Ly Minh Tu was an English Major at Lao Cai High School for the Gifted. After receiving a full scholarship to Wellesley College in America, Tu was faced with a tough choice between Wellesley and Fulbright University Vietnam.
Going to college in America was a set path for Tu, who spent some time in the United States as an exchange student more than two years ago. Yet, the admission offer at Fulbright made her reconsider her decision. Eventually, Tu decided to enroll at Fulbright.
Tu was chosen to participate in the Co-Design year and is now part of the inaugural class of 2019-2023 at Fulbright University.
In twelfth grade, while my peers were struggling with schoolwork, extra courses and an overwhelming amount of cramming for the exams, I held in my hands a golden ticket that almost guaranteed a bright future for me. My education path in the US was well laid out, and all that remained was to count down the days before returning to that country.
The day I received Fulbright’s letter of admission was the first time in my school years I had to reconsider my choices. The only path I ever knew suddenly forked. On the left, continue to America and the life I expected. Turn right, and see what possibilities Fulbright offers, “Co-Design Year” and beyond.
A lot of people asked me: “What makes a university in Vietnam, which is not even fully structured, worth considering against a good American one? “. Studying abroad seems to have long become a destination, rather than a proud journey. Yet for me, success cannot be defined by whether I have studied in Vietnam or abroad, but instead whether I learn and develop myself in my chosen environment.
Fulbright, with all the resources that it has, carries the potential to become a university with academic quality and environment on par with any foreign university. Objectively, Fulbright seemed to have everything I was looking for in a place I would call home in the following years: Fresh, dynamic, excellent teaching standards and most importantly, offering networking opportunities that I would have to strive very hard for, studying abroad or not.
Among the letters of admission, Fulbright’s stood out the most. I remember reading the first lines in that letter, saying “How can we build the best university for the students, for this century, for Vietnam?”. With just one question, Fulbright made me completely reevaluate my decision-making process, and my guess is I was not the only one.
So many thoughts, but only one choice. I believe Vietnam and Vietnamese students deserve a reliable, trustworthy, and prideworthy study environment. And if one day this dream does come true, I will love to have been a part of that process.
Beginning at Fulbright is such a familiar, yet different experience. The innovative learning model, focused on personal thinking and self-development, is something I have long acquainted myself with since my time in the US. But in a Vietnamese context, it all became so new.
I could see plenty of aspects of my country that I hadn’t seen before and meet so many people who all had faith in a brilliant prospect for Vietnamese education. We, the “Co-designers” ourselves are astonished at how fast Fulbright University Vietnam was formed and took shape.
Even though there are certain things that new schools like Fulbright cannot match up to other old and prestigious institutes, every students’ opinion and idea is appreciated.
We are encouraged to participate in extra-curricular activities, take up internships to gain real life experience, and take part in projects that can bring about positive values to the community. At Fulbright, no opinion is overlooked, everything that we bring up will either be “dissected” until the point is made or receive support from the school to make it “come to life”.
However, it is Fulbright’s value of thinking that gives us, the “Co-designers”, the inspiration and motivation to come to school every day. Learning without “studying”, Fulbright’s pedagogy is not limited in traditional classes, instead, it takes place everywhere, from the Faculty’s room, the shared space, the cafeteria, to the museums, the Reunification Palace and Hue – the dreamy ancient city.
The openness and practicality in sharing and gaining knowledge helped the students, myself included, to be free from any boundary and to comfortably take in the information, come to our own conclusions and find the philosophies that we believe in. To me and all other Vietnamese students, this is an opportunity that everyone should be given at least once in their lifetime.
Studying at Fulbright is a choice, but one that I will never regret. Fulbright has given me so much more than just a place to learn and gain knowledge, it is also a home where relationships are formed and maintained, where respectable life values are always supported.
Apply to Fulbright, guys! Class of 2024 awaits you!
Ly Minh Tu – Class of 2023