"Regardless of what you major in, your education is your discipline. It prepares you."
Travel has underscored Hieu Van Tapp's significant life experiences, and continues to occupy him daily.
Born in Vietnam, the son of an American serviceman and a Vietnamese mother who met in Saigon during the Vietnam conflict, Heiu traveled to this country when he was only 21 months old. His family eventually settled in San Diego, but he always wondered about the country of his birth and his relatives back in Vietnam.
After high school Hieu took the long way around to Mesa College -- via a semester studying in London. Back in San Diego, he majored in fashion merchandising at Mesa and, after graduating, transferred to Woodbury University to study marketing.
"I was waiting tables and taking a full load at college," Hieu says. "I paid my own way through. My goal was to be the first member of my family to be a college graduate."
While at Woodbury, Hieu worked and traveled to New York City with several clothing designers. "It was an excellent opportunity to learn and experience the industry while in school," he says.
During his college years, Hieu took his first trip back to Vietnam to rediscover his heritage and reunite with relatives who remembered him as an infant.
"I was hesitant at first, not knowing how it would feel, but also anticipating something special," he says. "I found the trip to be very spiritual and emotionally exciting. These are people who assumed they would never see me again. It was rewarding for all of us, and I've kept in touch with them and plan to visit again."
Hieu now works in travel and concierge services for Accenture, one of the world's leading providers of management and technology consulting services and solutions.
"It's not directly related to my major, but I enjoy the work and find it satisfying," Hieu says. "I want to continue trying to increase my knowledge and grow as a person."
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