Vietnamese Confucian religio-philosophical ideals regulate social order in the family, community, and nation state. As a result, women’s duties to their husbands, fathers, ancestors, and Vietnam powerfully permeate all aspects of gendered life. This study of 20 Vietnamese women explored their experiences as international students in Australia. Primary focus was on how their gendered Confucian histories compelled their migratory journeys, influenced changes to their intimate partner experiences while in Australia, and the reimagining of identity, hopes and dreams on looking forward at their future returns to gendered life in Vietnam. The application of Janus Head phenomenology enabled understanding of how the women’s temporality became influenced by fascinations of future change, mixed with feelings of uncertainty and limbo that arose when forward facing hopes were thwarted by their looking back realities. There was an intense sense of unresolve as time drew closer to the end of their studies, in which the women associated feelings related to returning to Vietnam’s strict Confucian informed gender order as a “living Hell."
- International student