Nguyen from Vietnam


Hi my name in Nguyen and l'm studying an MA in the European Union & International Relations at Aston University. I was awarded the International Office Scholarship for Vietnam 2010/2011.

I'm having a great time here making new friends and experiencing all Aston has to offer. I've joined the Basketball team and l live with relatives in Handsworth.

I'm from Ho Chi Minh city which is the second biggest city in Vietnam which is quite funny as l now live in the UK's second biggest city. 

This is my online diary where l want to share the fun times and stressful times with people who are thinking about coming to Aston. I hope you enjoy reading about what l've been up to....

I also have a student profile which you may find interesting...

Entry 5: Getting scholarship

User Avatar 16/12/2010 14:45:22

By Thao Nguyen Hoang, MA in the European Union and International Relations, Vietnam 

It has been  2 weeks since I applied for the scholarship at Aston University. Time seems to go so slowly when you are waiting for something. I’ve been counting down every day  hoping to get the scholarship. 

Wednesday - , coming back from a hard working day;  I am exhausted and hungry. But today is the day when Aston lets scholarship candidates know if they have been successful.  Must check my emails before dinner. 

I turn on the laptop and signed into my email.  There is an email!  With the title “Vietnam Scholarship, Aston University, Application Reference 109071811” l am so nervous  now ... Oh My God, I got the scholarship! It’s incredible! Am I dreaming? Is this real?. I let out a happy scream  and feel I am so  lucky . I am so joyful that I don’t feel hungry any more, instead so energetic. How great my life is! I phon  my family in Vietnam to tell them my achievement immediately. They are all excited and happy for me. This scholarship is so meaningful for me.

Entry 4: Applying to Aston

16/12/2010 14:42:10

By Thao Nguyen Hoang, MA in the European Union and International Relations, Vietnam 

It’s May and my hard academic year has just finished. It seems quite late to start my postgraduate application, but fortunately, the deadline isn’t until the end of July. The process involves filling in the application form, writing a personal statement, attaching my transcripts and getting  2 references. Because competition for  places at Aston is high, writing the personal statement is my hardest task. It has taken me one week to think about what to write, make a plan and then write it out carefully!

Wow!  I got an offer from Aston! The response came really quickly – just  two weeks. I  am so happy! I am planning on sharing my joy with friends by cooking a delicious home cooked dinner. I am finally going to study at Aston University. Hey Aston, I’m coming. Life is so great!!!!

Entry 3: Summer in the UK

09/12/2010 14:05:55

By Thao Nguyen Hoang, MA in the European Union and International Relations, Vietnam

Summer is a good time to live in the UK because you experience the best weather this ‘foggy country’ has. It was perfect here in summer. I felt like I was in Vietnam. With sunshine, warm weather and mild winds it was an absolutely ideal time to travel around the UK.

First, I went to York. What I could say about this city except  FANTASTIC. Coming here, visiting York Minster and climbing up to the Tower made me  feel so great. On the top of the Tower, it was amazing to see the overview of York which was ancient, romantic and beautiful. After a long walking day, I had a very good sleep that night.

Next, l went  to visit Haworth. This was a small village famous for a well known writer Bronte Parsonage. I was interested in traditional sweet shops here. According to local people, they still  use traditional techniques for making candy. I learnt new things about the countryside in England. It was interesting to see how  British people still try to keep their traditions even in the busy modern day.

The most interesting trip I had was to Wales. I went  there with a British family and a French friend. It was a wonderful sunny day. The place we visited was called Conwy Bay where you could see blue seas and the smallest house in Great Britain. We climbed to Town Walls which gave us a great view overlooking the town. We had a walk around Conwy Castle and then sat on the beach eating ‘fish and chips’ which was really relaxing.

After that we went up to Great Orme (the highest mountain in Wales) by tram (a small train). It was great to see everything getting smaller and smaller as we went up. From here we could also see  Northern Ireland in the distance. We had a lot of fun on this trip and l bought some souvenirs.  

I really appreciated the British family showing me around and giving me an insight into Britain and the people here.

I also spent part of the summer working in a nail shop in Birmingham to earn some extra cash. By designing new styles l made regular customers happy and attracted new customers. This was a good opportunity to learn about customer preferences and customer service.

Entry 2: My Journey Started

07/12/2010 09:40:26

By Thao Nguyen Hoang, MA in the European Union and International Relations, Vietnam

After starting my Bachelor’s degree in Vietnam l transferred to Huddersfield University to complete my final year. This allowed me to start my journey to the UK.

I was so excited as this was going to be my first time abroad. I just wished to come here quickly so that I would know exactly how England was like. The day I left was still clear in my mind, it seemed to be just yesterday. The most  touching and beautiful memory was the moment that my friends waved their hands and shouted: “Nguyen, try your best, our class love you”.  Goodbye to all my family and friends, then I moved to tears, tears of worries, and of missing and excitement.

The first sight of England appeared from the air, it was early morning. Watching the street lights from the air as we began to land was great.   

“Oh it’s so cold” was the first impression when I put my foot into the Heathrow Airport. Then I was picked up there and went to my aunt’s house in Birmingham. Despite being tired  from the long flight, I couldn’t fall to sleep because of my curiosity during the way from London to Birmingham. England was really nice and lovely as I had imaged. The well organised houses, streets and traffic helped me learn about how developed country is.

I then moved to Huddersfield to settle and start my final  academic year . The train journey from Birmingham to Huddersfield broadened my view of another side of England – peaceful countryside. The vast meadow with sheep created the typical charming beauty of a European country and made me fall in love with Huddersfield as soon as I arrived there.

This was the place where I met and made friends with many students from many backgrounds throughout the world and started my story.

Entry 1: UK - My Destination

30/11/2010 09:52:32

By Thao Nguyen Hoang, MA in the European Union and International Relations, Vietnam

I first thought about the UK during my English and world history lectures. The country seemed rich in tradition and culture.  I had an image of a country which was highly developed in terms of both economics and society ... this really inspired me and l decided this was a place where l wanted to continue my studies...

Keeping the dream in my mind, I attended a range of events which were organised by the British Council. The Annual UK Education Exhibition was one of my favourite events which gave me the chance to directly meet and talk to representatives from a number of UK Universities. The representatives all introduced the diversity of UK education and society even though they tried to promote their own university to potential students.

When l was walking around the exhibition, I was attracted to the UK because of the cultural diversity. This impressed me because it helped me realise that the UK offers chances to everybody regardless of ethnicity. Wendy Yip is the Aston Representative and she was my first contact with  Aston. Our warm conversation made me realise Aston was a  diverse, well-known but friendly university. Her friendly, enthusiastic gestures really inspired me to think of Aston as my first choice to study in the UK.

However, life is not easy as we wish. Despite my preference, I did know my limitations. With high entry requirements at Aston University, I knew that I needed to start my studies in another UK university before applying to Aston. Although my journey of studying abroad had begun, l had to take a slightly longer route first!