‘My favourite UK memories’: Reflections of a current Chevening Scholar

As we approach the end of the 2022-23 Chevening year, Social Media Ambassador (SMA) Hoang An Nguyen shares some of his favourite UK memories.

As a Vietnamese scholar, the UK and Chevening community have provided me with a home away from home and countless beautiful memories.

The Chevening community: An infinite joy

Chevening is one big friendly family.

After the COVID-19 extended quarantine, I was overwhelmed to see more than 1,000 scholars from more than 100 countries and territories come together for the Orientation and Farewell ceremonies. It was amazing to be part of such vibrant celebrations, as scholars from around the world showcased their traditional costumes and cultures.

Even the smaller Chevening events brought so much joy and excitement, helping to alleviate homesickness and nurture friendships. Together, we learned about the UK’s history at the Palace of Westminster, shared our initiatives towards social issues at the Chevening Conference in Warwick, and sang our hearts out at the Chevening Karaoke in London.

I never feel alone when I have my Chevening family supporting me!


UK education: a self-belief booster

Eight years ago, I completed my bachelor’s degree in public relations and started working in the entertainment industry. Prior to commencing my MA in Media, Campaigning, and Social Changes at the University of Westminster, I hadn’t revisited any academic programmes.

I knew my masters would require extensive academic reading and writing, critical thinking, and self-studying skills, so I was naturally nervous at the beginning. However, I was always empowered by others when I spoke up. My lecturers made time for me during lunch breaks and patiently explained every academic term. They taught me how to motivate myself, break big goals into smaller ones, and manage time effectively to maintain a work-life balance. Additionally, other Cheveners shared their academic writing skills, assisting me in completing my dissertation. Thanks to their whole-hearted support, a person working in showbiz like me could achieve distinction marks in both theoretical and practical modules, which will no doubt immensely enhance my career path upon my return to Vietnam.


The magical London

My London life has allowed me to immerse myself in some phenomenal forms of art. I could quickly ’meet’ Van Gogh and Monet at the National Gallery and explore Ancient Egypt and Japan at the British Museum (most UK museums offer free admission too!).

I also had the opportunity to experience the magical world of the Lion King and Harry Potter in the West End district. Moreover, the UK has brought me closer to global concerts, including Eurovision, Elton John, Beyonce, Harry Styles, and The Weeknd.


Double celebration

2023 marks Chevening Vietnam’s 30th anniversary. To celebrate this milestone, Chevening Vietnam scholars wore hoodies embroidered with a ’Chevening30’ logo on New Year’s Eve and watched the Fireworks show together.

Coincidentally I also turned 30 this year! At first, I thought this year would be my loneliest birthday as I’m so far away from my family. However, my Chevening Vietnam scholars took me to the Seven Sisters (a series of chalk sea cliffs on the English Channel coast), brought me a lovely cupcake, and sang me a happy birthday song by the crystal beach, surprising me with their thoughtfulness.

Thank you Chevening for making my 30th birthday so memorable with a world-class academic degree and forever friendships.


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