Gac Do: Sharing Vietnamese identity globally

The modern young generation has been striving day by day to gain admission to international universities, step by step realizing their dream of becoming global citizens, besides the pride and belief in spreading the Vietnamese identity to the world.

My Tran (second from left) and her friends holding the national flag pose for a photo at UNICEF.

With impressive academic achievements, Nguyen Ngoc My Tran, 18, a student at BVIS HCMC, has earned a US$215,000 scholarship (covering full tuition) for four years at Fordham University (Gabelli School of Business, New York City, USA).

The scholarship My Tran received is like "a ripe gac fruit," as since the 9th grade, she has been nurturing a media project to promote traditional Vietnamese culture. The Gac Do (Red Gac Fruit) fanpage was launched in January 2021 with five members. Currently, the Gac Do fanpage has 16,000 followers and 15,000 likes.

"Besides our classwork, we always think about starting something to spread the unique culture of our country. Gac Do was born from that desire, and we hope that through our bilingual Vietnamese-English posts, friends from other countries will easily access Vietnamese culture, thus understanding and appreciating it more," My Tran shared.

Impressed by the articles in the "Flavor of Vietnamese Meals" series on the Gac Do fanpage, Ha Nguyen Tung Hieu, 28, an interior architect in HCMC, shared, "these articles are truly profound, capturing the distinctive culinary flavors from different regions of the country. Each post brings a new surprise and leaves a lasting impression. Without knowing, I would never have guessed that the creators of this fanpage are just high school students."

With the youthful vigor of Generation Z, Gac Do was founded with the desire to preserve the cultural essence of our nation, conserving and promoting its ancient values. Culture pervades every aspect of life, and some perspectives deserve broader dissemination. Gac Do hopes to take readers on "against-the-current" journeys to discover what they may have overlooked. (excerpt from the Gac Do fanpage introduction).

Bringing Vietnamese pride globally

Speaking of patriotism, it is a concept that feels both near and far, both tangible and intangible. Spreading the ancient cultural values of the nation is how Tran, a young Gen Z individual, expresses her patriotism and sense of community responsibility.

My Tran shared: “After each trip within our country, I deeply appreciate the beauty of each place that I had previously only known through books or the media. Vietnam, with its warm-hearted people, majestic landscapes, and unique culture, made me think: why not do something to preserve, develop, and promote these wonderful values? My friends and I started Gac Do with the desire to cherish our homeland together. We believe that loving our homeland and preserving our roots is a meaningful way to express our patriotism and significantly contribute to society.”

My Tran (on the left) presents Vietnamese checkered scarf and conical hat to an international friend.

And the pride of her homeland is an invisible companion that Tran carries with her wherever she goes. In June 2023, My Tran represented BVIS HCMC, engaging with friends from over 60 countries at the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) headquarters in New York, USA.

"The first thing I always do is introducing myself and clearly stating, 'I come from the beautiful country of Vietnam.' I confidently speak about my homeland because I believe my country has many things to be truly proud of. My international friends are always excited to learn more about my culture. In our free time, I often teach them some Vietnamese phrases. One of my friends from Hong Kong (China), after the trip, started learning Vietnamese on Duolingo.

Additionally, we wore traditional Vietnamese ao dai on the last day at UNICEF, and the most moving moment for me was the photo of my fellow Vietnamese representatives and me holding our national flag together at UNICEF. That truly made me very proud!" Tran shared.

At the age of 18, My Tran's journey begins in an international environment this coming August, as she leaves her homeland to pursue her dream of showcasing Vietnam worldwide.

Tran stated, "The Gac Do project will carry on despite our transitions into university, graduation, and careers. Our pride in our homeland grows daily, unwavering. Every member of Gac Do shares the hope that more international friends will come to know and love Vietnam as deeply as we do."

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