By Narda Perez
The Shorthorn staff
Eddy Truong, from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, moved to Arlington in August 2012 to start his college career after UTA offered him a full-ride scholarship.
The mechanical engineering senior said he experienced culture shock moving from one country to another, but with academics always a drive in his family, coming to UTA seemed like the right choice.
“The way I talk to my friends in Vietnam is very different than the way I talk to my American friends,” Truong said. “What may be funny to Vietnamese people may not be funny to my American friends, and that’s OK because I still think my jokes are pretty funny.”
The difference in sense of humor was one of the biggest cultural differences, especially “Yo Mama” jokes, he said.
Asian culture teaches you that you owe everything to your parents, Truong said.
“You have to give them a lot of respect, so when I would hear these jokes, I would think, ‘Why are they saying that?’ ” he said. “After a while I understood that it wasn’t meant in a disrespectful way.”
In fall 2014, one of Truong’s friends, also an international student, joined the Lambda Phi Epsilon fraternity and introduced Truong to it, he said.
About one year after arriving in America, Truong decided to join the fraternity.
“I didn’t know what a rush party was, and once I was there, everyone was so nice and welcoming,” Truong said.
A rush party is an event held during recruitment week for fraternities and sororities. It is intended to help potential members decide which fraternity or sorority they would like to be recruited into.
“I started to do a lot of research online and realized it was a huge commitment,” Truong said. “It was interesting and a bit scary. Everything you don’t know is always scary.”
The brotherhood and how close the members all were is what really attracted him to the fraternity, Truong said.
“So, I joined, and I knew it was going to be a lot of new things all at once, but I never quit,” he said. “This is why I decided to come to America, to experience things I would never be able to in Vietnam.”
Truong said he keeps his culture alive by taking his friends to a Vietnamese restaurant that serves food just like that from home, or by showing them Vietnamese music.
Before joining a fraternity, Truong had a strict schedule of going to school and back home, economics sophomore Andy Nguyen said.
“As a new member of the fraternity, he has been more involved on campus, whether it’s helping us show presence or show support for other organizations,” Nguyen said. “Eddy is now more willing to take up leadership positions and to get more involved at school.”
Truong was conservative when introduced to the fraternity, said Charlie Danh, UTA alumnus and former new member educator chairman.
“Being in a fraternity gave him a second family for sure,” Danh said. “It gave him a sense of belonging, and when you are a part of something where you feel you belong, it’s more rewarding than anything else.”