Mai Pham Bao Nhi – The bold girl who got the FULL scholarship in South Korea and the title of the best student.

Mai Pham Bao Nhi is a familiar name at HCMC University of Transport. She is one of the excellent students who received the full scholarship for the 2 last years studying in South Korea majoring in Logistics and Port Management at Tongmyong University.

Bao Nhi is a student of the intake 2017 joint-training program between HCMC University of Transport and South Korea’s Tongmyong University, majoring in Logistics and Port Management (this is the first joint-training program in logistics in Vietnam approved by Ministry of Education and Training). Bao Nhi is about to share with us about her experiences as a  joint-training program student:

“Hello everyone!

My name is Mai Pham Bao Nhi, a student from intake 2017  – also the 2nd intake of the 2 + 2 joint-training program between HCMC University of Transport and Tongmyong University majoring in Logistics and Port Management.

“Destiny” is the word that I always use when I talk about my university journey. Knowing about the program through my relatives, I hastily submitted my application because there were only a few days left before the admission closed. I still remember that after only a few days since my application submission, I started having an English entrance exam, as well as learning the first subjects.

At the welcome ceremony for new students, I was surprisingly informed that I would receive the Companion scholarship. When I received it, I kept shaking because I couldn’t believe that I got it. When I applied, I didn’t know that there was an entrance scholarship. When the admission staff told me: “Your university exam score is high. You can get an entrance scholarship”, I just listened to it without thinking much. I was lucky enough to receive it.

My freshman year started with a series of mornings with specialized subjects and IELTS in the afternoon. When I was studying, IEC did not have a clear and thorough IELTS preparation schedule like it does now, so I faced many difficulties. My English was not good, so it’s hard to study. Luckily, the whole class received a lot of supports from the University and the lecturers. I felt so relieved, especially when it came to difficult subjects.

The visit to Cat Lai Port was our class’s first field trip. At that time, I had chosen my major; it was an eye-opening experience for me to understand more about the industry and my direction.

Put learning aside. What about extracurricular activities? Unlike other training programs, I did not participate in military programs or clubs; we had other activities, and more international exchange activities. For example, at the end of the first semester of the first year, I and a group of IELTS classmates – we call it IELTS 2 class, were proud to hold a welcoming ceremony for the students of National Taiwan Ocean University. This is an unforgettable memory in my student life, making friends as well as having fun activities with teachers and friends inside and outside the country.

Another unforgettable memory was in the first year, exactly the summer of the first year. While learning Market Research, I and two other friends were favored by Mr. Ho Cao Viet for a summer scholarship in Thailand for 2 weeks. During that time, lecturers and staff at IEC also supported us a lot.

In addition, at the end of the first year, I was chosen as the class representative along with students from other faculties and departments to offer incense and flowers to President Ho Chi Minh at Nha Rong Wharf and received the title of “Outstanding youngster in following Uncle Ho’s testament in 2018”.

In the second year, at the opening ceremony of the new school year, I was informed that I would receive a certificate of merit and an award from the university for having the best academic performance in the 2017-2018 school year.

In that second year, my friends and I focused more on studying to prepare for the transfer to the second stage, so we rarely participated in other activities. We started to have more assignments, field trips organized by the university or on our own to complete the assignments. I also focused on preparing for the IELTS exam to qualify for the transfer as well as to have a better English foundation for the last two years.

At the end of the second year, my class was informed about the essay and interview rounds for 2 half-tuition scholarships and 1 full- tuition scholarship for the 2 last years in South Korea. I just joined hoping I could get 50% scholarship if I got luck, because my English wasn’t good compared to others. In the first round, I wrote an essay on the topic given by the university: “What traits do you have that will enhance your education and future employment?” In the second round, I was quite nervous because the interview was conducted face-to-face and entirely in English. The two interviewers were very lovely. They noticed my nervousness and tried to encourage me… After about 2 weeks, when I was taking the final exam in Financial Accounting, I received the results. I was overwhelmed to find out that I got the 100% tuition scholarship, because I had never thought of that. And I was even more surprised when I and the runner-up were only 0.1 point apart…

After completing all the subjects and getting the IELTS degree, my friends and I started preparing documents for the transfer. I didn’t have any problems with the application process. I just needed to prepare what the Institute required and submitted them. I didn’t need to do anything until the day I went to the Consulate to submit the documents prepared by IEC and wait for the results. At the completion of the 2 school years, a small ceremony was held to award scholarships and complete transfer procedures, as well as reward students. I continued to attain the title of the best student of the intake! Besides, the institute also organized a small farewell party for students, parents and the university…

So a half of the journey has passed. We continued it but in another university.

