MA International Development Management (2011-2012)
How would you describe yourself?
I am Anh Ti Vu, I come from Vietnam, and I am here because I got a scholarship from the UK government to study a master’s degree here. I was very lucky to get the scholarship because it is very competitive, it is the Chevening scholarship. So I chose to dedicate myself to further studies in development studies, I studied the MA in International Development Management, and I chose the University of Bradford because it is recommended by the World Bank – I saw the information about the University, BCID, on the website of the World Bank. And in fact this University is the only one I applied for. I don’t want to exaggerate but at the time when I was to apply I was so busy with my work, so by chance I went to the World Bank website, because that is the website I usually consult for information, for instance publications on aid effectiveness, because I am really interested in this topic. And there was a list of recommended Universities to study development, and there I saw the University of Bradford, which I picked to apply to.
Before I came to Bradford I worked for the Public Administration Reform Project, a project funded by the UNDP, and the implementing agency is the ministry of foreign affairs of Vietnam. I am the component officer, so I had to be responsible for one component of that project. I had a very good job in a good working environment, everything was fine, but I decided to stop, because I wanted to study further. I’m very grateful that I got the Chevening scholarship from the UK government. It is not easy to make a decision but sometimes we have to make a break to improve ourselves, to absorb and feed ourselves.
What do you think you have gained from studying at Bradford?
To be honest I am really interested in the modules that I chose. They have equipped me with a comprehensive knowledge on development issues, development policy and on public policy analysis. At the beginning I heard about public policy analysis and management and it seemed very far away. I understood the concept but I didn’t have a concrete idea of what it is. I didn’t know what public policy analysis is. I heard about the green revolution in India, but I didn’t know what it was. I didn’t know what philanthropy was. But that changed when I attended lectures. I really enjoyed them, they were both intensive and comprehensive. So it really broadened my mind. And the core modules of this degree, I liked them very much. The way the lecturer delivered the lecture was that a lot of information was covered through the form of a debate, which was open to everyone and you have to raise questions and form an opinion. We were pushed to make an argument and to think critically, which was really good. The floor was opened for everyone to debate, anyone had a chance to talk. That’s what I really enjoyed.
What are you doing after your master’s here?
I really want to pursue further studies, to study a PhD. But because I am an international student I need to look for a scholarship. So I think first of all I go home, go back to my country. From there I can then prepare my application for a scholarship to study a PhD in the UK. And in the meantime I continue my work. But in the long run I would really like to study a PhD. That is my big aspiration.
One thing I really appreciated about BCID is the way the academic staff here support the students. I mean they are really helpful and kind. They really want to help the students. Studying here I did not face any difficulty because anytime I needed clarification on issues I send an email and could see somebody to talk to.
What is your most interesting non-academic experience you had while being in Bradford?
I have very good companions here, very good friends. They are not from my country - they are from Greece and Cyprus. I think the time here is one of the greatest times that I have in my life because I found very good friends, we have become really close. We used to cook for each other - we have fun and spent a lot of time together. We have been very supportive of each other. One time, when someone took my bag, at the night time, and I suffered some small injures, and when my friends heard about what had happened to me, they almost cried when they saw my injuries. I felt so touched at that time, because I’m so lucky to have such wonderful friends beside me at that time. So I think making friends and the way you appreciate friendship is very important. It is amazing because we come from different countries, but we gather together here and we became friends. So I would say one should not miss any chance to make friends with someone. I mean, if we are open-minded and give one another a chance to let them be close and enter our lives, we receive a lot of things.
Can I ask about your academic interests? What was your dissertation about?
My dissertation is about aid effectiveness and governance. I’m very interested in this topic, in aid effectiveness. Because now aid is politics, and aid is very complicated. And there are many debates around aid. One thinks that aid is not helpful, and the other thinks that aid is the instrument of the global north to impose their thinking on the developing world, so many people, many scholars, many African scholars, they want the western community to stop giving aid, but other scholars want to increase aid. So there are many debates about this topic. But in the developing world poverty is pervasive; 1.4 billion people are still living under poverty. So I think when we are rich and we have money and we really want to support the people in need then that is a very good idea. There is no mistake in aid as such. But the way aid is functioning, the way aid is performing, is a problem, because people use aid for their own purpose. So that’s why I am really interested in this topic and I want to develop it further on a PhD level.
Received: September 2012