1. My story with navigating my life as a second generation woman

In this episode, I go through my story from childhood until now. Get to know me as a child, sibling, student and teacher, and the struggles that I navigated to get to where I am now.

My background

  • My parents met overseas and they had me in the Philippines. I was born there and came to Australia when I was about 4 months old.
  • So I’m technically a 1st generation immigrant, but I resonate more with 2nd gen experiences.
  • My dad is part Chinese and my mum is Vietnamese, so I grew up speaking Vietnamese, Mandarin (I can understand a bit of Cantonese) and English.
  • I have 2 younger siblings who both have English names, while I have a Vietnamese name 😅

Parents jobs

  • They didn’t have much of an education from their home country, which wouldn’t have been transferred to Australian standards anyway.
  • So they worked blue collar labour intensive jobs and were paid with wages for the time they worked.
  • Some of the jobs they had were – sewing, grocer, stacking products on shelves, furniture removalist, early childhood educator


  • I grew up in South Western Sydney, where there’s the biggest Vietnamese community in Sydney. That’s just how it happened many decades ago when our families moved over here.
  • I was a spoilt only child until my siblings came into the picture (when I was ~6 years old), which then I became the responsible older sister that I am now.
  • As with many other second generation women that I know, we were taught to do household chores from a young age – doing the dishes, sweeping, laundry, taking care of younger siblings etc 👉 which I did (I was the responsible daughter, eldest sibling)


  • I was the good girl. I did everything I was told. I always did my homework, I didn’t date, I studied hard, went to tutoring and did pretty well at school.
  • My parents didn’t exactly push me to get straight A’s, but I knew education was important to them.
  • Besides from school and tutoring for English and Maths, I also went to Vietnamese and Chinese school on the weekends.
  • Moments of high pressure – Year 6 (Selective Test), Year 10 (selecting elective subjects), Year 11 (deciding on a career path), Year 12 (Higher School Certificate + results, selecting university course)
  • University- I just went to uni and came home, I didn’t make the most of my time there. Instead I also worked part time as a tutor to build up my experience as a primary school teacher.


  • Everything I did in my life and all of my major accomplishments led to this point – secure job, regular hours, consistent paycheck.
  • After uni, I went straight into full time teaching. I got to work early, left late, brought work home and also worked on the weekends.
  • I worked ~60 hours a week, teaching full time and tutoring part.
  • The problem was, I was proud of that. I felt like I was accomplishing something. That if I can work really hard then I’ll be successful and my life would be easy in the future.

Remember, you’re a human BEING, not a human DOING.

Chat to you in the next episode!
Van Anh

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: