Skip to main content
Applied Sciences › Computing Science
SFU Alumni

empty
Skyscape of Tokyo
Credit
Wasin Pummarin on Adobe Stock

Ly Viet Vu recently completed his undergraduate degree in the field of Computing Science.  Ly shares how his term with Co-op Japan altered his career path and provided him the confidence to establish his own business in Vietnam. 

Initially I applied for Co-op Japan to experience life in a different culture and environment.  Living in Vancouver my whole life, I felt as if I was trapped in a box and I feared being stuck in Vancouver without ever exploring the world -- I just wanted to get out, like that movie, The Truman Show, starring Jim Carrey.  I didn’t know what to expect when I decided to go to Japan, which was the exciting part: the ability to let myself take a step into an entirely different world than the one I live in.

With Co-op Japan, I worked for J.Morita MFG Co., which designs and manufactures Dental and Medical Equipment.  My responsibilities were to develop custom software and firmware for external devices to communicate with a windows operating system.  Yes, with Co-op Japan, you are mainly there to work and gain work experience, but I took in much more from this adventure.  The most important thing that I got out of Co-op Japan was the life experience and lessons from living alone and having no security from family and friends.

Living in such an environment has helped me grow as a person and taught me how to be completely independent. Living in a country where their culture is different and the language is alien, can be overwhelming. It is inevitable to experience new emotions.  Feelings I would not have experienced, had I not stepped out on my own.  These emotions have helped me figure out what kind of person I really am and what I want in life. It has also made me a stronger person, mentally.

Prior to Co-op Japan I teamed up with long time friend, Justin Cohen, who is an extremely talented web designer working in the industry for the last seven years. He worked for two years at Blast Radius while instructing at BCIT for five years as a Motions Graphics and New Media Instructor. Together, we started a part-time web design & development company called Sofresh Inc., a strategic creative agency.  Our company, with a small-specialized team of talented and creative individuals, provides innovative ‘fresh’ solutions for our clients wishing to be uniquely marketed. From websites, to 3D visual effects and animations, we deliver customer experiences that turn our client’s investment into profit.  Upon arrival back in Vancouver after returning from Japan, we began to take our business much more seriously.  Our dedication to Sofresh Inc. gradually evolved into a full time opportunity.

I highly doubt that I would have had the courage to start a business with my partner Justin if I never had gone to Japan.  I probably would be working for some company building software.  The experience of picking up and leaving Vancouver to live in Japan was similar to taking the risk of starting your own company rather than working in a secure job.  In a way, I stepped into an entirely new world.

My experience with Co-op Japan has helped me to have the ability to pick up and go anywhere.  I was able to pack up and move to Vietnam to setup a development team for our company.  The experiences from Co-op Japan helped me muster enough faith and motivation to meet IT people in Vietnam, find my own office in Vietnam and manage my own personal affairs in Vietnam.  Luckily, I did not have the same language barrier as in Japan but the culture shock, feelings and emotions were there.  However, this time I was prepared and knew what to expect of myself.  It was much easier to take that giant step to move forward with my life.

SFU Alumni

You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Career Exploration, Seeking, Work Term Extension

author, courtney, smiling
A Second Term in Government: More of the Same?

Having completed my first work term for Health Canada as a Communications Officer Intern, I was eager to try something new, and the government was not where I believed that was going to happen. That is until I was offered a position at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada...

picture of glichelle pondering a though
Surviving Workplace Politics

Ever been peeved with workplace politics? Have you ever been a victim of office politics? One student shares her experiences from the workplace with tips on how to survive.

 

person with their head in a book
Responsibility and Success

One of the most memorable parts of my time in co-op was the collection of accidents, errors, mistakes, and mix-ups that happened in the course of working in the laboratory.

 

You Might Like These... Working

hand-drawn paper cut hearts strung across the roof of a house
Working for an Essential Service During a Global Pandemic

"When you work at a non-profit, you will notice one extraordinary and unanimous thing; everyone’s heart is in their work. And during a pandemic, when so many of those we serve are in desperate need, this dedication is clearer than ever." -- Communication Co-op student, Juliette Halliday, highlights working for a non-profit organization as it responds in the face of a pandemic. 

Cables of equipment
My Engineering Co-ops: Lungpacer Medical Inc. and Kardium

Have you ever felt unsure of your major? As if maybe it is not what you really want to do for the rest of your life? These are questions Jose pondered over before his co-op with Lungpacer Medical Inc. and Kardium.

Graduates throwing their caps into the air
WildBrain Co-op Award Kick-Starts 30 SFU Student Careers
Naomi Chao never thought it would be possible to intern at tech giants Microsoft, Adobe and SAP before she even graduated. Read on and find out how her co-op experience at Spexi Geospatial helped pave the way to her dream job.