Photo: Tongmyong University, South Korea

On August 25th, 2019, we were officially on the road. Just after we got off Gimhae airport, Busan Tongmyong University sent a manager and a Vietnamese staff to pick us up and take us straight to the dormitory. Then we were taken to the school to complete the necessary admission procedures. Before enrolling, we had an orientation session at the beginning of the school year, we were guided about the class schedule, how to access the website to see grades, scholarships, pay tuition fees…On September 2nd, 2019, we started entering the first semester. We received a lot of helps from all the professors, lecturers, and supporting staff. Language barrier was no longer an issue with the support from Vietnamese staff here!

About learning, I have studied with many excellent professors who had impressive profiles, yet they were very good and very enthusiastic. They not only care about our learning progress, but also about their lives. We also had the opportunity to go on a field trip like the trip to the Busan Port – the 6th largest port in the world, take a cruise around the port… In addition, the faculty also organized academic competitions like the International Logistics Festival 2019! It included 3 competing categories and our class could participate in 2/3 of the categories: group competition, and individual competition in which you had to use another language (for example, a Vietnamese students were not allowed to give presentations in Vietnamese or English, but in Korean, Chinese, etc. Let me tell you, the prize was very high in value. The first prize was up to 4 million VND for each student). I also participated in the group competition and very fortunately my group (including me and 2 other boys) won the first prize. Besides the competitions organized by the faculty, I also participated in another competition in the university. That was a collaboration of Vietnamese-Korean students to discuss and plan out marketing strategies for the products of companies that the university proposed. Thanks to this competition, I made friends with some Korean friends, who took me out to eat Korean specialties and go sightseeing… Also fortunately, my team won the third prize and it’s worth up to 10 million VND. In addition, I also joined a fancy party to receive the prize…

Besides studying, my friends and I could also participate in fun activities and other cultural exchanges. Every September, Tongmyong University will have a school festival. It often takes place in 3 days on a very large scale. The week before the festival, there are many activities in the school yard such as selling old clothes, playing games organized by clubs. Water carts or street food are allowed to be sold on campus. On the 3 days of the festival, there are different singing activities each day, just like concerts; When I attended the festival, there were famous rappers performed, I was not a fan of rap, so I didn’t know who they were. But my male classmates danced along enthusiastically and my female friends lost their voice for screaming. In addition, there were food stalls sold by student unions included those by Vietnamese students… If you ever come to Tongmyong University, you definitely have to attend the university festival once. It’s very hard to forget! However, due to the epidemic, the university didn’t organize it on my last year.

Our class also participated in another activity with Korean friends. It was an international exchange activity: having a tour and taking photos at every food destinations. The university covered all the food expenses (this is not a small amount of money).

Besides, I also participated in a picnic to the island to learn how to make traditional Korean cakes Korean and to dig potatoes…There were also volunteer activities such as picking up trash. We were then invited by the lecturers to eat super delicious beef rib soup.

Ah, most recently, I participated in the contest of creating YouTube videos for marketing activities of Tongmyong University and also won the first prize! If you wanted to know what I and my 2 teammates created, please search for Tongmyong University TU Global channel (my team name is TUS team).

Due to the impact of the Covid-19 epidemic, the university don’t organize as many programs as before, which is a bit of a pity. But fortunately, I also had the opportunity to experience all the outstanding activities above. The time I write this sharing is exactly one month before the end of this 4-year journey, I myself have experienced a roller coaster of emotions and have also grown a lot. Finally, I would like to thank all the professors, lecturers, brothers, sisters, friends and family who have supported me on this journey to the future…

Busan, May 23, 2021″

News: Mai Pham Bao Nhi and IEC