Duc Anh Vo – scholarship holder in school year 2012 – 2013

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Name: Duc Anh Vo

Profile: Duc Anh grew up in poverty. As a high school student, while others enjoyed their school time, he juggled his studying and part-time jobs to support his family, yet he still excelled at school. He succeeded in a really selective entrance university’s exam, but that was not the end of the story. Moving to a big city, along with tuition fees, he needed money for just anything, Duc Anh was again confronted by the financial hurdle which has been impeding his family for generations. Thankfully with the support of DongHanh scholarship and of course his personal efforts, he was able to finish his first year with excellent result ,he then earned a full time study at Ukrainian National Technical University of Oil and Gas. Unfortunately his family couldn’t shell out for one-year preparation class. Realizing this is an important stepping stone, DongHanh granted him the second scholarship that helped afford his tuitions. Now with nothing bogging him down, he’s chasing his dream of becoming a leader of his fields and eventually coming back to his motherland, Vietnam, to stand among new young generation that could walk Vietnam through this crisis and bring a new visage that matches its curtailed potentials.

Education:

Polytechnic University of Da Nang, Vietnam, specialized in oil process (2012-2013)

Preparation class for his study in Ukraine (2013-2014)

Ukrainian national technical university of oil and gas (From 2014)

Granted years: 2012 and 2013 (two times)

Uses of scholarship: the first scholarship was to pay his first two years tuitions at University of Danang, the second grant was to partially cover the tuition fees of his preparation class.

Future plan: Finishing his master degree at Ukrainian National Technical University of Oil and Gas and comeback to Vietnam.

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Luong Vang Le – scholarship holder in 2011

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Van Vang Luong

Name: Luong Vang LE

Age: 22

Fourth year student in Polytechnic university of Ho Chi Minh city.

Year of scholarship: 2011.

Education & distinctions:

High school Luong Van Chanh (Phu Yen ) : result of the entrance exam for Polytechnic University of Ho Chi Minh City : 25/30 .

Polytechnic University of Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam :

In the training of excellent engineer in Viet Nam (PFIEV)

First and second prize of National Olympic contest in physics, third prize of National Olympic contest in mechanical fluid, fourth prize of National Olympic contest in mechanics. Recipient of INSA-Lyon scholarship for two years of study.

Future plans: he hopes to have the chances of studying in the developing countries, in particular in civil Engineering, in order to be able to contribute to the development of Vietnam.

 

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Le Hong Thai – scholarship holder in 2012

Le Hong Thai nancy 22Name : LÊ Hồng Thái

Age : 25

Academics: Francophone University Association (AUF – Agence universitaire de la Francophonie), Advanced Material

Mines Nancy (ENSMN – École Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Nancy), Materials Science and Engineering

Year of scholarship: 2012, the scholarship is used to obtain DELF B2 certificate as well as to cover a part of tuition fee. Besides, Dong Hanh also accompanies him in many others activities such as how to choose and how to apply for postgraduate study, etc.

Future plans: Complete the program in Mines Nancy and do research about material structure, especially new material like Nano material.

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Trong Hieu Nguyen – scholarship holder in 2006, 2007

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Trong Hieu Nguyen

Name: Trong Hieu Nguyen

Age: 25

Academics:

Polytechnic University of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam – Electrical Engineering (2006 – 2009).

University of Oregon, United States (2009 – 2012) – Degree in Electrical Engineering, Summa Cum Laude (uppermost honors).

Australia National University, Australia – Currently completing a doctoral thesis in semiconductor materials/solar cells (since 2013).

Year of scholarship: 2006 and 2007 (received two scholarships from Dong Hanh).

Uses of the scholarship: The first scholarship was used to study English in order to study abroad in America. The second scholarship was used for his studies at the Polytechnic University in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Future plans: In 3 years he hopes to have completed his doctorate at ANU. In the long term, Trong Hieu dreams of becoming a professor or researcher at a well-known university or research institute. After this, he hopes to return to Vietnam to give back to his country.

