The Queen’s Vietnamese Student Association (QVSA) wants to help Vietnamese students feel more connected to their culture.
Formed last year, QVSA advocates for Vietnamese students by organizing cultural events with the goal of educating Vietnamese and non-Vietnamese students about the richness of the culture. QVSA aims to create a welcoming and supportive environment for Vietnamese students on campus.
“The QVSA wants to help [Vietnamese students] confidently say ‘I am Vietnamese.’ To be able to celebrate [Vietnamese culture], and to be able to speak your mother tongue language on campus is something very important to Vietnamese students,” said Kate Nguyen, president of the QVSA, in an interview with The Journal.
Nguyen is happy QVSA has provided Vietnamese students with a safe space on campus to get in touch with their cultural roots, offering them a place to enjoy Vietnamese foods, such as bánh xèo, while engaging with their peers.
Nguyen expressed second and third generation Vietnamese students especially feel a loss of identity. Nguyen described it as being caught between Canadian and Vietnamese cultural identities, and how reconciling these two identities can be challenging.
While there are many student organizations which stand in solidary with Chinese students on campus, Nguyen said Vietnamese students have historically found themselves overlooked.
“When you think about Asian students or Southeast Asian students on campus, you don’t really think about Vietnamese students,” Nguyen said in an interview with The Journal. “Due to that, I feel like there’s a loss in identity for Vietnamese students.”
Vietnamese students have consequently sought solace with the QVSA. This support isn’t limited to Vietnamese students—non-Vietnamese students are encouraged to become a part of the QVSA community.
“You don’t have to be Vietnamese to be a part of QVSA. At the core of it, [QVSA] just wants to spread the love for Vietnamese food and culture across campus,” Nguyen said.
To “spread the love” for Vietnamese culture on campus, QVSA is organizing a “mooncakes and tea tasting” event this year. Students will have the opportunity to indulge in Vietnamese mooncakes, pastry treats with mixed nut, candied fruit, and cooked meat fillings.
“We want students to be able to envision [themselves] being in Vietnam during [our events],” Nguyen said. “If you love something about [Vietnamese culture], we can celebrate it together at QVSA.”
QVSA is currently hiring for the roles of social media coordinator, graphics coordinator, events coordinator, and internal outreach coordinator. Applications—which can be found on QVSA’s Instagram account—close Sept. 17.
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