First Vietnamese winner of an OPEC scholarship in 10 years
VietNamNet Bridge - Of several thousand candidates from 140 countries, only 5-10 receive scholarships from OFID, the OPEC Fund for International Development.


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Tran Bich Phuong, 25, is the first Vietnamese in 10 years to win the scholarship, which is offered to students from developing countries who study for a master’s degree. The scholarship includes full tuition, living expenses of $1,500 per month, airfare, medical insurance, books and $1,000 initial fee upon arrival.

Students can choose to study at any school in the world, including the UK, the US and the EU. 

With the scholarship, Phuong will leave Vietnam in late August for Stockholm to start a one-year training course for master’s degree in healthcare at Karolinska Institute. This is a leading medical school and one of the top five medical schools in the world which is on equal footing with Harvard, John Hopkins and Oxford. Karolinska Institute includes the Nobel Assembly, the body which awards the Nobel Prize in medicine.

Tran Bich Phuong, 25, is the first Vietnamese in 10 years to win the scholarship, which is offered to students from developing countries who study for a master’s degree. 

“I will have opportunities to approach the most updated knowledge, latest inventions and research works and learn with leading professors,” Phuong said.

Just two weeks ago, she finished a training course on community health at Oslo University which lasted six weeks. 

With a bachelor’s degree in economics, the girl from Hanoi found it difficult to persuade organizations and funds to grant her scholarships for training courses on healthcare.

“They did not know how far I would commit and what I would do with their investments. I was refused two times, but I did not give up and I finally have what I dream of – opportunities to study at a leading school and to go to Europe,” she said.

Phuong was an English major student at the High School for the Gifted in Foreign Languages, a member of Hanoi National University. She won third prize at the competition for excellent students in English when she was an 11th grader. She got an 8.5 score in IELTS and got a Prince Andrew scholarship worth $30,500 from  British University in Vietnam for the undergraduate pathway and bachelor’s course.

Graduating from university with distinction, Phuong worked for multinational groups including Rolls Royce and KPMG. Later, she decided to give up the well-paid jobs to become an unpaid intern at an NGO on productive health. During the time there, she realized that public healthcare does not receive appropriate attention in Vietnam and decided to study further in the field.


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Thanh Mai

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