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Ninth-grader becomes first Vietnamese to receive full scholarship from NZ gov’t

Sunday, July 21, 2019, 11:18 GMT+7
Ninth-grader becomes first Vietnamese to receive full scholarship from NZ gov’t
Nguyen Phan Y Nhi (center) is pictured with New Zealand Ambassador in Vietnam Wendy Matthews (left) and her mother at the scholarship granting ceremony in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Thanh Yen / Tuoi Tre

A Vietnamese ninth grader has spent her last year at middle school applying and winning six different scholarships, including the first full scholarship ever granted by the New Zealand government to a student in her country.

Education New Zealand (ENZ), the Kiwi country’s government agency in charge of building international education, has recently announced the list of the very first 20 Vietnamese students who are qualified for scholarships to study high school in New Zealand.

Of these, there is only one full scholarship, the He Tohu Hiranga, which went to Nguyen Phan Y Nhi, who just graduated from the Vung Tau Secondary School in the namesake southern coastal city.

Nhi’s academic performance proved outstanding when she attained many different English rewards on both national and regional levels during her time at middle school. She also scored 8.5 in IELTS.

With the full scholarship, which has the highest value among the 20 grants given by ENZ to Vietnamese this time, the 15-year-old will start her high school study at Long Bay College in Auckland from January 2020.

Recipients of the He Tohu Hiranga scholarship will have 100 percent of tuition fees paid for their first year of study in the Kiwi country.

In addition to the grant from the New Zealand government, Nhi also won five other grants from such school as the Vineridge Academy in Canada, Macquarie Grammar School in Australia, and Amerigo Education in the U.S.

Being aware of her family’s financial situation, Nhi had been determined to hunt for a full scholarship to be able to study abroad.

“Nhi’s academic performance and outstanding English skills are what impressed us when we reviewed her application,” Ben Burrowes, director of the Southeast Asian region with ENZ, said.

The Vietnamese girl has her parents, who encouraged her to read books and listen to audio books in English since a very young age, to thank for her language ability.

“At first I did not understand the books much, but I kept trying until one day I could say that I could catch much of the content,” Nhi said.

The girl is also proud that she mostly learned on her own instead of taking expensive English courses at language centers as many of her peers would do.

Not only is she outstanding in her academic performance, Nhi is also active in her extracurricular activities.

She was the first student to propose establishing an English Club at her school, where students would meet weekly to practice the language.

“Nhi is an active student,” Hoang Xuan Nhu Y, one of the English teachers at Vung Tau Secondary School, said.

“We almost had nothing new to teach her during English classes.”

In the past year, Nhi also worked as a teaching assistant at a charity class in Vung Tau, where 20 students, most of whom dropped out of school to make a living, were taught English for free.

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