with disabilities. "

An's prize was sponsored by the Irish Embassy in Hanoi, as part of their Visibility and Promotion plan.

The university student, who is studying Foreign Languages and Information technology, has now returned to her home country, where it is hoped she will share lots of positive stories about Ireland.

An is also a dedicated human rights campaigner and volunteer. Her work with a human trafficking project helped her win the TV show prize.

"I participated in the TV show last July," An said. "The project that I brought to the programme was about human trafficking between Vietnam and Cambodia."

An is also interested in environmental issues, which led to her internship with Global Action Plan.

"I was very happy, but at the same time it was quite stressful because I think they expected a lot from me," she said.

An was impressed by Dublin which she admitted seemed 'huge' to her at first. "Everything is so huge for me; the buildings, the food, even the people," she told the Northside People. "Compared to Vietnam everything here is very organised for people. Back in my country everything is a little bit messy."

During her time in Ireland An visited some universities in the hope of returning to study here.

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