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Ky Ngo Dennis in Vietnam Saigon
Vietnam Dalat

Why Cultural Connection Is So Importance to Our Sense of Self

I was born in Vietnam in the 1980s and immigrated to California when I was three. I do not have many memories from that age – but my sense is that I was highly confused about what was happening in my life.

Why was I here and not in Saigon? Where was the rest of my family?

As I grew up in San Diego, I quickly adapted to what was expected of me. However as an immigrant in predominantly white communities, not knowing basic things about my cultural identity created a gaping hole in my sense of self. I felt like I was floating through my life, untethered.

Who was I, really? It felt impossible to know because I didn’t really understand where I came from. I honestly didn’t know much of my own life story, nor that of my parents and my grandparents.

The summer before I started college, I visited Vietnam for the second time since I immigrated to the States. I was 18 – and it was that summer when it became very clear that I needed to take every opportunity to connect to my Vietnamese-Chinese culture. If I didn’t, I would walk through my life half-blind.

During my first year of college, I enrolled in language courses, established a second major in Southeast Asian Studies and made plans to study abroad in Vietnam.

I’m in my 30s now. I’ve lived in Hanoi for a period of time, relearned Vietnamese, and gotten to spend time with my family living there. I’ve drawn my family tree and recorded family stories.

There is still much more for me to learn. But ultimately, those years of intense immersion gave me the sense of cultural identity that I needed to feel solid in my roots.

Most people do not have the luxury to spend four years in formal cultural studies. But we can all make small steps. We can read history books and watch documentaries. We can talk to our family and write down their stories. We can travel to our home country.

My workshop for AAPI Women is one of those small steps.

This 6-week workshop “Exploring Our Cultural History, Family & Identity” was created with the intention of supporting Asian women in connecting to their roots.

Instead of going through this alone, we can share the uncovering, the stories, and the questions together.

If you identify as an Asian American, Pacific Islander, Native Hawaiian, or multiracial woman, I warmly invite you to this small circle of like-minded individuals coming together for the same purpose.


I am extremely glad I joined this AAPI women's group. I had no idea what to expect from it when I first went in and it turned out to be so much more fulfilling than I had anticipated. I was provided the opportunity to look closer at my upbringing and how it has shaped me into who I am today, something that I wouldn't have reflected on so intimately if I wasn't prompted. I got to be in a space with beautiful, strong, and intelligent women who made me feel seen and I can't thank Ky enough for providing us a safe space to come together!

- 2021 Group Participant

I am so glad I had this structured and safe environment to go to discuss my personal identity and history. It was also great to have other's stories to compare them to because I wouldn't have know where to start. Thank you!

- 2021 Group Participant


When:  April 12-May 17, 2022 on Tuesdays Evenings, 6:00-7:30pm PST

Who: Women who identify as Asian American/Pacific Island/Native Hawaiian/Multi-Racial. Must be located in the United States. 

Where: Virtual

Cost: $375 for 6 sessions. Payment Plan Available. 

Registration: 1) Call 858-754-8884 2) Email me or 3) schedule a free Interest Call

To ensure a high quality workshop experience, I conduct a brief phone call with all interested participants to answer questions & confirm this workshop fits your needs. 

Ready To Take The Next Step?
Schedule An Interest Call