Bui Hoang Thuy Vi was awarded GREAT scholarship 2021–22. She achieved a MSc degree in Climate Change Science and Policy at University of Bristol.

Why did you choose the UK as a study destination? 

Excellent education is the most principal reason why I chose to study in the UK. When I studied at British Council Vietnam, I was so fascinated with the way teachers respect students’ opinions, letting them solve their own problems and not judging whether the answer was right or wrong. Thus, Students could develop their independent thinking, and protect their opinions,. This study method has suited me well. 

In addition, the UK is one of the leading countries pursuing Net Zero carbon emissions and mitigating climate change. Studying and living here helped  me understand more deeply about green lifestyles, and learn how to advocate for lightening the impact of climate change in Viet Nam.  

Another reason is that I had dreamed of attending COP26 hosted by the UK in 2021. I always thought to immerse myself in the atmosphere of COP26, meet new inspired friends who share the same goal of fighting for environment. Therefore, choosing to study in the UK was a definitely right decision for me. 

How was your feeling when received GREAT scholarship? 

I felt really lucky to receive GREAT scholarship. This opportunity gave me not only tuition support but also the great friendship with other GREAT scholars. Thanks to the connecting events and trips organised by the British Council and the institution, I have had chance to make friends with many scholars around the world. They are some of the most interesting and talented people I have ever met. Travel broadens the mind; these are valuable experiences that I will never forget. 

What do you think about the study programme and educational environment in the UK? 

The study programme at University of Bristol is pretty hard, but helped me open up my mind with more knowledge and multi-dimensional thinking. Pursuing a master degree is mainly self-study and self-research, then discussing with lectures and classmates at the seminars. In my opinion, this proactive learning method allows me to focus more on the content I am keen on, gain more in-deep knowledge and create my own learning excitement. Although self-study is so important, I still have myself supported by teachers around. When having a question, just ask and you will receive the answer. 

I am also interested in culture and people in the UK, especially in the city of Bristol where I am studying. Not as busy as London but still dynamic enough, Bristol brings a feeling of comfort that is hard to find in any other cities. British people in general and Bristol people in particular are so friendly, always with smile on their face, and willing to help. I really love the way they say ‘Cheers’ instead of ‘Thank you’, or use ‘trousers’ as ‘pants’ means ‘underwear’. As an international student, I always feel welcome and learn new things in this ancient kingdom. 

What will be your plan after finishing this master degree? 

I am now currently a member of Youth Climate Action Network (YNet Vietnam) and in the process of developing Climate Change Knowledge Portal for Vietnamese youth. In the future, I want to work more for NGOs, research on sustainable development and empower young people to be more proactive in environmental area. After the trip with other GREAT scholars, I have more faith in young generation and hope that we can make more positive impact on society and climate change together. 

What advice would you give to Vietnamese students who wish to apply for GREAT Scholarship? 

In addition to the excellent academic result, I think GREAT Scholarship programme is looking for candidates with leadership skill not only in managing an organisation but also managing themselves. You need to be able to answer the questions ‘Who am I? What do I want to do?’ first. 

Once these questions are answered, you will know how to persuade the application reviewer of ‘Why do I deserve this scholarship? How will studying in the UK help with my future direction? What can I do to represent my country, my university and education here?’. I have learned in the UK is that people really respect personal opinion and differences, so feel free to express your identity and ambition. These are the factors that help the reviewer find the suitability between you and the major you chose.  

The application process helped me understand myself better, so I believe you can learn something from the first round applying for GREAT Scholarship. Just give it a try! 

GREAT Scholarship gave me not only tuition support but also a great friendship with other GREAT scholars. 
Self-study and self-research allow students to focus more on the content they are keen on, gain more in-deep knowledge and create learning excitement.