International Student Awards - Hien Minh Vu

Hien Minh Vu 1

Hien Minh Vu was Highly Commended in the Community Engagement category of StudyAdelaide's International Student Awards.

From Vietnam, Hien Minh (Jean) Vu is currently completing her Bachelor of Applied Biology, majoring in Plant Production Innovation. 

Hien Minh has dedicated most of her volunteering work to helping international students transition smoothly to their new life here in Adelaide. She has volunteered as an international peer mentor with orientation activities as well as helping to support international students as they transitioned to online studies during the COVID-19 lockdown. Hien Minh wants to help international students feel at home by empathising, listening and sharing, and she is always happy to talk with students and offer encouragement outside of her official volunteering duties.

Hien Minh also likes to help students in her field of study so they can maximise the opportunities available to them and thrive academically. She has volunteered as a PASS Leader developing study sessions and helping students prepare for exams, as well as helped to facilitate networking opportunities for students through her work with the Adelaide University Biosciences Network. Hien Minh has also volunteered with Robogals to inspire more female students to study STEM subjects in the future. 


Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I adapt well to new environments yet also keep a deep understanding and value for my traditional culture. I am a high-achieving penultimate-year Applied Biology (Plant Production Innovation) student with proven capability in leadership, problem-solving and entrepreneurship. Through two years of study and volunteering in university, I have developed a strong reputation as a diligent and ambitious student who always seeks out new challenges.

I am keen to apply my knowledge and skills in the fields of Science Communication, Genetics and Plant Science. As I am a creative, curious, and adventurous person, I am passionate to pursue research in the future to innovate, create solutions for global problems such as food waste transformation, food production in climate change.

Besides studying, I also enjoy volunteering, reading and travelling. Socialising and meeting new people help me understand their stories and interesting journeys, whereas reading enables me to empathize and self-reflect. One of my goals within the next 10 years is to travel as much as I can to see more of the world before going back to Vietnam. Once I finish my bachelor degree, I am planning to apply for a PhD candidature


Tell us about your International Student Award.

I was given a High Commendation in the category Community Engagement.  

I have been involved in volunteering since the first year I was in Adelaide and continued it throughout my degree. As an International Peer Mentor, my main work involves helping international students transition smoothly into Adelaide life. Additionally, being a committee member with the Adelaide University Biosciences Network and a PASS leader have enabled me to facilitate academic learning as well as networking opportunities for Science students.

It was an honour to be receiving the prize from His Excellency the Honourable Hieu Van Le AC. I also was very fortunate to have a chance to converse with him in Vietnamese. His warm voice reminded me so much of home.


What do you miss about your home country?

I miss my family, the food and the beautiful places back home. Going out for a coffee with my mother, eating Pho with my father and road-tripping with my family are hard to replace!

Street-food tours around Hanoi on a scooter with friends are things that I could never get bored of. You are rewarded with such mouth-watering food at the end.


Hien Minh Vu 2

Quickfire questions!

Zoom or in-person?

In-person please!


What's your go-to study music?

Lofi is the perfect genre for studying, and this playlist helped me study productively during the social distancing period.


Adelaide Hills or Adelaide's beaches?

Adelaide's beaches.


Home delivery or home-cooked?

Home-cooked is the way to go.


Reading books or streaming TV/movies?

Reading, because I prefer visualising what I read rather than watch it. One of my favourite books this year is Homo Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind


3 things you won't miss about COVID-19 restrictions?
  • 1 person per family restrictions for grocery shopping
  • Online practical lessons
  • Online networking events


3 things you won't forget about COVID-19?
  • Me-time for reading, self-reflection and other hobbies
  • #30DayswithIPMs, a 30 day series of social media posts by International Peer Mentors
  • Virtual CommuniTEAs
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