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Huynh Nam Khoa – schorlarship holder in 2009

Huỳnh Nam Khoa
Huỳnh Nam Khoa

Huynh Nam Khoa

Name: HUYNH Nam Khoa

Age: 23

Education:

2009 – 2013: polytechnic university of Ho Chi Minh City. Graduated with honor.

From 2013: PhD student at Nangyang technological university, Singapore.

Year of scholarship: 2009

Use of scholarship: A part of the scholarship is used to help his family who survived in a tropical hurricane. The rest is paid for an English course.

Future plan: Finish his PhD program with the subject of “Energy Efficiency in Smart Building”. Widen a branch of Dong Hanh in Singapore as its president.

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Some extracts from application letters (first semester, 2013-2014 year)

Dong Hanh organized a Scholarship Selection meeting in November for the first half of the 2013-2014 academic year. We are pleased to share with you below some extracts from application letters, which will hopefully allow you to better understand the lives of students in Vietnam.

 

When my brother was in college, I was still in high school. Living with my parents, I witnessed and resented how hard they worked to cover his tuition fees. Our agricultural resources were not sufficient for the price of his tuition, so they had to borrow money through a student loan program. My brother finished his studies and graduated to become a teacher. This was a great joy for the whole family, but it was broken abruptly by violent monsoons that tore through the village in September. My brother, accompanied by my father, was on the way to submit his application for a teaching position when both of them were swept away in the floods. Residents were able to save the life of my father, but not my brother…

Vo Thi Loan (University of Liberal Arts – Da Nang)

 

…I lost my mother when I was 8 years old. She died of cancer. My father, who was a worker, suffered from a mental illness and had to retire quite young. Today he is still in a bad state of health and is unable to work. I had an older brother who was born in 1991. He was the person who was in charge of taking care of the whole family. Unfortunately, my brother also died in a motorcycle accident when he was in his second year at the International Finance Institute in Hanoi. We experienced very hard times. Currently, I live in Hanoi with a daily budget of 5000 VND, which is the equivalent of 20 cents. This allows me to save money to help my family and pay for college. Today, my family is still indebted to a bank, and since my brother is dead, I am the sole person who bears the burdens of life for my family…

Do Oanh Thanh (Polytechnic School of Hanoi)

….In my family, 5 people have lived together for 20 years in an old wooden house which was built by my grandfather. My parents don’t have stable employment and their very low salary only allows us to live day to day. Due to this reality, my brothers and I did not have many ways to get to school. I had done a year of study at the University of Ton Duc Thang, but I had to stop in the second year for lack of money. In 2012 I decided to work to earn money and at the same time I trained to pass the entrance exam to the University of Natural Sciences in Ho Chi Minh City. I was admitted in 2013. It is a joy for me, but a heavier burden on my parents, who must also handle the education of my two brothers. In my family I am the eldest and I did not want to ask my parents to take care of all the registration fees for university. I found part of the solution by working as a laborer in a foreign company in Vietnam to cover my living expenses…

Le Thanh Hieu (University of Sciences of Ho Chi Minh City)

My father died when I was in elementary school. My brother is disabled, partly due to a dioxin in Agent Orange. My mother raised my brother and me alone. Our only financial resource comes from agriculture. When I passed the entrance examination to university, in order to pay my tuition we had to borrow money from the bank. As for my daily expenses, they are covered thanks to a part time student job. After graduating, my only goal is to get a stable job to rebuild our miserable little house and to provide a better life for my mother. I have strong convictions that a successful education is the only path to a successful life.

Nguyen Thi Hien (University of Liberal Arts – Da Nang)

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Trong Hieu Nguyen, who dared to dream!

One day in early December, after a long flight from Paris to Australia en route to the Australian National University (ANU, the biggest University in Australia), we received a letter from Mr. Trong Hieu Nguyen, a student who received two Dong Hanh Scholarships and was an active DH member in Ho Chi Minh City. In this letter, he happily told us his good news of getting a full scholarship from ANU to continue with a PhD. I had the opportunity to meet him several times. On behalf of the Fund’s Board of Dong Hanh studies, I would like to share a very interesting conversation with Mr. Trong Hieu Nguyen and his professional progress.

