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The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Living the dream
Dat Tran, a biology major at City College, has been in the United States for over 2 years since leaving his home country Vietnam. He wants to be a pediatrician and help kids when he is done with school. Tony Wallin | [email protected]

A 15-year-old boy in the southern part of Vietnam fell down his stairs and broke his knee. Needing surgery that would cost more than what his parents could afford, the family had to ask his grandparents and other people to help pay. It brought him and his family closer.

Four years later, and now a biology major at City College, Dat Tran hopes to one day become a pediatrician and help children with their own needs.

It has been more than two years since Tran and his family moved to the United States from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. He says that he likes it better here in the United States.

“There’s more freedom here,” Tran says. “More access to higher education. I don’t think I would have the opportunity to further my education if my family didn’t move here.”

Being from another country doesn’t seem to faze the 19 year old, as he is the head of his household. He is the translator for his Vietnamese-speaking parents and takes care of everything around the house. In fact, he considers it his greatest accomplishment so far.

“My parents don’t speak English,” says Tran, who also has a 12-year-old brother, “so I basically do all the communication in the house. When papers need to be filled out, when the phone needs to be answered, or when anything needs to be translated, I am their translator.”

Although, he is the head of the household, Tran says that he bonds closer to his friends.

“I’m closer to my mom,” Tran says, “but I feel like I’m closer to my friends than I am my family sometimes.”

He is always there for his friends. He’s the one his friends can count on in the rough times, the one who can make them laugh when they need it the most.

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To his best friends, he means everything.

“I feel lucky to have Dat as my best friend,” another friend Anh Thu Nguyen says. “Whenever I need advice, he is my counselor. Whenever I feel down, his jokes help me feel better.”

Ka and Nguyen are not the only friends that think highly of Tran. Another friend says something similar.

“Dat’s humor lights up your world like nothing else. The way that he runs his mouth gets you overwhelmed,” says another friend, Hoanganh Le, rewording One Direction’s song, “What Makes You Beautiful.”

The 9-year-old version of Tran living in the southern part of Vietnam didn’t see where he would be at 19, living in Sacramento. Now, he sees himself 10 years from now with at least an undergraduate degree from UC Davis, with a family, working as a pediatrician.

“I at least want an undergraduate degree,” Tran says. “If not a graduate degree. An undergraduate degree, for sure, to cease Asian parent pressure.”

The American Dream is essentially an idea that suggests anyone in the United States can succeed in their lives through hard work, with the potential of a happy, successful life. Tran feels as if he is living that dream.

“I never really understood why people call it the American Dream,” Tran says, “but I would say that I’m definitely living it, even if it sounds awkward to me.”

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