The road home for overseas Vietnamese students

Vietnam is witness to a new trend: Students who went abroad for advanced studies like doctorates are returning home in greater numbers than ever before after completing their studies.

One reason is the economic boom here which is throwing up opportunities like never before for highly qualified people. Then there are the people who come back out of a desire to do something for the nation.

Nguyen Quang Tan, who got a PhD in Biology and the Environment from Britain’s Oxford University and was an invitee to a Youth League exchange meeting in Ho Chi Minh City Sunday, said: “I feel I owe the next generation.”

“If I stayed in the UK, I may have had more chances to advance. But, I’m really happy with my work here,” said Tan, who currently teaches at the HCMC University of Agriculture and Forestry.

Pham Hoang Nhan, a business administration graduate from the US, has a more practical reason. He said if he had stayed to work in a large and developed country like the US, he would have been “a small shrimp in the ocean”.

“Meanwhile, Vietnam is developing with many opportunities in the construction, banking, insurance, and hi-tech sectors.”

So, he returned to Vietnam and became of the founders of the Saigon Architecture Company. He is currently working as an assistant professor at the National University in HCMC.

Duong Quang Minh, who holds an MSc in Information Technology also from the US, told the meeting there were many ways for such people to contribute to the country, whether or not they return to Vietnam.

Le Diep Kieu Trang, a former finance student from Oxford University and a senior official at Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation in HCMC, said: “Returning or staying depends o­n the person. As for me, living in Vietnam is my greatest happiness.”