Hello, could you tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Trong Hieu Nguyen, born in 1989. I was an student at the Polytechnic School of Ho Chi Minh City, in the honours class for Electrical Engineering. I received a Dong Hanh Scholarship twice and was a member of the Dong Hanh Scholarship Fund in Ho Chi Minh City.

 

Mr. Trong Hieu Nguyen’s most impressive academic results:

 

  •  First prize in the Olympiad competitive exam at the provincial level and the third prize at the national level in mathematics.
  • A score of 29.5/30 in the entrance exam to the Polytechnic University in Ho Chi Minh City in 2006, and again for the University of Medecine and Pharmacy in Can Tho.
  • Was among the top 3 students in electrical engineering at the Polytechnic University in HCM and obtained a scholarship to spend his last two years of study in Oregon, USA.
  • Graduated with an American diploma title of “Summa Cum Laude” (uppermost honors) with a GPA of 3.97/4.00.
  • Obtained a full scholarship to complete a doctoral thesis at the Australian National University (ANU) and the University of Sydney. He will continue with his thesis at the beginning of 2013.

When did you receive the scholarship to study? Were you happy and surprised when you did? How did you find out about this scholarship? Were you concerned when sending the application and did you think that you had a chance of receiving it?

 

I received it for the first time in 2006 and for the second time in 2007. When the good news arrived, I was really surprised and happy since it was the first time that I had received a donation from an association. At the beginning of my entry to the Polytechnic University of Ho Chi Minh City, there was an ad for this award displayed on the door of the education center that attracted me to the scholarship. As a new student, I was a little unsure of how to prepare a scholarship application due to my lack of experience. So, I did it without thinking that I would be selected and was surprised when I was given the scholarship during my first year.

How have you used the Dong Hanh scholarship?

 

As a student at the Polytechnic University in HCM, I was attracted by many other study-abroad scholarships available to excellent students, which offer study opportunities in England, the U.S, Australia, etc. I thought I could win one of these comprehensive scholarships so I decided to go abroad. However, my English level was not good enough to study plus during my third year in high school I learned mathematics, physics and chemistry to enter university. It was for this reason that I used my money from this scholarship to learn English.

The total amount of the scholarship was used for taking 3 English courses (the tuition fees at the language university aren’t too expensive). After about half a year I learned English at the A level and three months later at the B level. At that moment my English was pretty good so I started to learn the TOEFL to pursue my dreams.

It was the first scholarship that I received, and even if it wasn’t a large amount, in a way it has really encouraged me to effectively follow my chosen direction in life. Thanks to the hope that I received during the scholarship award ceremony, as well as letters of encouragement from Dong Hanh, I had the impression that I was never alone since my family was always next to me.

Are you in regular contact with members of Dong Hanh? Before receiving the scholarship, what did you think of it? Was there a big difference between what you originally thought and what you encountered during the scholarship experience?

 

Yes. During my time in the United States, because I was concentrating on studying, I had little time to exchange information. After I returned to Vietnam, I had the chance to meet with other members and to regularly talk about work and life with them.

 

Can you share your memories of Ho Chi Minh City with Dong Hanh?

 

During free time, we drank coffee, we chatted about heaven and earth, education, social development and politics. I was very happy!

Do you have more difficulties in life now?

 

Now my life is very good and I have a stable job. In two months, ANU will help me financially, with papers and everything, except that I find myself with a lot of academic work. I need to concentrate on my studies to continue working towards my diploma.

What is your desire now? And in 5 years? Could you share with us your long-term plan for the future?

