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Staying connected: Truong Tuyet (Vietnam)

»The Link spoke to Tuyet just over three years after she left Ireland with an MSc (Agr) in Environmental Resource Management from UCD.

Truong Tuyet sitting on a stone wall in rural Ireland

When I got the fellowship in 2010, I was working  at Thai Nguyen University of Agriculture and Forestry as a lecturer while participating in some projects on poverty reduction and environmental management at the Agricultural and Forestry Research and Development Centre for the Northern Mountain Region.

I chose the course at UCD to improve my knowledge of environmental management and I’m very proud that I did. It has provided me with a wide range of skills to tackle any research problems.  I learnt how to manage my time and get the best result from the scheduling. What is important, besides knowledge, is critical thinking where I am led to  seeing connections of issues and becoming more systematic.

Back in Vietnam at the end of 2011, I resumed my work as a lecturer at TUAF and have enjoyed the confidence that the Master’s degree has given me. I can share my knowledge, my experience and all of my passion for the subject with my students.

My thesis has been published in a Vietnamese journal and it has also passed the initial screening for an international journal. I’m waiting for feedback from the reviewers. I have also worked on  seven other articles since my return.

In 2014, I got the first prize for part of my thesis when taking part in a National Youth Science and Technology Conference of Universities and Colleges of  Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. I have also been awarded in a teaching methodology competition at my university. It has been very exciting to me to be able to focus on teaching and researching, and  I feel that I’m going the right way and am doing my best to contribute to my country and to help my students.

I have just begun studying for a PhD in Australia on the impact of climate change on biodiversity in the Northern Mountain Region of Vietnam, for which I received an Australia Awards scholarship. After finishing, I want to go back to my country to continue my job, being a better teacher and a researcher. I hope to develop a network of researchers on climate change and biodiversity in the Northern Mountain Region. Right now, in Vietnam and especially in the region, there is a lack of scientists and researchers in this area and I’d like my research to help push it up.

When I first came to Ireland I was a bit worried about whether I would have ever get used to it, but from the first day the Irish people were so warm to make me feel at home. It is a strong memory in my mind. Language was the other big adjustment. People speak too fast! Sometimes, when I went to class, I felt left behind because I couldn’t understand the lectures or the assignments.  The study methods were also challenges for me to overcome at first. Everything was new for the first semester, but afterwards I felt much more confident.  

Irish memories will remain in me as the joyful moments: a pint of Guinness and listening to traditional music, which is just really beautiful. I wish I could enjoy a pint of Guinness there again! I really loved the special green and peaceful parts of Ireland with the sheep grazing on pasture and long stone walls, and brilliant natural landscapes of Ireland such as The Burren and The Cliffs of Moher. A part of my heart will always be there, which is why  still I am thinking of Ireland even now I’m in Australia.