Tran Luong Khoa Bang: Learning from the Uncertainties

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“In and outside of class, I’m a boy who is very… indecisive and shy. It’s hard for me to make new friends sometimes.” – Khoa Bang, a 10th grader from British International School (BIS), smiled and stated when being asked to describe himself.

Little did we expect, Khoa Bang will soon venture himself to a new chapter of his academic career in the United Kingdom (UK). His family shared with us a couple of weeks ago that Khoa Bang has been admitted to three boarding schools – Haileybury, Malvern College, Queen Ethelburgas. Khoa Bang chose to study at Malvern for his last two years of high school and preparing for higher education.

Reflecting on his journey here with us at E2, Khoa Bang said that it was quite an environment to get used to and learn from uncertainties.

“I loved having classes with Ms. Melinh the most,” he said. “She always changed things up, bringing some new ideas to class. She’s not afraid to test things out and try over and over until they work. Such ideas improved the atmosphere and the way we learned in class.”

The next journey for Khoa Bang will be full of uncertainties. He admitted that even the thoughts of where to find a hairdresser, how to travel from place to place in town, and just how he would fit in got him a bit nervous. As I suggested that he should talk to his teachers and peers, who have already been studying abroad before, for some advice, he nodded and added that the excitement was worth all the worries.

“Now, this will help you out a little bit,” I said, “Remember your time in Mr. Tim’s debate class? One time when I observed, you seemed really quiet back then. Think about it, what have you changed the most since you’ve taken that debating course?”

“True. I’m not afraid of guessing the answers anymore. I didn’t really feel comfortable voicing my opinions before because I was afraid of getting the answers wrong,” Khoa Bang replied. “Studying here has helped me a lot with my confidence.”

“See,” I said. “Sometimes, you might not know how a challenge could lead to at first, but a little help will keep you going strong and even changed you.”

He laughed.  I hoped he will carry on that joyous sound of relief when he stepped into his whole new world.

“What would you like to focus on for your higher education?” I asked, knowing already that this was always a tricky question for a high school kid.

“That’s another uncertainty for me. I know I like coding, but I don’t see myself becoming a coder though. I am the most comfortable with Physics because I can understand the logic behind that subject easily,” Khoa Bang replied.

“It’s good to start asking yourself what you like for now,” I said. “How about new skills? What do you hope to learn from your next journey?”

With a smile and a little bit of hesitance, he said, “I want to learn how to think more quickly. Like I said before, it takes a long time for me to make decisions.”

We both laughed as I told him that thinking on your feet was just a challenging skill to master, and I also had problems with it sometimes. We both agreed that our level of confidence would be one factor that affects greatly our speed of thought and decision-making. But with all the experience that soon to be gained, Khoa Bang would be all set for improvement.

Sharing about the process of preparation and application, Khoa Bang said that if anyone targeted the UK as a destination, they would have to prepare almost a year in advance with all the exams and essays. It is very time-consuming, so time management is the key to success in this case.

This summer, before departing to the UK, Khoa Bang will spend about a month in the US with a summer program. After that, a long prepping list is waiting on him.

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