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THE WAY of Life in Bangladesh and Australia (EN)

Updated: Aug 18, 2022

Every month on WOMENCANFLY.CO’s blog series, The Way, we introduce inspirational women who live around the world.

In this article, we meet Thao who is originally from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and has studied in Chittagong, Bangladesh and Sydney, Australia. She currently works as a Clinical Research Associate (CRA) at a Contract Research Organisation (CRO) in Melbourne after living in Sydney for nearly five years. Thao has always had the travel bug and has known she wanted to live abroad from a young age.

Thao moved to Bangladesh and Australia by chance with the support of her family and has a goal of travelling to 40 countries before she turns 40.

Ideas and Pathways for Change Symposium
Thao (second row, second from the right) at a symposium in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Where it all started

Thao started learning English at around age five and since then, there have always been two worlds co-existing in her mind – Vietnamese society and a fantasy-like, English-speaking world with Hollywood, MTV and Disney. Her aunt was generous enough to send her to an English tutoring class where she was able to study with foreigners and have immersive English learning experiences. She was hooked on American culture and the entertainment industry through the lens of cable TV. Her dad also listened to American bands and European bands who sang in English like the Backstreet Boys and ABBA which extended her love for pop culture in the English-speaking world from a young age.

The internet came to Vietnam later on and prior to that, she didn’t have a lot of information so America was her preferred choice when moving abroad but she didn’t get into a school in the States. Thao also tried to get scholarships in Singapore but wasn’t successful. Her dad saw an ad in a newspaper for Asian Women’s University in Bangladesh and told her to just apply and she ended up getting a full scholarship to go there. For Thao, purely going to another country was her goal and she didn’t care where that would be. She would have been equally as excited had she gone to America or anywhere else in the world and doesn’t regret anything.