 

In three years, I hope to complete the semiconductor materials doctorate in solar cells that I am working towards at ANU. Then I’ll try to obtain a post-doctoral research scholarship. Thus, I have two goals for the next 5 years. In the long term, I will continue my scientific dream of becoming a professor or researcher at a well-known university or research institute. After achieving my dream (I could be very old at that point…), I hope to have the opportunity to return to Vietnam, and to use all the knowledge and experiences acquired in my life to serve our country.

In your opinion, are there many students who are still experiencing very difficult conditions but with excellent capabilities to study abroad like you? Do you have any advice for them?

 

Yes, a lot. A majority of them are not lucky like me. I hope that they will obtain the financial support to achieve their dreams. I would like to send a message to these students: never abandon your dreams! A dream is the starting point for everything. If you really want something, be ready to do it! Prepare carefully and go step by step to make your dreams come true.

I know that you are an active member of Dong Hanh in Ho Chi Minh City, so in your opinion how can the association become stronger?

 

The members of Dong Hanh are only students at the National University. I think that it’s necessary to recruit members from other universities (technical, medicine, education, etc) in order to promote the Dong Hanh Scholarship program.

Since you are doing a doctorate at ANU, do you think that there’s a place for Dong Hanh in Australia?

 

Yes, more branches will enhance the image and effectiveness of Dong Hanh in order to spread and become better known. For the first time, in Australia, I will concentrate on just the idea of creating a branch if possible. I then hope to have the time to promote and develop the image of Dong Hanh in Australia.

In addition to your ongoing university responsibilities, if you were president of the university this term what other activities would you organize?

 

Since a majority of the Dong Hanh members are undergraduate and graduate students, they’re busy with studying and research. To be president of this organization is a big challenge for every member. It requires a lot of dedication, time and experience, so I don’t have a very clear idea of what else a president should do, but there is an idea that I find quite feasible: the expansion of the scholarship program to other universities in Ho Chi Minh City (human sciences, education, medicine, etc). I think that a majority of my school friends aren’t familiar with the Dong Hanh scholarship.

 

Would you like to send a message to our friends at Dong Hanh?

 

Thank you. I’m delighted to have met and worked with you. I hope that I have the chance to see you, my Dong Hanh brothers and sisters in France. In Vietnam, we have already met.

In short, the Dong Hanh committee once again thanks Mr. Trong Hieu Nguyen. The committee wishes you good health, much happiness and hopes that all of your dreams come true. Mr. Trong Hieu Nguyen’s history gives us confidence that our program is achieving its goal. We hope that Dong Hanh can continue to receive support from organizations, individuals and friends in the world to develop strongly, help more students and to have more and more success stories like Trong Hieu Nguyen.

Tran van Xuan

Translation: Murphy McAnulty

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Phuc Hau Nguyen – who overcame his struggles

A student in the department of electronics at the Polytechnic Institute of Ho Chi Minh City was chosen by his university to continue his studies in Ukraine. This achievement speaks to the fact that Phuc Hau Nguyen has continued to put all his efforts into his studies without ever giving up, despite difficulties that he has experienced in life. At the moment, Phuc Hau is studying in the preparatory program at the School of Aviation Technology located in the capital of Kiev.

 

To achieve such a result, Hau put forth a lot of effort. His father died before he was born, so his mother raised him all by herself. Living in a difficult situation, his mother did everything that she could to give him a proper education. Hau has always felt less fortunate than most of his peers, and because of this, he found himself with more problems to overcome. For example, even though it was a 14km journey to and from his school on an old bike, he was almost never absent.

 

When we asked him about his impressive academic results, he told us with a modest smile, “My results are nothing exceptional. They’re normal.” He told us of his years in primary school and college, where most years he was at the top of his class. In high school, he was selected to compete in an honors mathematics competition for high school students. Later, he passed the entrance exam to the Polytechnic Institute of Ho Chi Minh City, where he specialized in his favorite subject of electronics.

 

Looking at these results, some might find them commonplace. On the contrary, it is important to remember all that Hau has overcome to be where he is today. It’s not easy for a student in his situation to continue his higher education at a university like the Polytechnic Institute. It is even more difficult to obtain a scholarship to study abroad. It takes a very strong will to persevere, of which Hau certainly possesses and which drives his success.

