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Last year, Megan spent a year teaching in Vietnam (she told us all about it here). She loved every minute, and says that the experience has really opened her mind to the fact that whilst girls around the world grow up in very different cultures, deep down we are all very similar. Here, she chats to one of her young students, Anh. English is not her first language, so bear with her…

What’s your name and how old are you?

My name is Anh and I’m 12 years old.

What is your favourite thing about being a girl?

Sometimes I feel like being treated like a princess, but I also have the rights to do what I like or have the right to fight, etc … We can be sweet and tough.

Do you use social media? If so, what do you use?

This is a personal question, but I think these platforms are both good and bad. Thanks to these means, you can learn more about what’s going on around you, maybe study online, or find old friends, text them, or share your joys and sorrows. But social media is not necessarily good in all aspects. It also has a bad side too. If I’m too fond of social media these days, it will ruin things one day.

In your opinion, is the life of a young person in Vietnam different from the life of a young person in Western societies?

Vietnamese girls are always under the control of their parents until they are old enough to be able to support themselves, then their parents will leave them, which sometimes makes those girls somewhat difficult. Why? Because their parents are afraid that their children, especially girls, will be compromised for school violence, especially in adulthood! But these girls do not have to hate their parents as they love them too.

Do you think parents in Vietnam are too strict with their daughters?

Yes, sometimes.

What do you think of the education system in Vietnam?

Hmm, I think it’s a little backwards for western countries, most of the classes are theory based and not practical. Sometimes Vietnamese students ask why they are studying a particular subject, such as physics or chemistry.

What was the toughest part about growing up for you?

The hardest part about growing up is learning how to be a real girl. During that time, I was not a crying baby, but a lady. That is a long process for a girl. Every friend told me I was too young and always advised me to try and grow up, but I did not know where to start?

And I knew I had to grow to live with my true self, not with someone who has to hide their heart.

When I had a crush on someone I didn’t care what was going on around me, I only cared about him. I had to overcome it, that time was really bad, I did not pay attention to study at that time…Ugh, I do not want to think anymore! A girl will certainly encounter problems.

What do you think are the biggest problems faced by teenage girls in Vietnam at the moment?

At this time the worst thing that the girls in Vietnam have to deal with are family, friends or even love. About family, at this age everyone wants to go far away from their parents, but they are not allowed. Or about friends, if both of you like someone so there is conflict and hate each other, it can turn into called school violence. With love, sometimes you love somebody, but you do not have family permission to be with them.

At the end of the day, it seems we’re all young girls just trying to figure life out, deal with friends and family, and falling in love for the 1st time….

We’d love to hear about girls lives in other countries. If you live abroad, or have contacts out “forrin”, please get in touch.