A campus with lawns and trees, eye-catching buildings and growth of industry-relevant courses: that’s what’s new since four RMIT Vietnam staff joined the university 10 years ago.
Senior HR Administration Officer Truong Thuy Ngoc, English Educators Michael Knibbs and Brendan Smith, and Student Recruitment Manager Nguyen Thuy Minh Chau have been awarded long service leave for their commitment.
Having arrived when the institution was in its infancy, they have seen it mature markedly over the time they have worked there.
Ms Truong was originally in charge of arranging visas, work permits and resident cards for foreigners working at the Saigon South campus.
“When I joined RMIT Vietnam 10 years ago there was only one building and far fewer staff and students,” she said.
The University now has five major buildings at Saigon South, the Handi Resco building in Hanoi and Pham Ngoc Thach in the heart of Saigon.
This growth reflects the increase in its course offerings.
Mr Smith, a business journalist in New Zealand before he and his family made Vietnam their permanent home, said the University started only with English courses and that the increase in programs has been significant.
“The courses and the way we teach them help students to express their creativity much more than in the past,” he said.
“For example, students who want to express themselves through fashion and design can now do so.
“I teach level 7 English students right at the point of being ready to join a degree program. Most are talking about business plans and careers – we have some wide-ranging discussions about their future careers and I find that part of my job very interesting.”
According to Mr Knibbs, the development of RMIT Vietnam has not slowed over the years.
The constant influx of new courses, new ways of teaching and new international staff keeps the institution in motion.
“The whole institution is in a constant state of change,” he said.
One constant is RMIT Vietnam’s multicultural environment. Ms Truong emphasises this to people who are thinking of working at the university.
“I tell them it’s an international university where you can improve your English because that’s the language spoken,” she said.
“It’s not a stressful work environment but you need to be self-motivated to improve your work skills.”
Ms Nguyen, who began 10 years ago as Priority Enrolment Coordinator and is now Student Recruitment Manager with 14 staff, said that today people must compete to get a job at RMIT Vietnam because the university is seen as a top employer.
“But when you work here you will love it: it’s a safe, friendly working environment and there’s opportunity to learn and re-learn constantly.
“I tell people who want to work here that there will be a lot to learn to improve themselves.”
According to Mr Smith, RMIT Vietnam is a place of opportunity for students and potential staff.
“I tell friends who are considering applying to work here to apply, to put forward their abilities because there are so many opportunities at this university,” he said.
“Whether they’re an English teacher or have academic qualifications in the business field, I tell them the benefits of working here are plentiful.”
Story: Sharon Webb