A student with low vision to add ‘feeling’ to tourism experience

A student with low vision to add ‘feeling’ to tourism experience

Nguyen Thi Hong Nhung’s aspiration is to create an inclusive travel experience for those who have visual conditions, from the knowledge and skills she will acquire through the Bachelor of Tourism and Hospitality program.

Alt Text is not present for this image, Taking dc:title 'opportunity-scholarship-nguyen-thi-hong-nhung-1' RMIT Vietnam’s Opportunity Scholarship recipient in 2023, Nguyen Thi Hong Nhung

Nhung is one of RMIT Vietnam’s Opportunity Scholarship recipients this year.

Born prematurely, Nhung experienced visual complications which resulted in a significant decline of her vision.

Yet, she is not discouraged by the obstacles but rather motivated by the passion to show that nothing is impossible if you have a clear goal and a strong will.

At 12 years old, Nhung left her hometown in Ba Ria Province for Ho Chi Minh City where she started living independently. She stayed at a shelter for children with visual conditions and attended regular schools.

She made the most of her childhood by engaging in various social activities and travelling opportunities, which exposed her to the tourism industry where Nhung identified a gap in providing a holistic experience for those with conditions like her.

“I had a chance to take part in tours, including audiobook tours, sponsored by Saigontourist when I was young.

“I also enjoyed travelling while competing in domestic and international sport tournaments, including winning two gold medals in the 100 meters and 200 meters sprint at the Asian Youth Para Games in Dubai in 2017.

Alt Text is not present for this image, Taking dc:title 'opportunity-scholarship-nguyen-thi-hong-nhung-2' Nhung (left) won 100 meters and 200 meters sprint Gold medals at the Asian Youth Para Games in Dubai in 2017.

"But I was never fully satisfied with those experiences because I could not see the scenery for myself.

"Besides the historical and cultural information that tourists usually get when visiting a place, we need descriptions of images, colours, space and so on to visualise the scene," Nhung explained.

After graduating from high school, her eyesight seriously deteriorated and she had to put her study aside for in-depth treatment.

“Those two gap years turned out to be a good chance for me to reflect on which direction I wanted to take in life.

“My aspiration of creating a tourism model where people with visual impairments can have inclusive access to all tourism experiences stayed the same and became my quest,” said Nhung.

Nhung came back to vibrant Ho Chi Minh City looking for a job and in search of a university where she could realise her dream.

The Opportunity Scholarship that RMIT Vietnam offers to students with a disability and/or financial disadvantage annually, opened the door for Nhung to not only access international higher education, but also get closer to what she has longed for.

“If it wasn’t for RMIT, I would have postponed my study for a couple years or more to make ends meet and to save enough money for the university journey.

“Finding a university that provides equitable learning services to students with special needs like RMIT Vietnam is another challenge,” said Nhung.

Alt Text is not present for this image, Taking dc:title 'opportunity-scholarship-nguyen-thi-hong-nhung-3' Nhung (left) and her friends in a museum visit.

The excitement of being admitted into a program where she can learn how the tourism and hospitality industry works has remained the same.

Being the founder and an active member of the “Blind people live independently” project of Sao Mai Center for the Blind, Nhung was praised for her desire to learn and develop.

Deputy Director of Sao Mai, Mr Nguyen Manh Hung said Nhung was an important member of the project who directly planned and coordinated programs which helped leverage the confidence, independence and capacity of people with visual impairments.

“With what Nhung has been doing to bring more interesting and inclusive travel experiences to visually impaired tourists, I believe she deserves the RMIT scholarship and will make an impactful contribution to the community and especially those with vision conditions,” said Mr Hung.

Story: Ha Hoang

04 December 2023


  • Tourism & Hospitality
  • Scholarships

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