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The Vietnamese Ambassador to the UK, Nguyen Hoang Long, visited the Ulster University Belfast campus on Thursday 11 May and announced a fully-funded scholarship programme.

Nine scholarships for the MA Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) programme are available – eight kindly supported by the British Council and one funded by Ulster University.

The programme is designed to enhance teaching and communication skills and explore how people from different cultures learn languages.

Each scholarship offers a Vietnamese English Language teacher a fully-funded place onto the MA TESOL programme, taught part-time and online, commencing September 2023. In addition to online teaching, the programme of study will include two weeks at the University’s Coleraine campus in Northern Ireland. Additionally, the students will have the opportunity to undertake a teaching placement at a local North Coast or North West school, with which the University has close working partnerships.

Successful scholars will form a professional learning community and benefit from ongoing engagement with the British Council Viet Nam and each other to support the teaching and learning of young people in Viet Nam, during and after the completion of the online MA programme.

Ulster University Deputy Vice Chancellor, Paul Seawright, welcomed Nguyen Hoang Long and a delegation which included Trade Counsellor Nguyen Canh Cuong, First Secretary for Trade Hoang Le Hang, First Secretary for Education Dao Thi Hong and First Secretary Nong Dam Tuan Linh.

The visiting delegation enjoyed a tour of the new Belfast campus and were interested to learn more about Ulster University's educational technology, support programs, student exchange opportunities, how Ulster attracts new students, and further opportunities for collaboration.

Professor Paul Seawright, Deputy Vice Chancellor at Ulster University said:

"It was a pleasure welcome His Excellency Ambassador Ngyen Hoang Long, Counsellor Nguyen Canh Cuong, First Secretary Hoang Le Hang, First Secretary Dao Thi Hong and First Secretary Nong Dam Tuan Linh to our new Belfast campus this week.

"We are looking forward to welcoming these nine Vietnamese students into our University community in September and hosting them on our Coleraine campus later in June. This joint initiative with the British Council supports our commitment to providing International students with opportunities to learn and engage with the University, beyond our shores here in Northern Ireland. We hope that this project is the start of a productive partnership between Northern Ireland and Viet Nam."

Speaking about the visit, the Vietnamese Ambassador to the UK, Nguyen Hoang Long said:

"I am delighted to be in Northern Ireland to announce this fully funded scholarship programme for Vietnamese English Language teachers. This programme offers a unique opportunity for teachers to enhance their skills and knowledge in teaching English, while also experiencing the vibrant culture and education system of Northern Ireland.

“When visiting Ulster University’s new Belfast campus, I was impressed by the University’s ambitions to connect internationally, especially with Viet Nam through the UK/Viet Nam Season -  and look forward to seeing the positive impact this programme will have on fostering stronger ties between Viet Nam and Northern Ireland."

The scholarship programme is part of the British Council’s UK/ Viet Nam Season, which across 2023, will celebrate the best of UK-Vietnamese partnerships and strengthen the connections between the people of the UK and Viet Nam. Jonathan Stewart, Director, British Council Northern Ireland:

"The British Council is committed to providing opportunities for English language teachers to access world-leading continuing professional development opportunities and reach their fullest potential.

"Through our UK/ Viet Nam Season, Ulster University was specially selected from a number of UK universities to deliver this partnership, given the dynamic and innovative nature of their long established MA TESOL programme. Engagement in the project demonstrates the School of Education’s commitment to the enhancement of education on a global scale."

After the visit to the Belfast campus, the delegation travelled to Queen’s University Belfast where they took part in a round table event with representatives from Ulster University, Queen's University, the Department for Economy, The Executive Office and the British Council.