Interview- Session 6: Tips for winning the ERAMUS+ -Students exchange scholarships
Have a talk with Dieu Linh – a talented UEF student with a strong personality.
1. Hi Dieu Linh, I would like to congratulate you on winning the Erasmus + Scholarship. First of all, please introduce yourself a little bit to everyone.
Hello everyone, I am Linh. I am currently a student of Business Administration and Marketing, a joint program between the University of Gloucestershire (UK) and the International Institute. In addition, I am also a Marketing Automation Developer for an Australian Technology Startup. “Devil-may-care” is the best adjective to describe me. I always keep “fearless”, keep “trying” and keep “moving”, so I fearlessly applied for the Erasmus+ scholarship and other ones. Until the end of the last year, I was honored to win one of the two “tickets” to Denmark and received the full-ride scholarship for the exchange semester, along with a 70% scholarship from the University of Nottingham (UK) and a 30% scholarship from the University of Melbourne (Australia) for Master.
2. How do you get the information about the Eramus+ Scholarship?
I have known about this scholarship since I was a freshman. In the meantime, I heard a rumor that the exchange scholarship is only for third-year students with top academic achievements. Thanks to this rumor, I concentrated more on my studies and activities as well and studied harder with the aim of scoring points in my CV so that I could take advantage of any chances I got. After that, I found the Erasmus+ Community and Erasmus Mundus on Facebook where students from all corners of the world share experiences of hunting for scholarships. And thanks to keeping updating the latest news of events, scholarships on the Facebook Fan Page and Website; in September 2020, I registered to receive information about the Erasmus+ Scholarship to Denmark for Spring Semester, and I was guided carefully by seniors in the Institute of International Educational for preparing necessary documents. Before that, at the beginning of the school year, I had my eyes on the exchange scholarship Erasmus+ with the University of Cardiff Metropolitan (UK) and prepared well to be able to meet requirements, yet I hadn’t got an IELTS. And with the strong determination to “revenge”, I had a plan to get my application prepared and completed at my best. Finally, the University of UCL (University College Lillebaelt) welcomed me to the Spring Semester 2021.
3. Did you face any difficulties during the scholarship application process?
Speaking of the scholarship application process, I had to “jump through hoops” to rectify all documents a hundred times to perfect them and increase my odds of winning the scholarship as much as possible. As I remembered, I didn’t have any experience creating a CV. My very first CV, which I was about to use for applying, was 5 pages; however, fortunately, my seniors and Mr. Hoang Minh supported me wholeheartedly to help me get a professional CV. Writing a letter of motivation is also an arduous task for me, I need to show my individuality, determination, and a meaningful and clear plan but still keep my consistency and sincerity. In the process of application preparation, I consulted the experiences of the former hunters, so I learned and gained a lot of tips. And I also got a variety of great ideas to complete my profile and make it impressive. A majority of these ideas were taken from my experiences with the United Nations’ activities, and the rest was about me demonstrating my youthfulness.
Here's a tip: you should make a list and take notice of scholarship information on reliable websites to fully understand all the application requirements. You should also be aware of the expectations, uniqueness, culture of the university or even the country where you’re offered the scholarship. It is a big plus for you. In my opinion, not all scholarships aim at selecting the best student, but at those who meet the universities’ requirements and expectations. When I prepared the scholarship application, I tried my best to customize my profile so that it doesn’t only show my individuality (by answering the question “Who am I?”) but also points out the correspondence between my personality and Denmark. With a good understanding of my strengths, personality, and profound knowledge of the culture of the country where I applied for the scholarship, I eventually left the Selection Committee a big impression. Also, “honesty” is a keyword that I always bear in mind.
4. What benefits did you get when you received the scholarship?
When I was informed of being the chosen exchange student for the Spring Semester 2021, I was on cloud nine because this would be the first time I’d been to Europe, and I would get to spend time living and studying here with the sponsorship from European Union Funds and University College Lillebaelt. In addition to the financial aids, the spiritual value and experience I get to learn here are much more valuable.
I have access to the culture of a developed country with a comprehensive system from healthcare, security, social benefits, education. People living here are friendly and kind. They were willing to help me when I was in periods of adaptation. This journey brought me many chances to communicate and make a lot of friends coming from different European countries. Since then, I have had the opportunity to share more about Vietnamese culture and observe the differences in cultures. When I live far away from home, I become more independent and learn more lessons and skills such as cultural adaptation, financial management, study-health balance, and I learned to get my social circle broadened as well.
Plus, in Denmark, I took up cycling. Denmark has a bike-friendly road system and you can find numerous cyclists here. On some days, I cycle and take a 15-minute walk through the forest, listen to bird songs and enjoy my life. Here, I enjoy living in a “hygge” way; a lifestyle that promotes contentment and happiness through the way we value every simple thing in life. As a result, I created a new lifestyle that keeps me stay positive in every aspect of life, I learned to slow down, take care of everything and everyone around me. Although I live far away from home and Vietnamese dishes, I luckily have chances to try the diverse cuisine of Northern Europe, Southern Europe, the Middle East, I also learned to cook and make traditional cakes of other countries with my friends. These are my unforgettable experiences and moments.
5. Is there anything more interesting and different when you study in Denmark?
Despite the chance of studying at UCL, I spent over ⅔ of my time studying online, even in midterm or final-term exams due to the breakout of Covid 19 and applying social distancing in Denmark. I realized the first interesting thing is that the timetable is always random, which means every week, there will be different schedules on different days, no week is the same as any other week. Another thing is when studying at UCL, lecturers expect their students to have general knowledge and connection between lessons’ contents and themes; therefore, there is no boundary between lessons in class and exams. Besides, the way that UCL facilitates students to work directly, research and state solutions, create new plans for SMEs in the Hospitality segment of Denmark to do the final is great. skills such as cross-cultural work, financial analysis, project management, data analysis, and macro, micro factors, marketing embrace the core of the hotel business with a focus on people, also integrated and closely linked by the curriculum.
Here, lecturers let their students study and make presentations by themselves before classes and make discussions in class frequently. Therefore, I find this quite great because it will train the proactiveness for students to prepare, read in advance otherwise in class they will be miss out on knowledge very quickly. In Denmark, they build the curriculum creatively but still ensure the connection, practice, and without pressure in the lessons.
6. What is the most memorable memory of the journey?
To be honest, every moment in Denmark is memorable and treasured. However, the best thing is probably the trips with my friends. Due to the epidemic, this exchange had a total of only 4 out of 22 students who were able to enter Denmark, which helped us become soulmates despite coming from different countries and different backgrounds. They are also my “up to the forest, down to the sea” traveling companions in Denmark. We couldn’t travel to other countries because of the travel restrictions; yet, it is great for us to be able to wander around in Denmark. During my time in Denmark, I’ve been traveled to pretty much all big cities, seas, and a few islands; each of them left me unforgettable impressions. There are days when I enjoy the sunny day at the Munke Mose park, go hiking at the Fyns Hoved, Skagen; while on cold days, I go cycling/walking through the forest to see the flowers bloom, or there are times when we cheer up the Danish team in Euro Season, have small parties, play Ping Pong, sing Karaoke until 4 a.m and give each other hugs when someone leaves for their hometown. All of them are my extremely good memories of Denmark.
If you have the opportunity, go to Denmark and feel the “unique” peace that can only be found here! ^^