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Universities in Hong Kong are offering more scholarships for Vietnamese students.

By Ken Nguyen and Cindy Lee

Diplomat Pham Binh Dam has secured 197 scholarships from top universities in Hong Kong for Vietnamese talents.

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) offered 30 scholarships to undergraduate students in 2022. The number then jumped to 45 in 2023 and has increased to 96 in 2024.

The University of Hong Kong (HKU) joined later this year and has just announced that scholarships would be offered to 20 for undergraduates, and six for post-graduates for admission to the school year of 2024 – 2025.

“As HKU and CUHK offer scholarships for Vietnamese students, other universities will look at them and seize this opportunity to do the same. The path ahead is now paved,” Pham, the Consulate General of Vietnam says.

“Actually, Hong Kong was not in the mind of Vietnamese families when it comes to overseas studies. Therefore, I suggested to HKU that they could be more active in attracting students in Vietnam just as what many European universities are doing,” he adds. 

Pham is confident that students admitted to CUHK and HKU will become high achievers, and will promote a good image to young Vietnamese talents. 

“They will serve as good examples, which will then attract further students and families from Vietnam to universities in Hong Kong. Money cannot help students get into universities in Hong Kong. In the past three years, only top talents in Vietnam have come to study,” Pham says.

“We now have a healthy number of students, which is around 200, including post-graduates. I expect that Hong Kong will become a popular destination for overseas studies among Vietnamese teens in the future,” Pham says.

In October 2023, Hong Kong announced that visa procedures for Vietnamese people would be relaxed in the Policy Address 2024 for the “multiple-entry” scheme for business and travel.

“This is a very positive situation. Parents and relatives can also come to Hong Kong to visit their children more easily,” says the diplomat.

His help for students

Apart from securing scholarships for young talents, the Consul General also offers help to students when they apply for universities in the city. 

“To help students with their applications, I meet and stay in touch with them. I also help students do interview training. All eight public universities in Hong Kong have strong financial positions and they only accept talents. Vietnamese students should be well-prepared,” Pham says.

Students and families usually get to know Pham through scholarship campaigns run in schools. From which, they also learn more about the quality and generosity of universities in Hong Kong.

“Students contacted me when they prepared their applications. I followed their journeys from being tense, worried, excited and overwhelmed when they were admitted. They are part of my life in Hong Kong,” Pham says. 

“Recently, I have received good news. A student from Gia Lai, a province in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, achieved a full scholarship offer from HKU. Despite not coming from a well-known school, the student successfully secured the scholarship” he adds.

Diplomat Pham Binh Dam at a conference with professors from the University of Hong Kong (HKU).

His love for Hong Kong which he describes as home

Coming to the end of his three-year term in Hong Kong, the diplomat, who has been deployed to Paris and visited over 60 countries, describes the city as his home.

“In Hong Kong, I feel at home. Hong Kong and Vietnam are natural partners,” Pham says, noting that three Kowloon streets are named after cities in Vietnam.

Back in the 19th century, Vietnam was an important trading partner with Hong Kong in the Indochina. Renaming East Road to Hanoi Road, Elgin Road to Haiphong Road and Third Street to Saigon Street in 1909 was how Hong Kong showed its respect for the close trade relations, according to Hong Kong CityLife. 

“Many Hong Kong people love Vietnam. Many enjoy the diverse cuisine and the natural beauty of Vietnam,” the diplomat says.

Pham can find a piece of all those places he had been to in Hong Kong. “Hong Kong is a unique place that has a mixture of all kinds of buildings and people with connections to Vietnam,” the diplomat says.

“Hong Kong gives me the feeling of being at home both domestically and internationally. Being in Hong Kong not only makes me feel like I am in Vietnam, but also other parts of the world,” he adds.

The special connection the Consul General has with Hong Kong is one of the reasons why he encourages more Vietnamese students to study at this strong financial center.

“I believe that Vietnamese graduates will seek job opportunities in Hong Kong, and that Hong Kong employers will seize the opportunity to recruit talents. Hong Kong demands large human resources and Vietnam has the supply,” he says.

Hanoi Road – a road in Tsim Sha Tsui that was named after the capital city of Vietnam.

Sub-edited by Chloe Tam