 

Having been helped by the Dong Hanh Association, Hau tells us, “I am very touched by the aid given to me by my brothers and sisters at Dong Hanh. Your financial and moral support encouraged me a lot. For me, I not only received a monetary scholarship, but a stronger spirit. I promise to put all my efforts into becoming more like you”.

 

When Hau knows my intention for this interview, he asks me to convey his gratitude to his “Dong Hanh brothers and sisters”.

 

Hau’s biggest dream is to travel and discover the world. However, his more immediate goal is to return to Vietnam to apply all he has learned to the aviation industry, which he says is very necessary to the country, which is in need of assistance. At the moment, it’s safe to say that the first part of his dream has been achieved, but it is just the beginning of a long journey. We hope that Hau maintains his confidence and continues to achieve great success in the future.

 

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A river filled with dreams

If you go to the Giang Vo Centre on an autumn day in late October – early November, you will see Bach Thi Thuy Ha, a fellow of the talented K46A class in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Natural Sciences, Hanoi. These days, Ha is busy working as a vendor for the seafood export company of Da Nang. Since Ha has been busy in the lab working on her first scientific research project titled, “The Manipulation of Aniline Wastewater using the Electrochemical Method,” I was very surprised that she found the time for a job.

1. In her mother’s arms

Let’s go back to the village of Thai Binh, when Ha was 10 years old and a student of a specialized secondary school. Upon arriving at the new school and starting to become familiar with the new material: physics, Ha found it more difficult to study than ever before. Her father was injured while working so all of the family responsibilities were given to her mother. Recognizing her parents’ hard work, Ha consistently tried to do well in school. She won the first prize in a province-wide competitive physics exam, and was selected for the National Physics competition. The result proved to be a worthy outcome of her efforts, especially since she was so passionate about physics.

Being the eldest of the family, Ha devoted all her time to helping her mother and 10-year-old brother with his studies. At the end of her four years at school, Ha passed the entrance exam for a specialized high school in the province of Thai Binh. During her 3 years of high school, Thuy Ha did not disappoint her parents or teachers – she was always at the top of her class with outstanding results. She continued to be selected to the team of gifted students to prepare for the national physics competition. Everyone thought that Ha would lean more toward physics because of her aptitude for it, especially given that it is usually a subject more suited to boys.

Leaving the city of Thai Binh for Hanoi, what remained in Ha’s mind, what made her anxious, was the frailness of her father and the sad eyes of her mother. Studying far from home, Ha regretted not being able to stay in Thai Binh and help her parents. She wanted to work part-time to at least help them to financially cover her monthly living expenses in Hanoi.

However, Ha’s mother did not agree with her intentions. She feared that work distracted her from learning. As a teacher, her mother understood the importance of knowledge for the future, especially for women. “Even if I must sell our house to get money for the two of you to attend school, I will not allow you to seek additional work,” confirmed her mother, with a stern but loving look that she will never forget.

Ha had the anxiety and love without borders from her mother, so for two years in Hanoi, she put all of her concentration and spirit into learning. But every summer after the chaos of studying and exams were over, Ha convinced her mother to allow her to be a tutor. For three months she worked regularly, but she never forgot the words of her mother:

In the spirit of Ha, “a mother is always the woman who posses the most love for her children in this world!”

2. Dong Hanh – a good friend

Just like any student for the first time in Hanoi, Ha struggled with balancing studying and every day life, with finances as her main concern. Yet, the trust and love of her parents helped her to overcome every challenge. In Hanoi, Ha never forgot that her goal was “to put as much effort as possible into learning in order to create an easy life for the future and to repay her parents for all their sacrifices.”

