Bui Thi Tu Anh was awarded the British Council Scholarships for Women in STEM 2022–23. She is currently studying the MSc in Sustainability, Entrepreneurship and Design at Brunel University London.
Why did you choose to pursue your studies in a STEM subject in the UK?
My arrival at the STEM scheme could be called a coincidence, as my background is in economics. Having an opportunity to work in the textile and apparel industry created an awareness in me towards sustainable production. Hence, I have the desire to develop a green manufacturing industry, having a correlation of Environment, Social and Economics, with the knowledge gained by pursuing the course Sustainability, Entrepreneurship and Design.
As a woman pursuing an education in STEM, what are the advantages/disadvantages? What are your thoughts on the scholarships for Women in STEM?
In Viet Nam - and other developing countries such as India, Nepal, et cetera - women securing jobs on a large platform, such as in the field of STEM, is often considered tough, and it is assumed that they will have difficulty in getting married. However, after getting enrolled on this course, I got the chance to make friends with people from varied backgrounds, who, despite being females, are bold as well as girly. Out of about 25 students taking this course, about 20 are females. Women in STEM is a very prestigious scholarship, which offers the best opportunities for women to develop their competencies.
What are your plans after finishing your studies in the UK?
My plan after graduation is to return to Viet Nam and continue working and contributing to the textile manufacturing industry. Furthermore, I plan to associate myself with some projects related to sustainability to improve production efficiency, save energy, and enhance business ethics, in order to affirm Viet Nam’s name on the world map of textiles.
What advice would you give to Vietnamese students who wish to apply for the British Council Scholarships for Women in STEM 2022–23?
There used to be a time when I thought this would be tough, and I was confused and had lost hope. I had tried to get some scholarships before, but I couldn’t win any of them. Throughout the four years of my work in the garment production company, there were many instances in which my friends wondered why I did not change the environment or look for better opportunities, rather than persisting in the same job. Although I didn’t have a proper response to those questions back then, I believe I have found an answer to them now. Sometimes to achieve success, we need to gain enough experience and have immense faith in ourselves. Keep dreaming, but also open the door for yourself. You need to clearly understand the purpose and meaning of your career to be able to convince the selection committee. Be courageous and persistent with your choices and also don't forget to be kind to the people around you.