Nguyen Thanh Thuy Tien, Master’s degree in Sustainable Aquaculture, University of Stirling

Nguyen Thanh Thuy Tien received a bachelor’s degree in Aquaculture and Fishery at Can Tho University. She was awarded a British Council scholarship for Women in STEM in 2021–22 and completed the MSc in Sustainable Aquaculture at University of Stirling, Scotland. 

Why did you choose the UK as a study destination? 

I was born in the Mekong Delta, where aquaculture is the lifeblood of almost local activities. As I grew up, I have observed with interest the rapid emergence of aquaculture in the Mekong delta and how farming of fish and shrimp shaped the socio-economic fabric of our country. At the same time, I have also experienced the sustainability challenges that came along with it, and how important it is to address these challenges to sustain the industry in the long term. From there, my personal curiosity for aquaculture and healthy food production became passion, so I entered the industry after graduation. There on I enthusiastically took part in different aspects of the aquaculture sector, working with or for local and global players including ingredients and feed producers, consulting and service firms, seafood processors, seafood importers, retailers and local farmers. The interaction with these actors played an essential role in shaping my view. This also motivated me to develop my technical knowledge by taking my education to the next level. 

I chose the UK as a destination to complete a postgraduate degree, because it has some of the world’s top-ranking universities, leading the way in pioneering research and academic studies. A Master’s degree in the UK is recognised and revered by employers and academics worldwide. Moreover, the Institute of Aquaculture at University of Stirling, where I am studying, is the top-rated aquaculture research and training department in the UK, a leading international center in this field with an excellent reputation for top-notch lecturers and researchers. 

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? 

A wide range of opportunities have been opening for people to receive the benefits of the British Council Scholarships for Women in STEM. The scholarship aims specifically of the women who working or having a degree in STEM subjects in the developing countries over the world. This would, therefore, enhances the opportunities for suitable beneficiaries to follow their passion about study by providing prestige academic and full economic support. 

What is your best experience in the UK? 

Studying abroad and spending more time among the multicultural environment in the UK is the best experience I have ever had. International students from many parts of the world create an amazing cosmopolitan country. That is a valuable opportunity for either academic knowledge or language and culture exchange. Moreover, steeped in history and brimming with natural beauty, landscapes of Scotland - the world's most beautiful country - have inspired every natural lover, including me, to discover. I often enjoy the hiking trails and the hill walking through the fields on the weekends. On top of that, spending time with the hospitable local Scottish next to a wood stove in the cold winter days is an incredible memory that will absolutely be with me for a long time. 

In the current complicated situation of Covid-19 pandemic, have you faced any difficulties during study in the UK? What have you done to overcome these difficulties? 

The spreading of Covid-19 pandemic worldwide is a challenge for most of the international students who came to the UK last year, including me. The social distance regulation applied in the UK in some serious periods required the University to transform into fewer physical interactions on campus. More online classes have been built to replace the offline classes on campus, some of our practical experiences were postponed. Instead of that, more support has been made by university and lecturers. Lectures are more detailed and we have catch-up sections every week to keep the programme’s quality and students’ experience does not have much negative effect. Therefore, i also adapt quickly to the new teaching method, so, I find myself settle down easier than I thought. 

What advice would you give to Vietnamese students who wish to apply for British Council Scholarships for Women in STEM 2022–23? 

I would tell them 'Don't hesitate to knock on any door that may open for them because it may lead to a valuable turning point in their life. Be confident and never give up.'

I often enjoy the hiking trails and the hill walking through the fields on the weekends with my friends.