With this determination, she did very well in the first 3 semesters at university. She regularly received scholarships from the school and the Organization of Francophone Universities. Most notably during the second semester of the 2002 – 2003 school year, with exceptional efforts, she received a grade point average of 9.24. With this result, Ha was honored as an excellent student in the Department of Chemistry during the opening ceremony of the 2003 – 2004 school year at the University of Natural Sciences, Hanoi. She also received more good news – the Dong Hanh Scholarship program decided to award her with a scholarship worth 1 million VND in the first half of 2003.

For Ha, this scholarship from Dong Hanh was a very significant reward. She said, “I want to thank my Dong Hanh brothers and sisters and representatives of Dong Hanh in Vietnam, as well as all the sponsors of the program – people full of generosity who have supported and helped disadvantaged students by giving them the energy to continue to fulfill their dreams.”

Over the years, there were many students in Vietnam who received financial and spiritual aid from the Dong Hanh program. For them, Dong Hanh has become a common house, a warm and friendly home! Thanks to the scholarship program, Ha had the chance to make new friends. According to Ha, “My friends live in an extremely difficult situation, but they are able to overcome everything. They are good examples of courage and determination.

Not only an energetic person and respectful daughter, Ha is also a good friend who thinks of others. Another reason that motivates Ha to work hard is, “to become successful in the future to help those less fortunate than myself.” Ha would like to send a message to her friends of the same age: “Nothing is difficult, you can overcome anything. Focus your efforts on your goals and you will find your energy and determination. When you find yourself struggling, don’t hesitate to reach out to your Dong Hanh brothers and sisters for strength. They are ready to help you in your studies and in life.”

3. On her way to the future

Every day for Ha is filled with work so she has no real free time. Everything is dedicated to her studies: going to class, doing research in the lab and attending courses organized by the French-speaking universities…She is always busy, but for a young girl of 20 with plenty of enthusiasm and energy, life is still something inspiring and full of hope!

Loving red and white, adoring songs by Trinh Cong Son (a famous Vietnamese musician), passionate about history and science, it seems that Ha has a personality not easily found in others. This distinction gave me a good impression from the beginning of our conversation.

Returning to Ha’s studies, I wanted to know why she switched from physics to chemistry after being so interested in the subject for 6 years in high school. Why did she choose this subject and does she have any regrets? To answer my question, Ha confirmed, “I am glad I chose chemistry. If I could go back to the beginning and re-select my university, I would choose the University of Natural Sciences again, I would re-select the department of chemistry, and the class of K46A with a specialization in physical chemistry. To this day, I still love both physics and chemistry.

With enthusiasm and passion as always, Ha told me that her desire after graduation is to pursue a master’s degree, then a doctorate, before becoming a university professor. Currently, she is trying to find a scholarship to study abroad after graduation. According to Ha, “Our country is still poor, with setbacks in science and technology. It seems to me that there are machines no longer used by the modern world that are still used in Vietnam. There is a lot of scientific work, new methods in developed countries, but for our country, especially for young students, we have very little information. It is as if we are out of the game, therefore our mission is to first learn well and to discover up and coming scientific and technological information in the world. For those who have the means, do not hesitate to go abroad to learn more about the modern world.”

Behind her desire is a sincere confession: “If I cannot pursue a masters program, I will work to earn money and then apply for another superior study, because I know these programs are extremely expensive.” By Ha’s strong and determined voice, I’m sure that she can overcome all difficulties to achieve whatever she wants.

Stories exist that have ended but that continue to make us think. There are stories that happened a long time ago but that still make us surprised. Before separating with Ha, I asked her, “Do you have dreams for the future? And if so, what are they?” Ha said, “I want to become a good teacher. In addition to teaching and research in the field, I will work with businesses to make practical projects, but I think as a woman, in addition to work I must also complete my duties as a wife and mother. I will try to find moderation between my work and family life.”

When listening to her profound confidence and dreams, I imagine before me a very sweet and lovely river. It flows through rapids, it sometimes turns, but finally it finds the ocean. The patience of the river gives it strength to move in any terrain.

Hanoi, 1 November 2003

Do Phuong Khanh

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