Australia Awards alumnus wants to produce many TV programs about Vietnam’s rural life

Nguyen Thi Hong Chi, currently working in Ho Chi Minh City, shared what she was doing after she came back from Australia.

My name is Nguyen Thi Hong Chi. I come from a small village in Ben Tre province in southern Vietnam.

Before going to Australia, I worked for several years at Vietnam Television in Can Tho City, the centre of the Mekong Delta region. My duties included investigating, gathering and reporting on news and current affairs, mostly on lives of people in rural areas in this region. I was also writing scripts and comments for feature stories that were periodically aired on both regional and national broadcasting channels.

In 2012, I won the Australia Awards Scholarship and was accepted into Flinders University, majoring in Screen and Media Production. The course then started in Jan, 2012 and I completed my degree in December, 2013.

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At the beginning, I felt so lost and unsure of what to do. As a student in screen and media production, I had to work with various kinds of equipment to which I did not have access in Vietnam and I remember struggling with this. Other tricky situations included how to book the gears online, how to find the books in the library and many new subjects such as 3D animations.

Language barrier was an obstacle too, because in Vietnam, we did not grow up with English like many students from Africa, Indonesia, Hong Kong or Singapore.

I was struggling and felt lonely. I cried many times on the way home from school.

Fortunately, thanks to my teachers’ and university staff’s patience, encouragement and support, I finally overcame all of these difficulties. I studied hard, got involved, made friends and had a fabulous time there. I also gained abundant knowledge and experiences.

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Below is an article on ABC Radio, in which I shared my experience of making a short film on the Murray river, the longest river in Australia.

I travelled to Queensland and quiet Tasmania during summer holidays and I was in Melbourne doing my internships with the ABC in July, 2013, then the ABC in Adelaide in September, 2013.

In Melbourne, I had the opportunity to meet some lovely people and receive valuable advice from them.

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After coming back to Vietnam, I started working as a producer, director and editor for a show called “A kitchen of love”. The program provides free food and free meals to poor patients at the canteens of various hospitals in the Mekong Delta area and this model is going to be expanded in the whole country. For each episode, we also introduce one case of a poor patient in that hospital to the public, so that people could contribute financially to their treatment. We also help to find sponsors for the charity activities of the hospital, as “A kitchen of love” is broadcast on five TV stations around Vietnam and is on the website This can be my greatest achievement since I came back to Vietnam in last January. Below are two episodes of this program: 

In the next few weeks, I am going to produce a reality show “Visit fruit orchards in the Mekong Delta”. In this TV project, we will work closely with owners of the farms, agricultural experts and traders. We will thus help farmers improve their agricultural practices and enable them to become more competitive and increase the value of “brand name” fruit in South Vietnam.

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In addition to this, I was also assigned a project to help poor students who have a passion to do research but have no funds.

One of my biggest objectives is to produce many TV shows about rural life in Vietnam. I hope, from watching our programs, farmers will improve their knowledge in production and increase their incomes. Their children, who are poor students living in the same areas as mine before, will have better lives and better education.

In particular, coming from the Mekong Delta - a region upon which Mother Nature bestowed many advantages, I feel sad about the poverty of the people living here and hope through my work, I could help the community and local people there.

I greatly value the experience and wealth of knowledge that I have acquired from my time in Australia. My Australia Award Scholarship (previously Australia Development Scholarship) opened many doors for me. It helped me not only in my academic, but also in my personal life. I am now able to apply my experiences, new skills, knowledge and ethical aspects to make TV programs, documentaries and projects more creative and professional.

Therefore, I would love to take this time to thank the Australian Government and the Australia Awards Scholarship program for having given me this great opportunity to help me grow. I am proud of joining the Australia Award Scholarship Alumni Network and being able to contribute toward Vietnam’s development more effectively.

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