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Woman from Northwest region passionate about agriculture

 

AAS awardees at Adelaide University

Born and raised in the Northwest mountainous region, Ms. Bui Thi Hang understands the difficulties faced by highlands farmers and was inspired to study agriculture to contribute to improving the livelihoods of people in her homeland.

Ms. Hang is an Australia Awards Scholar recipient studying a Master's program in global food and agricultural economics at the University of Adelaide, South Australia. Before going to Australia, Hang worked as an agricultural researcher at the Northwest Agro-Forestry Research and Development Center - under the Northern Mountainous Agriculture & Forestry Science Institute (NOMAFSI). She wanted to improve her personal and professional skills to be better able to contribute to the development of the agricultural sector of the Northwest region and Vietnam.

According to Hang, The Northwest region of Vietnam has great potential for production of temperate vegetables and fruits thanks to its climatic and soil conditions. However, since most local producers use traditional practices and do not follow regulations on quality assurance and food safety, the productivity and quality of vegetables and fruits are still low and do not meet market requirements. The weak links between farmers, markets and value chain stakeholders further adds to low productivity, resulting in low income of farmer households.

Bui Thi Hang 2

Hang realised that her limited professional skills, especially in the value chain, hampered her from contributing her full potential to the programs and projects she participated in. Therefore, she decided to apply for an Australia Awards Scholarship to pursue a master's degree in agricultural economics, to enrich her professional knowledge and further her personal development.

Journey to win a prestigious scholarship and new experience in Australia

Hang had long dreamed of the Australia Awards Scholarship that now offers her an opportunity to study and live in a beautiful country. She was thrilled to find out she passed the application assessment and interview rounds, then the IELTS test. And now that’s she is in Australia, Hang is ready for new experiences and challenges.

Hang shared that what she likes the most about Australia is the friendly and dynamic learning environment, where classmates are always ready to support. “I received great support from Ms. Niranjala, the school's academic staff, who helped me to make student card, bank cards, register for subjects and prioritize my studies. She also talked to my academic introductory course teacher about my Trimester load so I can be less stressed and get support from the teachers when I need," Hang shared.

Hang was also supported by other students who provided her with accommodation and travel instructions, and other things that she needed to set up a new life in Australia. However, Hang advised that, in addition to pre-departure information provided by the Australia Awards program, new scholars should get information from the websites of the Australian Government, the state and the school that they will be located, to prepare well before departure and to be able to participate fully in life in Australia upon arrival.

There will always be someone by your side

The day Hang started the her semester, she felt overwhelmed when opening her email account and seeing hundreds of unread emails. She started to feel the pressure of studying. “This was partly because I was too busy at work in Vietnam before leaving for Australia, and partly because I was worried that I could not keep up with the new way of teaching and learning here,” Hang shared.

From her own experiences, Hang’s advice to future Australia Awards scholars is that handover of work well ahead of the school intake will allow for more time to familiarise with the Australian way of teaching and learning. “The day I finished the International Academic Program (IAP) course to spend all my time on academic subjects, was the day I started to breathe easier and enjoy life in Australia more. I communicate with other international students so my English has improved very quickly,” said Hang.

Despite experiencing study pressure, as all students do, Hang always feels supported by Adelaide University. The representative of the Student’s Office regularly checks in with students to ensure timely support. Every month, the school organises events for students such as study tours or seminars to improve soft skills such as presentations, managing 'homesick' feelings, and building relationships.

“What I want to emphasise is that you will be supported and taken care of very well. Just remember to get all necessary information before your departure, study hard and enjoy life, you will have wonderful experience in the land of Kangaroos!” Hang sent her message to future Australian Awards scholars.

 

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