Dobrich, February 23, 2019
Today, on a special day, I want to write a few lines about my living and studying life in the country called “The Land of Roses” – beautiful and poetic Bulgaria.
A month ago, my family took me to Noi Bai International Airport, prepared all the procedures, packed my luggage, and at about 4 pm on the same day my sisters and I in the Vietnam delegation took luggage, proceeded to enter the plane. You may ask what feelings I had at that time. Two words only: Relaxed and calm. It is because after a short period of time to prepare the documents required by Varna University of Management (abbreviated as VUM), arrange the time to participate in the interview, submit documents for immigration procedures; I can feel relaxed and calm after times of anxiety waiting for results: I didn’t know whether my procedures were ok or whether I needed to add anything. How could I get things done by deadline? I was worried about the luggage I prepared; was it enough for the time I was away from home, not just 1 or 2 days, but 1 semester. I was then worried about getting used to the new environment, making new friends…; I am relaxed and calm now because I am here in Bulgaria – The Land of Roses, experiencing international student life at VUM – a school in Europe with many remarkable achievements globally, especially the Erasmus + scholarship program of the European Union.
Talking a little about this scholarship: Erasmus + is a program with a total sum of € 14.7 billion funded by the European Union, for education, youth and sports training. Erasmus + (Erasmus: EuRopean community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Student) includes current programs such as Lifelong Learning Program (Erasmus, Leonardo da Vinci, Comenius, Grundtvig), Youth in Action and 5 international joint activities programs (Erasmus Mundus, Tempus, Alfa, Edulink and the activities program with developed countries). Of course, to pursue the scholarship, we need to meet the following requirements: studentship of a partner university; being in second year or later with GPA of 3.0 or more; obtaining International English Proficiency Certificate equivalent to B1 level or above; motivated to participate in the student mobility and consistent with the criteria of the host university, … Besides the standards, student benefits when receiving scholarships are also very attractive: we are granted flight tickets, tuition, living allowance, …
Recalling the time when I learned about the Erasmus + Mobility, it was a miracle when I received the introduction of the program manager. After reading the scholarship information, I quickly registered and arranged time to participate in the interview round. It was an online interview for me and the students from different member schools in the same university with the representative of VUM’s international cooperation department. The interview took place within about an hour. I was impressed by one question: “What makes you want to join this program and what conditions can we choose you as our student?” It clearly showed one of the criteria for this scholarship: Are you a student with a goal, an orientation for yourself, and an effort to strive to achieve your goal? Is your goal consistent with VUM’s criteria?
I’m here now: Varna University of Management, Bulgaria. Our team has 7 people, from 3 large regional universities of the country: Thai Nguyen University, Hanoi National University, Hai Phong University. We got a week to settle down and get used to our accommodation and where we were going to study. We were in the Central Budget Building, Dobrich City – this place was rented by VUM for student dormitory. Fortunately, each country is arranged in a different apartment, and Vietnam is no exception. Everything in every apartment, including bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen is fully equipped, making everyone feel comfortable to study and live during the mobility period. Our university is about a kilometer away from the dormitory. Every day the students walk to school, talking merrily and watching the streets of Dobrich. I have a very special impression with VUM because the soundproofing classroom architecture is very good with full equipment. The teachers are all very excellent, not only about the professional performance but also about their very creative, engaging teaching methods. During class time, we interacted with teachers, did group exercises with friends. Especially, we were not only mobility students but also VUM’s regular students. Being able to interact with many new friends, from different countries, different colors, different cultures, … is a great opportunity to learn and improve myself.
Studying is put the first priority, but we do not forget to participate in social activities and recreation. One of the things I really like while studying at VUM is that the school is affiliated with a travel company and introduces students to many interesting tours, not only in Bulgaria but also many other areas. It is one of the great ways to promote the image of VUM and Bulgaria. Besides studying, at weekends, my Vietnamese friends and I, and even with friends from other countries, organized trips to interact, learn from each other, and enjoy student life together.
The most special and the most important thing I want to share with you is that I feel very lucky because I made the right decision to become a student of high quality undergraduate program (K14) at Thai Nguyen University of Economics & Business Administration. In order to fully develop myself, I always cultivate myself 3 things: Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes, and when studying in the high quality program of TUEBA, I always have many opportunities to develop myself comprehensively. In our curriculum there is a subject to develop personal skills (effective study skills, self-management skills, teamwork skills, skills for recruitment (writing CV, interviewing), …). We have extracurricular sessions with foreign students, and lessons with foreign teachers from the UK, USA, Australia, the Philippines. We can attend international seminars and conferences as attendees or volunteers. Moreover, we have the opportunity to participate in many great summer camps and scholarship programs. In particular, as I can study and experience life in Bulgaria, I have always been supported by my university’s management board, the program management staff, especially the staff of the International Center for Training and Study Abroad, the Department of Science – Technology and International Cooperation. They were always available to support me in a timely manner, from giving information about the program, making me motivated before I started the interview, promptly supporting me to prepare the necessary documents to submit to the host university as well as for visa procedures, immigration to Bulgaria, to friendly conversations with teachers and staff to learn their advice and experiences of studying and living in a foreign country. More fortunately, my teachers always accompany, support and remind me to keep in touch regularly and update my news.
If I were asked what lessons I received during the time. That should be the lesson about proactiveness: being proactive in talking to the teachers during the process of application, during the course of studying at VUM. If there was any need or difficulty with the university or with the study program, I should proactively contact with VUM. I proactively connected with the older brothers and sisters, as well as the brothers and sisters in the delegation to support each other prior admission and during the mobility period. I am proactively taking care of, managing and training myself, for not being in the country, but coming to another continent, away from family, close friends and teachers for a long time. Instead of being cared and worried like at home, now I need to learn to be proactive and independent of everything: from spending, living, and studying, …
I think there will be difficulties and there will be obstacles, but there are also great opportunities waiting for me ahead. I will continue to learn, continue to improve myself day by day so as not to disappoint my family, teachers, and friends and even my own efforts at least during the first years of university life.
I continue writing new pages for “Story of My life” ….
“GO MORE TO GROW MORE!”
Nong Thi Minh Thao
I enclosed some of my photos: