Le Hoang Nhu loves the sea and eating seafood, as well as travelling and learning about new cultures. She graduated from the Faculty of Biotechnology at International University, Vietnam National University, Ho Chi Minh City with a major in Aquatic resources management. She was awarded a British Council Scholarship for Women in STEM in 2021–22 and completed MSc Aquatic Pathobiology at University of Stirling which is the study of the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of aquatic animal diseases in cultured organisms.
Why did you choose the UK as a study destination?
There are numerous reasons why I chose to study in the United Kingdom. Apart from the UK's excellent academic reputation, cultural diversity, and European travel connections, it was the UK's short study time that attracted me in. For a full-time programme, a Master's degree takes one year and an undergraduate degree takes three years.
Studying in the UK through the British Council Scholarships for Women in STEM programme must have been a valuable experience. What were your motivations to apply for this scholarship among many other prestigious scholarship programmes?
This scholarship made a huge contribution to my academic and personal development by allowing me to study abroad without having to worry about finances. Furthermore, as a woman pursuing a major in one of the STEM disciplines, I was really motivated by the scholarship's name – British Council Scholarships for Women in STEM - since it reminds me of the importance of personal growth when selecting STEM and pushes me to pursue my passion for STEM.
What is your best experience in the UK?
Although I am not a football enthusiast, I was quite thrilled to visit some of the world's best football fields while studying in the United Kingdom. When I went to football stadiums in London, Manchester, and Liverpool, it was a fascinating experience. Besides from that, I was thrilled to tour the many Harry Potter filming locations across the UK, from The Elephant House and The Harry Potter Bridge cafe in Scotland to Platform 9¾ at King's Cross Station in London, where the Hogwarts Express runs.
According to UNESCO, fewer than 30 per cent of researchers worldwide are women and only 30 per cent of female students select STEM-related fields in higher education. What motivated you to pursue your current major?
I have been interested in aquatic animals since I was a child because my parents took me to the aquarium, and I also enjoy eating seafood. At first, the reasons seemed strange, but I quickly discovered that keeping fish alive and healthy is a fascinating challenge, so I began my own research to learn more about what I could do to keep the fish healthy and increase productivity efficiency, as aquaculture is one of Vietnam's most important export industries to the world. I was inspired to learn more and apply for my present major by the learning process itself.
What will be your plan after finishing the current study programme?
I plan to return to Vietnam to see my parents and family because I miss them terribly, and then spend some time travelling to new areas to reward myself after a year of challenging education. After that, I will look for a position in the right field where I can put what I have learned to use, with the goal of working for my ideal company after graduation.
What advice would you give to Vietnamese students who wish to apply for British Council Scholarships for Women in STEM 2022?
I would advise them to give it their all and never give up because success does not discriminate. For example, in a year and a half, I searched and applied for a number of scholarships. The British Council is creating a fantastic opportunity for women in STEM to embrace women in STEM. If I can do it, so can everyone else.