Availing of a Government of Ireland scholarship to study at Master’s level is an important stepping stone to a dream career, says Vietnamese student Than Thi Hai
Thanh Thi Hai Dang is a postgraduate student studying on the Master of Business (Marketing Stream) in Waterford.
Thanh Thi Hai, who had studied her undergraduate degree in marketing at Can Tho University (CTU) in Vietnam, is a recipient of the Government of Ireland International Education Scholarships (GOI-IES) scheme.
Before I moved to Ireland I: I graduated with Bachelor's Degree in Marketing from Can Tho University (Vietnam) in 2018. Then I worked full-time in sales for more than two years before pursuing my Master in Business Program (Marketing Stream) at WIT.
Honestly, my two working years flew so fast because I got stuck in the repeated, monotonous work cycle that I could not get rid of. I finally realised that my work-life was so imbalanced, and it was ruining me badly. This is not what I am expecting and looking for. Thus, I decided to quit the job to keep up studying at Master's level as a get-away solution to find, understand, and upgrade myself. And becoming a GOI-IES (Government of Ireland - International Education Scholarships) scholar not only supports me financially but also grants me huge opportunities to make my dreams come true.
I chose to study in Ireland because:
I chose to pursue marketing programmes in Ireland because of the prestigious, high-quality programmes offered by Irish universities/institutes that will help me keep updated with new knowledge and ever-changing trends and collaborate and carry out projects with like-minded classmates. Besides, many head offices of multinational corporations such as Microsoft, Google, Apple, or Facebook (Meta) are based in Ireland to manage European branches. Digital marketing is recently one of the most emerging, flourishing fields in the Irish economy. I believe this is a valuable chance for me to open my mind, learn and apply accumulated on-hand knowledge in the Vietnamese market after graduation. Finally, I missed an opportunity to visit Cliffs of Moher in Ireland, so I have always wanted to be here once in my lifetime. Along with the reasonable living costs in Waterford, I was so impressed and interested in the syllabus, especially the international trip (in Belgium) where MBS students would have a great chance to visit European Commission Centre De Conferences, European Council, Parliamentarium while studying about the European Union (EU) and European Commission (EC). That's why I chose WIT for my postgraduate programme.
Some of the highlights of my experience in Waterford include:
Friendly people, and peaceful landscape, and "unpredictable" weather are three outstanding points in Waterford that made my journey more wonderful and memorable. I feel warm and belong to this place whenever seeing friendly smiles and hearing "Morning, how are ya?" from strangers on the street. All lecturers and staff at WIT are kind and supportive whenever I ask for help. My MBS (Master in Business) group is diverse, with students from different backgrounds, nationalities, ages, etc. This helped me easily integrate and gave me precious chances to make new friends, expand my networking, exchange culture, language, etc.
The most interesting cultural differences for me are:
As an Asian student, I would say there are many cultural differences in language, food, drinks...that we might deal with. However, I think coffee culture and nightlife activities are different from my country Vietnam. For example, I was shocked knowing that most shopping centres and coffee shops will close around 6-7 pm while most shops will be in the busiest, most crowded time at night in my country. Besides, Irish phrases and slangs (‘grand’, ‘craic’, ‘gas’, ‘sure look’, etc) are interesting, although I got trouble understanding them at the beginning. Last but not least, drinking Guinness (which gradually became my new hobby), and diverse pub/ bar chains also differentiate and distinguish Irish culture from mine.
How I benefited from moving to Waterford from my home country:
Moving to Waterford from Vietnam is a big step out of my comfort zone that I will never regret. Besides studying in an international, high-quality environment to upskill and upgrade my knowledge. I am lucky to have my second family in Waterford. My Irish landlord (Pauline) is friendly and kind; I have a new best friend (Linh) who is also a GOI-IES recipient, a wonderful housemate to share our "gap year" Masters journey together. My lovely big sister Đan always supports, takes care of and connects me with other Vietnamese and international groups. I am thankful for all the new opportunities and people I met that made my journey meaningful and perfect.
My advice for international students considering studying here:
1. Living expenses in Waterford are pretty affordable compared to other cities. If you are still worried about finance, you can apply for a WIT academic scholarship, GOI-IES (Government of Ireland - International Education Scholarships), or IAF (Irish Aid Fellowships) (for more details, you can search on the International section of the website. As an international student, you can also work part-time (20 hours/ week) or full-time on holiday (40 hours/ week), and there are various jobs offerings in Waterford.
2. Be ready for the unpredictable weather! Having a waterproof, windproof coat will be helpful because umbrellas do not work well here.
3. If you decide to study at WIT, let's find accommodation ASAP, right after getting your admission letter, because dorms and housing are fully booked quickly every semester. Wishing you good luck, and see you somewhere at WIT!