One Youth. Infinite Hope.

Becoming the Sun

Photo by Pedro Barilari


by Nhi Truong
30 years old
Pompano, Fla.

As an international student from Vietnam studying in the United States, I really struggled with low self-esteem, and because of the language barrier, it was hard for me to connect with others. I felt like no one understood me, not even my aunt who helped me move to the U.S.

I couldn’t be myself at all with my aunt because I was always afraid of saying something that might upset her. I even considered moving to another state or returning to Vietnam so I didn’t have to deal with her critical nature.

At my lowest point, I asked one of my favorite professors, an SGI-USA member, if she could connect me with her Buddhist group. That’s how I started practicing Nichiren Buddhism in 2015.

By chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, I realized that I was the one who didn’t see my own value. Once I saw my worth, I gained the courage to speak to my aunt about what I wanted to do with my career. I also gained the compassion to see why she treated me the way she did, and as a result, we completely transformed our relationship for the better.

Today, I’m a new student advisor for international students. Ikeda Sensei says to be the sun wherever we are, so I really try to live that guidance by being 100% present with my students and treasuring them as individuals.

Through my experience, I feel that there is a lack of resources and support for international students in the U.S., so I just opened my own part-time international education consulting business. I want to become a powerful support system for them and show actual proof, which, to me, means supporting each young person I encounter to become that “One Youth. Infinite Hope.”