International student Oanh Ho wins Female Business Student of the Year – Fleming College

For five years, Oanh (“Jo”) Ho worked in the hospitality industry in Vietnam, feeling exhausted from long work days in a busy city. She decided it was time for a change and wanted the adventure of studying abroad.

“I was born and grew up in the hustle of Ho Chi Minh City, and now I preferred something different, something unique and with a slower pace,” said Jo. “I’m happy with my choice of starting the new journey here at Fleming College.”

She chose the Global Business Management (GBM) program because it relates to her previous education in hospitality and career experience. Jo also feels that the length of this program (two years) gives her enough time to immerse herself in her studies, as well as Canadian culture and lifestyle.

“I treasure every moment I am here,” said Jo, who started the GBM program in January. “I’ve got to try my best whenever I have the chance; work hard at school, gain experience at my part-time job, participate in the Enactus Fleming group, and optimize but also balance my time budget efficiently before I graduate.”

2019 Female Business Student of the Year – Fleming College Award winner

It is this work ethic, enthusiasm and involvement in the community that led Jo to win the 2019 Female Business Student of the Year – Fleming College Award at the Women’s Business Network of Peterborough’s Women In Business Awards.

Faculty member Raymond Yip Choy canvassed faculty for nominations and said Jo received the most votes. In the nomination form, Raymond writes, “From the time that Jo started her Global Business Management program at Fleming College, she stood out as a leader. Not only has she been very diligent in her studies, but she has also taken the time to get involved in campus activities and is always looking for ways to give back to the community.”

He adds, “Her peers and her professors all agree that she is exactly the kind of woman that will make a real difference to the business and the wider community.”

Jo said she was surprised to receive an award after only three months in the country and was very excited to be chosen.  

“In class, the front row is my favorite spot to sit, as I always prioritize studying because this experience is a huge investment from my parents. With an estimated GPA of 3.5 after my first semester, my efforts are paying off,” said Jo.

Jo said she is a mature student and the only Vietnamese student in her program, which forces her to immerse herself in a different culture, get involved, and develop her language skills.

“I strongly believe that a person can evaluate an issue as a challenge or a chance, it’s mostly up to their mindset,” said Jo, who views this as a chance.

Leading Enactus Fleming

One chance Jo took was getting involved in Enactus Fleming, a student-led entrepreneurial club where students apply their skills to entrepreneurship, participate in workshops, impact the economic growth of international communities, and start a business on campus.

“When I first came to Fleming, I knew I had to find that club!” said Jo, who found Enactus Fleming on her first day. “I heard of Enactus before coming to Canada as I was inspired by another Vietnamese student, who is the president of Enactus at Bow Valley College in Alberta. I watched her updates from Regionals to Nationals and then to the World Cup, and the spirit of the people at these events is what triggered me to want to become one of them. That’s when I added ‘join Enactus Fleming’ to my To-Do List.”

A few months after joining Enactus Fleming, Jo presented at the regional pitch competition in Mississauga, and on April 3 she was elected as President of Enactus Fleming. Now, Jo is helping prepare the team for the national pitch competition in Vancouver.

“My favourite experience in Enactus isn’t one thing or time, it’s our meetings that we have every Wednesday,” said Jo. “The quality of the time we spend together is important and we have become friends who can share about school and life. Enactus has given me the chance to expand my network with Indians, Brazilians, Canadians and Russian.”

Jo credits previous president Emily Scott for believing Jo could lead Enactus Fleming, and faculty member Raymond Yip Choy for his dedication to the team and his guidance.

Peterborough is Jo’s perfect place for college

When Jo isn’t busy studying or meeting with Enactus Fleming, she is playing in the bell choir at Sacred Heart Church, working part-time at Zaffron Grill, or spending time with new friends at the Trent Valley International Coffee House group, which she recently joined.

“Peterborough is a great place to focus on studying and engage in interesting activities. With a smaller campus community, it is a good chance for international students to get involved with on-campus activities and have fairly less pressure and competition than bigger cities,” said Jo.

“I would definitely recommend Fleming College to other international students because not only is the school good, but also the students and the faculty make your experience even better. I really believe that Canada has treated me so nice since I first came and I really believe the chances for international students are always available for everyone.”