In Vietnam today, the foreign scholarship chase begins early
August 12th, 2010
What’s the best way to ensure that your brilliant child can win a scholarship to study at a foreign university? These days, reports Saigon Tiep Thi, many Vietnamese parents start to prepare their sons and daughters for study abroad while they are still small.
Thom, who works for a state agency in Hanoi, related that she was startled speechless when her daughter scored only 4/10 on a high school literature test, even though the girl had high ability in literature. Thom called her daughter’s teacher to ask why, and learned that her daughter got the bad mark simply because the essay written by her daughter did not follow the form of the model essay provided by the teacher.
“It’s a big problem in Vietnamese education,” Thom says. “Teachers do not encourage creativeness, instead they try to force them to do exactly as they do. Thus my daughter got a bad mark on her essay when she did not parrot the example essay.
“That incident gave me a shock and after I discussed it with my husband, I decided that my daughter should study abroad,” Thom explains.
Thom looked for information on training opportunities for her daughter in foreign countries on Internet. “I found that some community colleges in the US Northwest accept foreign students that have not finished high school. It costs $15,000 to $17,000 annually to study at these schools. My daughter and I finally chose one of them and then I went to the Institute of International Education (IIE) to verify that this was a good school,” T said.
(IIE, a US nonprofit organization, has an office at C9, Giang Vo street, Hanoi.)
After that, T’s daughter flew to the US to study English at the community college while she continued to seek financial aid. Finally she was successful; she obtained a scholarship to study at an American university even though she had not finished high school in Vietnam.
Meanwhile, a 10th grade student of Vo Truong Toan High School in HCM City is about to fly to Singapore to study. He has obtained an A*star, a kind of scholarship awarded by the Singaporean Government to bright young students from the other ASEAN countries.
The boy’s father frequently goes abroad on business and has been impressed by the quality of foreign education. Therefore, since the boy was still small, he and Oanh, the boy’s mother, have been intent on finding a way for their son to study abroad. To prepare the child for this, Oanh taught him life skills, helped improve his foreign language skill and provided him knowledge about the cultures of some foreign countries.
Oanh says she can afford to send the child abroad to attend any training course she wants. However, she encouraged the boy to seek a scholarship so he need not rely on his parents’ money.
“When my son was an 8th grader, after he attended a meeting with overseas students, he said to me ‘Mama, I am determined to fulfill your dream,’” Oanh recounts.
Thousands of participants have signed onto a two year-old online parents’ forum that’s devoted to discussion of ways to help children seek scholarships for study abroad. Even mothers whose children are only six or seven are interested in the topic.
A member of the forum who uses the nickname ‘mecualong’ (Long’s mommy) wrote that she has cherished the hope of sending her child abroad to study since he was in 2nd grade. She encouraged her boy to study English and Japanese. The boy’s report cards show very good achievements. In eighth grade he moved to a top Hanoi school, still intent on learning what he needs to secure a scholarship to study abroad.
For many parents, when their child lands a scholarship to study abroad, not only is their financial burden eased, but also they can believe that their child is sure to succeed in life.
Laida, a member of the webtretho online forum, stresses that that it is necessary to draw up a detailed plan for study abroad and implement the plan as soon as possible. Before going abroad, says Laida, children need to be equipped with good foreign language skills and good life skills, so they are able to live independently.