Nguyen Thi Hong Yen 1

Nguyen Thi Hong Yen

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Hong Kong Baptist University

Master of Arts (MA) in International Journalism Studies

Work & interships

Employer: Hinrich Foundation

Awards & citations

Hinrich Foundation Global Trade Leaders Scholarship (2017)

Previous university & major(s)

University of Social Sciences and Humanities – International Relations (2015)

Scholar status

New scholar – Class of 2017

Read my story here

My first thought when I learned I was awarded this scholarship

“Yay, I did it!” I exclaimed, thinking how my dream of winning a scholarship to pursue an MA in a foreign country had finally come true. After that, I called my Mom and best friends to tell them the wonderful news.

Why I’m interested in trade

When I was a student, I was anti-trade. While studying social sciences, I believed that trade caused many social issues such as inequality, social gaps and political dependence.

After graduating, I worked for two years in the communications industry, which allowed me to have a better understanding of the world and realize that trade is actually the backbone of the economy. The exchange of goods and services across national borders is an inevitable trend in the context of globalization. In addition, economic policies of individual countries and international economic relations both have great relevance to sustainable development. As long as each nation is aware of trade’s adverse effects, its benefits outweigh the disadvantages.

What this scholarship opportunity means to me

The Hinrich Foundation scholarship will open many doors for me. More than the financial benefit it offers, this scholarship will provide me with career opportunities and give me the chance to gain contacts from across the world. For all those things, I am very grateful.

The international experiences I’m most looking forward to

Experiencing Hong Kong cuisine and local culture. Since my classmates are from other countries, I look forward to the activities that will encourage us to learn more about each other’s cultures.

What I’ll bring to my dorm to remind me of home and why

I will bring some food from my hometown to share with my classmates. I will also store as many pictures of my family and friends on my phone to remind me of home.

My favorite hobbies and other interests

Watching movies based on true stories. Each scene is not a scene from someone’s imagination, but a scene from the life of someone who actually lived. Those types of movies also inspire me to learn more about history.

My proudest achievement so far in life

Being one of the 160 young Vietnamese selected to participate in the Fulbright Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Economics Teaching Program in 2015. Thanks to this experience, I had the chance to meet President Obama when he visited Ho Chi Minh City.

He said, “Find something that you care deeply about because the path for everybody is different. Don’t worry so much about what you want to be, worry more about what you want to do. If you are passionate about your work, then naturally over time, you will rise and people will admire and respect what you’ve done.”

His words inspired me to find my own path and pursue my success and happiness.

The largest obstacle I’ve overcome so far in life

The time when I graduated from school and tried to discover who I was and what would make me happy. The hardest part was just knowing where to begin. I thought, “How should I define myself? By my career, my income, where I live or my relationship?”. Each definition confined me into specific assumptions about who I was and what I could do.

I overcame this struggle when I decided to take the opportunities that came my way. I realized that I would never know what I wanted to do if I didn’t have the courage to try new things. Realizing this encouraged me to take my first full-time job in public relations, which allowed me to understand myself better and get the chance to work with new and wonderful people.

My takeaway from that difficult time: always value opportunities and give yourself a chance.

My future goals and aspirations

Finishing my MA with a good grade, which is my first goal for the next two years. After that, I want to be a professional and motivate others by sharing with them what I’ve learned and experienced.

How I plan to give back and help others

Becoming an expert in the industry and sharing my knowledge. I also plan to become a guest lecturer in a university to help students realize their passions and pursue their dreams relentlessly.

Personal statement

Becoming a scholar is like winning the lottery. It opens many doors to the future. Now that I am on my way to becoming an international student, I have a new goal in mind. That goal is to become an expert in the field of media or communications.

I say this because I have always believed that if you desperately want something, the universe will conspire to make it happen. All you need is courage to pursue your goals and choose to view the world through the right lenses.

Story about Nguyen Thi Hong Yen

Back in December 2015, I completed my degree in international relations. While in school, I had the chance to participate in international youth programs.

In 2013, I was fortunate to be the youngest Vietnamese delegate in Global Politics Summer School, which was a joint event of the Center for Global Politics, Royal University Phnom Penh and Vietnam National University. I was also among the 160 Vietnamese representatives selected to join the Fulbright YSEALI Economics Teaching Program, which gave me the rare opportunity to meet President Barack Obama.

After school, I worked and honed my skills in various sectors including e-commerce, PR, information technology and food and beverage.

With all those experiences, I have developed a curiosity for different industries and cultures, driving me to participate in experiences that give me the chance to learn something new. I value every opportunity in life and believe that nothing can be done without self-confidence.