Nguyen Thu Loan was awarded a GREAT scholarship in 2022-23, and is currently studying an MA TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) at the University of Hull.
Why did you choose to study in the UK?
Undoubtedly, the UK has always been synonymous with high-quality educational systems for many years, which has been proven by the increasingly high number of international students each year.
Apart from that, there are more personal and special reasons that made me super-interested in studying in the UK. As soon as I started learning English, I learned about Big Ben, double-decker buses, the Tower of London, and so many more; and all of these are stunningly beautiful. Being able to use the English language was really life-changing. It opened a new world for me, helped me to connect to other parts of the world, and gave me a very rewarding job as an English teacher.I am passionate about pursuing this career, and the UK is the birthplace of the English language, so the UK is definitely my very first choice of study destination.
I also love British people because all of the British that I have got to know are very nice and polite; and somehow I just fell in love with the British accent. I really wanted to pursue my studies here - to the point where I even dreamed about going to a UK university in my sleep!
Why did you choose the MA TESOL course at University of Hull?
I worked as an English teacher back in Viet Nam. While I did my job, there were some challenges along the way. There were times I struggled to make lesson plans or think of activities to include in my lessons. That's why I decided to do a Master's degree in TESOL, so that I can conduct the most effective lessons possible.
For the University of Hull, it's one of the most affordable cities in the UK. Not only the tuition fee, but also housing and living expenses here are relatively cheap, compared to other places. In addition, I received a lot of support from the school from the very beginning, ranging from help with the visa, to things to do before and after coming to the UK. Thanks to that, when I came here, I was fully prepared and knew what was expected.
What has your experience of course content and study environment at University of Hull been like so far?
Amazing, fantastic, wonderful – I think the list can go on!
The course provides me with insights into the field and the lectures are very engaging, due to the fact that our professors usually integrate real-life experience and jokes into their lessons. It is of great importance, especially for me, who did not major in TESOL as an undergraduate.
There is also a wide range of valuable workshops provided by my school - about referencing, academic writing or critical analysis, to name a few - all of which help me a lot with my assignments. Whenever I have any problems, whether it be academic or non-academic, the school and its departments are always there to support me. I really appreciate that.
How has the GREAT Scholarship impacted your life?
The GREAT scholarship is such a wonderful vehicle for me to reach my full potential in academic studies. This golden ticket allows me to pursue further education in the UK without financial burden, hence enhancing my focus on study instead of worrying too much about how to earn money to cover the fee and living expenses while studying here.
But, most importantly, once being a GREAT scholar, I can broaden my network, connect to other GREAT scholars and all together make this world a better place through education.
What is one of your favourite memories since you came to the UK?
I have been here for two months and there have been a lot of memorable experiences. The most memorable one probably relates to the local accent here. The local people in my area tend to drop the ‘h’ sound, so one day, one of my friends came to me and said ‘give me a hug’, but without making the ‘h’ sound. I was confused, because what I heard is ‘ug’ which is nonsense. After a short while, I figured it out and we both laughed out loud.
However, I have become more familiar with the local accent, finding it easier to understand what local people and international students say.
What are your plans after finishing your Master’s degree?
Recently, I was fortunate to be selected #WeAreInternational Student Ambassador of UKCISA (UK Council for International Student Affairs). After completing my Master's course, apart from projects I'm planning for my teaching job, I will continue act as #WeAreInternational Student Ambassador, participating in activities, programmes or projects that benefit international students in the UK with the UKCISA team.
What advice would you give potential applicants for GREAT scholarship this year?
First of all, preparation. If you fail to prepare, you're preparing to fail. This step is crucial since you need to learn about your school of choice, your major, and the requirements of the scholarship. Once you've made a detailed plan for the scholarship application, you can keep track of your own application process, hence increasing the chance of winning the scholarship.
Secondly, try to be your most authentic self, show who you are, what you're doing and how your study can benefit you as an individual and the country as a whole.
Last but not least, give it a go. You'll never know how far you can go unless you try. No matter what the result, I'm sure that you will learn something and find it useful in the future. Remember that your journey will make sense at the end.