A 15 year-old Vinschool student offered a full scholarship at a prestigious British school
Nguyen Minh Diep, alumni of Vinschool secondary school, is one of two Vietnamese students to be offered a full-scholarship at the National Mathematics and Science College. Minh Diep shared the tips of how she secured her full-scholarship and her interesting personal experiences after the first semester in her school.
The National Mathematics and Science College is the dream school for STEAM-subject lovers (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths). Success at this school is an important step for students who wish to go on to attend a world-class university such as Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard or MIT.
Minh Diep is one of almost 130 Vietnamese students who took part in 3 rounds of testing for the scholarship in March 2018: Mathematics, Essay-writing, and an Interview round held by the British Council and the NMSC. After passing the first 2 rounds, the Interview round was the final chance for Minh Diep to impress. Thanks to her track record at international debate competitions, Minh Diep was able to impress the school’s Dean so much during the interview that she received a ticket to her dream school. Minh Diep let us in on her secret: a good command of English, confidence, social knowledge, and understanding accumulated over a long time. In the end, Minh Diep and Hai Linh (alumni of High School for Gifted Students, Hanoi National University of Education) are the first Vietnamese students to receive a scholarship from this prestigious institution.
Prior to this, at the World Scholar’s Cup in 2016, Minh Diep took home 8 Gold and many Silver medals during the 3 rounds in Ha Noi (Viet Nam), Bangkok (Thailand) and Yale (USA). After graduating from Vinschool Secondary School, she was top of her cohort in the Dual Diploma program at Ha Noi Amsterdam High school, Chu Văn An, and was eligible for admission into the specialized Chemistry class at Chu Văn An. Not only is she an across-the-board outstanding student, Minh Diep also has a special passion for Chemistry and dreams of becoming a chemistry teacher in the future.
Living away from her family at the young age of 15, how did Diep overcome her difficulties?
Ms. Do Thi Hong Hanh, Minh Diep’s mother shared: “She was encouraged to self-study at secondary school, while at home, I tried to create an environment that allowed her to learn independence. She learned how to cook Vietnamese food and now she can make things for herself, or change up her meals, or satisfy her cravings when she gets homesick. Diep doesn’t usually complain about her problems, but rather prefers to solve them on her own. In addition, having the school and the family work together in a child’s education is very important”.
Diep is currently studying Pre – A levels, and plans to complete her A-levels here. She will strive to “score” other scholarships so that she can continue to university. After her first semester at the National Mathematics and Science College, Diep says that the school is home to many gifted students from all over the world. When she first stepped foot here at the NMSC, Diep was worried about her ability to keep up with school work and her peers. However, her end-of-semester results were very impressive: She got 2 As in English and Physics, As* in Chemistry and Biology and AH for Mathematics.
Her secret is interactive learning – a skill that she was familiar with from her time at Vinschool: “Interactive learning is proactive learning between the student and the teacher. When I have a problem with schoolwork, I find a suitable time to go over the lesson with my teacher and try to work the problem out. If I want extra work, I’ll email the teacher for help as well. Another thing that I found was that the teachers at NMSC are very similar to Vinschool’s, especially in their enthusiasm and dedication to students. This familiarity has partly helped me to adapt more easily to the new learning environment”.
Aside from studying, Diep still makes time for her hobbies; that is reading, research and self-study. Diep shared: “In the near future, my goal is to continue work towards a scholarship for university. In the distant future, I also want to return and work in Viet Nam. That’s where my family and friends are, that’s my home, and the place that’s given me all I have today. I think that would be the most meaningful act I could give in return”.