Huong Nguyen, a 2012 Baylor medical humanities graduate, was one of six Baylor students selected to receive a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship during the 2011-2012 academic year. Thanks to the Fulbright, Huong is now in Scotland pursuing a Master’s of Science degree in health services research and public health at the University of Aberdeen. We’ve asked her to keep in touch and let us know what her time in the United Kingdom has been like. This is the first of what we hope will be a number of her blog posts from Scotland.
Just the Beginning
By Huong Nguyen
March 13 is always going to have a special place in my heart. It was the day I got the email that I had been waiting for. It was a day filled with happy tears, dozens of phone calls and endless hugs. It was the day I became a member of the Fulbright family and because of that, March 13 will always be one of my favorite days of the year.
Before I dive into the details of what the past six months of my life has been like, I’d like to backtrack a couple of years (22 to be exact) to give a little background of my family.
My parents emigrated from Vietnam to Hong Kong, where they had five of their six children (myself included) and soon made the move to Houston, Texas, thereafter. Neither of my parents went to college or even finished high school, but that didn’t stop them from raising us to believe that education was vital to success.
After high school, I knew I wanted to go to college — the only question was, “Where?” It didn’t take long for me to find Baylor, but once I did I knew it would be my “home away from home.”
I was so blessed to be a Baylor Bear (Medical Humanities, BA 2012!) and I enjoyed every moment of it. The opportunities, both academic and social, were endless. Relay For Life, Alpha Phi Omega and Alpha Epsilon Delta were organizations that I was proud to be a part of; each gave me the opportunity to be truly passionate with what I really believed in. Baylor gave me a degree that I love, lifelong friends and four of the best years of my life.
My senior year at Baylor started out with a period of questioning: “What am I going to do after graduation?” I think it was a common theme among all seniors, but for me, it had more weight than I liked. I wasn’t ready for medical school, but because I never planned for anything other than that, I was stuck and anxious.
At the end of August, I had a conversation with a great friend in my car outside of the Moody Library and it changed everything. “Maybe you should apply for Fulbright, Huong. You’re perfect for it. Talk to Dean Vardaman!” And so I emailed Dean Elizabeth Vardaman in the College of Arts & Sciences, thinking she’d tell me it was too late, but by some miracle she decided to take a chance on me.
For three weeks, we worked endlessly to get my application ready. If it wasn’t for Dean Vardaman and Dr. Escobar, I wouldn’t be sitting in my cozy flat here in Aberdeen, Scotland, today.
I thought I’d wrap this entry up with a few things about the 2012-2013 US-UK Fulbright Cohort. (For those who do not know, there are Fulbright Scholars all over the world in more than 125 countries and we are usually grouped into cohorts depending on our location.)
Our particular group has graduates from a variety of U.S. universities. In six short months, I have gotten to know my fellow Fulbrighters on such a personal level and wanted to share a few things about why I think these they are incredible scholars and are the best ambassadors to represent the great United States of America. I am so proud to be apart of this group and am so grateful to be able to call them friends.
If we met in college, we’d be best friends. I talk about them a lot with my friends back home because the truth is, they deserved to be talked about. They will be world leaders. They are game changers and will undoubtedly make a difference in the world that we live in because they have beautiful minds and personalities, have the drive to work hard, and are absolutely fantastic scholars. I’m humbled and honored to share this experience with them. Regardless, I am so thankful for this experience we get to share together.
My next few blog posts will have details about what I’m studying, what I’ve been doing during my free time, where I’ve traveled to and my favorite things about living in the United Kingdom (Scotland, to be exact). Until then, I’ll be sending all my love back home to Texas!
Cheers and Sic ‘Em Bears!
Huong discusses the photos pictured above:
PHOTO NO. 1, at top: “Fulbright Post-graduate Scholars in Bristol at a formal dinner hosted by the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bristol”
PHOTO NO. 2: Huong while she was a Baylor University undergraduate student (used courtesy of Baylor Marketing & Communications)
PHOTO NO. 3: “Here I am at an American-themed Thanksgiving party in Aberdeen, Scotland, with new friends from the University of Aberdeen!”
PHOTO NO. 4, at bottom: “On top of Cabot Tower in Bristol with Fulbright Post-graduate Scholars Arianna Shroyer (left) and Alex Maxwell (right)”