Convocation, Profile

June 11, 2020

Volunteering on campus a rewarding experience for this BA graduate

Linh Nguyen fell in love with Linguistics after taking just one class: Linguistics 220 – Introduction to Linguistics. With this newly discovered fascination in the subject, Linh quickly realized the range of career paths that studying Linguistics presented. She also appreciated the ways that Linguistics related to her own experiences with language.

“I enjoyed how my bilingualism gave me an edge when working with foreign datasets,” says Linh. “I declared my major as soon as I met the minimum requirements.”

Throughout her degree, Linh was part of several extracurricular clubs and programs at Simon Fraser University (SFU). She has taken Aikido classes to learn self-defence and in first year joined the SFU Vocal Jazz Club where she enjoyed performing with other musically talented people.

Around the same time that she was performing with the SFU Vocal Jazz Club, Linh began volunteering as a facilitator for the Tandem program at SFU. Tandem is a free, student-run language exchange program that provides the SFU community the opportunity to practice their language skills through informal conversation with other speakers. As a facilitator, Linh guided Tandem participant pairs in weekly conversational sessions.

“I found my volunteer experience at Tandem highly rewarding,” says Linh, “I got to know people who appreciate multilingualism and were happy to share their linguistic knowledge with others.”

Linh’s facilitator position with Tandem introduced her to what leading language learning sessions was like. These are skills that relate well to the topics covered throughout the Certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) Linguistics. Linh found that the courses offered in this certificate program were invaluable in her desire to become a language instructor.

“The practicum component gave me the opportunity to experiment with different teaching styles and learn through trial and error,” says Linh.

This Spring, Linh is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) with distinction. She is majoring in Linguistics and minoring in Sociology with a Certificate in TESL Linguistics. Linh is also being recognized by the Department of Linguistics for her outstanding academic achievement.

Now that she has completed her degree, Linh’s next goal is to find a job in education or research. She is optimistic that she will find a job that allows her to continue to follow her passion for linguistics and allow her to stay in British Columbia to enjoy all the nature the province has to offer.


  • LING 220: Introduction to Linguistics
  • LING 200: Introduction to English Sentence Analysis
    As strange as it sounds, I enjoy grammar and syntax. It's like working through a puzzle using a pre-written rule book. I like to categorize and organize things, so I found this course a lot of fun.
  • LING 363: Practicum in Teaching English as a Second Language to Adults


I think the most important thing is to not compare yourself to others in order to measure success. It’s easy to get caught up in people’s achievements, especially with social media being so pervasive nowadays. Everyone is different. It’s good to learn from others, try new things and see if they work for you, but don’t turn that comparison into a competition.

In linguistics, we talk about descriptivism in grammar studies: you analyse the various and changing ways that people speak without marking any one in specific as acceptable or correct. Same thing here. Learn from others but don’t let others direct the course of your life.

Spring 2020 Featured Graduates

This spring convocation, the Department of Linguistics is recognizing a small group of graduating students for their accomplishments in the department.