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Viral in Vietnam

Posted on November 12th, 2012 by Bryanna Davis

Each year receives a good number of entries to our annual Travel Video Contest. This year we were ecstatic to see that it was our biggest success thus far, with over 100 student entries from 44 different countries! The competition was fierce as we received a number of excellent videos. However, nothing prepared us for what was to come when one touching video went viral in Vietnam.

Students around the world rushed to enter their video into the contest, describing where they would like to study abroad and why. Each submitted their great artistic effort with the hope of winning the $4,000 grand prize to put toward their adventure in a foreign country. However, Cat Tuong Le, an international student in California, submitted her video with a different story and purpose in mind. Instead of trying to raise money to put toward a trip to a new land, she is fighting for funds to visit home with her video Redefining Home.

About two years ago Cat’s father was diagnosed with cancer. Even after falling ill, he urged her to be strong and follow a common dream they shared – that Cat would graduate from an American university. Cat set off for the United States with a bell her father gave her to ring in the “new land,” symbolizing that she had put her mark on the world. The bell is her token of courage, travelling with her on her backpack, as she fulfills both her and her father’s dream. Now, it has been two years since Cat has visited home and she wants more than anything to visit her father for what might be the last time.

As Cat received more than 3,500 shares of her video through social media like Facebook, YouTube and, the number of votes for Redefining Home began to increase along with the traffic to Cat also received numerous encouraging messages like:

” If I had 10,000 emails, I’d use all of them to vote for you. I like how you and your dad love each other. You go, girl!”      -Thai Bui


“Hope you can get this prize girl.”    -TheBusticute

However, it wasn’t until the popular Vietnam news source Kenh14 caught wind of Cat’s story that it went viral in Vietnam and votes for Redefining Home came pouring in. Kenh14’s story spread like wild fire and gained almost 5,000 Facebook likes. The heavy traffic of visitors voting for Cat at gave us our two heaviest traffic days ever, caused our server to crash and gave Cat the winning title of Viewers’ Choice Award by threefold; all memorable records in our book.

Cat received more viewer votes than any other video in the history of the contest- a total of 19,500 votes. This gave her an automatic entry into the finalist round, $500 and a shot at winning the $4,000 grand prize. Watch all of the great finalist videos before the grand prize winner is announced Friday, November 16.

Written by Bryanna Davis

Bryanna joined EIC in 2011 after returning to the United States from teaching English in China. Her interest in international education, sparked initially by her own study abroad experience in Wales, led her to the company. Bryanna is originally from Missouri and is a graduate from the University of Central Missouri.

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17 Responses to “Viral in Vietnam”

  1. Result for International Student video competition « Ling Siew Woei’s Journey since 2007 Says:

    […] It seems that she has the highest vote so far in the organizer's record ( Here is a photo of her. I think the organizer should capture her photo with the bell because it […]

  2. huynh ngan Says:

    I know u can do it! Keep trying, hope to see u in vietnam ^^”

  3. David Jacobsen Says:

    What’s wrong with the Event–My Friend Only Needs $3500 to see her Father? Make it happen–again.

  4. David Jacobsen Says:

    You Can do anything. Familial bonds surround you–20,000 votes ain’t no lie.

  5. David Jacobsen Says:

    One person’s opinion here, but, Cat NOT WINNING this contest (this year) is a travesty of the most supreme, and most crude. Alas, do keep hope alive. Good luck getting to see your father!!

  6. David Jacobsen Says:

    Even more hilarious–the 3rd place Winner got 2 more votes than the 1st place Winner!! How many votes did Cat get again?

  7. David Jacobsen Says:

    Only 64 more votes till that “votameter” says 20,000….yeah.

  8. Common Sense Says:

    Pony up and give that Winner another $3500. It’s the classy thing to do.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    Why deny this young girl her pursuit of life? When that is the essence of home, is it not robbery to stymie this human’s ambitious and courageous endeavor towards Life itself?? Familia es todo. Or so I thought.

  10. Mitchell Q. Freedman Says:

    That girl didn’t have a “change of heart” about what her dream was!! Her dream was to see her father while he was still alive…I don’t even know what “serers” are, but I guess they tend to crash when people vote.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    5 hundie ain’t a lot a’ scratch to get to Nam. Show her the Mad-Stacks Yo!!

  12. Joseph SomeBody Says:

    I wonder what would happen if even 1,000 (or a terse 300!) hand-written letters showed up, carried by sentries in burlap sacks, all voicing unanimous consent to this girl’s legitimate victory. Funny.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    Ha…only 21 votes away from 20,000 votes!! Keep Voting!!

  14. Anonymous Says:

    ‘Bout 10 votes to 20,000. Who would’ve guessed.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    8 votes away…Push.

  16. DemocraticWorld Says:

    Wowsers!!–Cat is (still) in the lead by Over 20,000 Votes (from the World)–Has the Grand Prize Winner ever been Beaten by over 20,000 Votes and still held title “Grand Prize Winnner.” Well, people can’t ever beat a judging panel. That’s democracy for ya. Way to go Cat Tuong Le–maybe next year, the Viewer’s Choice Award Winner will be paid with $1500, instead of a meer $500, and then, $500 more. Go America!!

  17. Jane Smart Says:

    As I drink my Yogi tea, I must admit that I would like nothing more than to see this Judging Panel retool the Rules and Regs of their contest. This way, maybe (it looks like near 20,000!) next time the votes will count towards a prize. The working middle-class women of America support the leading vote getter.

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