Seminar on studying architecture in the United States – the post graduate program at Clemson University



In 10th August 2016, The Faculty of Architecture held a seminar entitled "Experience of Studying Architecture at the postgraduate level in the United States", presented by alumni of 06KT, Mr. Vo Dinh Trieu. Mr Trieu received a Fulbright Scholarship in 2014, studied Architecture at Clemson University, South Carolina (USA). The Architecture Program at Clemson University is a popular program, ranked 7th in the entire United States. Earlier he received a scholarship HONDA YES and PANASONIC 2012 and a has 6-month internship at architecture firm Furuichi & Associates (Japan).


At the beginning of his talk, with relax and confidence style, Mr Trieu has introduced his portfolio (job profile). He said that the portfolio is the most important part showing architects’ design competence. A portfolio is a record of creative energy expressed by an architect. It includes architectural design, sketch art, or artistic photos that an architect has done.

He has also mentioned the importance of creating 3D models in studying architecture. He said that an architectural model is a tool to analyze a design project comprehensively. Students need to make architectural models during the most beginning steps while doing concept design (finding ideas for projects) until the last step. Creating scaled models will help the design to achieve more success.

When being asked about the strengths and weaknesses of students in Vietnam when they work or study abroad, he said that Vietnamese students had some strengths such as hard working, mastering architectural software and having good visualization skills. But they are usually not good at communication, presentation skills and they usually do not put enough effort in making architectural models when they design a project. He also suggested that students should focus on learning the Revit architectural software that is most popular in America today.


Dealing with some questions about applying for a job or applying for an internship in a foreign company, he advised that students may send direct mails to domestic companies to ask about job opportunities or internships. The secret of interview is showing your strengths that employers are able to discover your latent capability. He also said that students also need to customize their profiles. You have not only one portfolio but also must have more portfolios; each portfolio should be customized to adapt t requirements a company. That means you should know clearly about the needs of the company that you want to apply for jobs.

When being asked about the work culture in the Japanese and American companies, he said that in companies in Japan, workers need to devote themselves to their work. The Japanese pay much attention to details and are very meticulous. In Japan, working day usually last from 8 to 10 hours per day. When they just know how to work hardly. Meanwhile a US company pays great attention to the personal development of every employee. However, performance of companies in the US is very high and workers always finish their tasks on time.


At the end of his talk, he also shared his experience for applying scholarships. At the beginning of finding scholarships, he asked successful people about their obtained experience about the scholarships, and then he established his own strategies. About the Fulbright scholarship applied to a US university, he shared that our profile needs letters of reference from three (3) professors or lecturers who knew us clearly; on the other hands, we should have articles about academic purposes (Statement of Purpose), and an essay about ourselves (Personal Statement). So students have to create a good relationship with their teachers during their time at Vietnamese Universities. Students should show much confidence in application for scholarships as even in the case where he or she is refused, he or she still has cumulative experiences for different types of scholarships.