From Mu Cang Chai to RMIT Vietnam

From Mu Cang Chai to RMIT Vietnam

From Mu Cang Chai, a rural district in the northwest region of Vietnam best known for its rice terrace fields, a petite H’mong girl has gone the extra mile to be a newbie at one of the renowned international universities in the country.

Alt Text is not present for this image, Taking dc:title 'news-1-from-mu-cang-chai-to-rmit-vietnam' H’mong student Hang Thi Ly (pictured right) received the Opportunity Scholarship at a recent ceremony taking place at RMIT Vietnam's Hanoi campus.

Hang Thi Ly, one of the six students who were awarded an RMIT Vietnam’s Opportunity Scholarship in 2022, still couldn’t believe she made it to the Asian campus of an Australian university, the one she was reluctant to apply for just a year ago.

The Scholarship Offer email arrived in her inbox when there was no one at home. Ly saved the news and presented it as a special birthday gift for her grandmother.

It lit up her whole family and the small village of Mu Cang Chai in Yen Bai province.

“My whole family burst with happiness,” Ly shared. “Everyone I met congratulated me for being awarded the scholarship and going to an international university.”

Ly was born into a poor farming family with five children in Trong Tong village. Her household income mainly comes from rice cultivation and cattle-breeding.

“As a child who grew up in one of the poorest areas of Vietnam, I worked very hard to help my family make ends meet,” she said.

“My siblings and I have had to study at schools or institutions that offer tuition fee support.”

Ly successfully passed the national university entrance exam two years ago but missed the opportunity to study at Vietnam National University due to her family financial situation. Instead, she undertook a course in sales and marketing at REACH, a local NGO specialising in vocational training and employment for Vietnam’s most disadvantaged youth, so that she can join the workforce immediately to support her family. 

Alt Text is not present for this image, Taking dc:title 'news-2-from-mu-cang-chai-to-rmit-vietnam' Hang Thi Ly (the fifth from right) attended a charity event during her time at REACH.

“However, her dream of pursuing higher education has never been at ease,” said the Vice Principal of the Mien Tay ethnic minority boarding high school Ms Nguyen Thi Thanh Thuy who has been Ly’s companion and a witness of her growth throughout the years.

“I still remember Ly’s shining eyes when talking about her desire to get that scholarship [RMIT - REACH Opportunity Scholarship] and her determination to achieve it,” Ms Thuy said.

“She’s an ethnic minority little girl with such a strong will and warm heart. She always believes in herself and looks for every opportunity to rise and improve herself.”

Ms Thuy believed that if Ly’s dream comes true, she will bring great change and be a positive role model for many young generations in this highlands region.

Best known for its breathtaking terrace rice fields, Mu Cang Chai attracts a lot of tourists every year. Seeing the great potentials of the land, Ly wants to bring back the knowledge, skills, experiences, and even the English fluency that she is going to acquire through RMIT Vietnam’s Bachelor of Tourism and Hospitality Management program to contribute to the transformation and growth of her dear homeland.

“I want to build a homestay and provide tours that associate with the culture of H’mong people and organise English classes for poor students and single women so they can have more job opportunities,” she said.

First time being on a plane travelling more than 1,700 km from home to Ho Chi Minh City, Ly was nervous yet positive about what the future holds for her.

“I believe working hard will pay off,” Ly said. “One of the philosophies that I hold dear to my heart is to try to be a better version of myself than yesterday, so if every day I do things a little bit better, I will eventually achieve the desired results.”

Ly is currently undertaking English courses in preparation for the higher education degree commencing next year.

Story: Ha Hoang

  • Scholarships

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