#88: Nhat Tran

“The journey from dropping out of university twice to studying abroad and settling in the EU.”

Sunny Tran - IT Project Manager at Clearstream (Part 1)

My name is Tran Huu Dai Nhat, a person who likes to learn. Currently, I am an IT project manager at Clearstream, one of the Central Securities Depository (CDS) groups affiliated with Deutsche Börse Group bank in Germany. After more than 2 years with the company, I have progressed from Scrum Master to the youngest IT project manager here, managing million-euro projects.

I like to study. Studying has now become a natural thing for me. Like fish swimming in water. Like a bird flying. But it was a drastic change compared to when I was 18 years old. My educational path is not smooth. I studied at two Vietnamese schools and both “dropped out” before graduating. When I was 18 years old, I failed to get into my first-choice university because I failed the entrance exam (I have been feuding with “Vợ chồng A Phủ” until now). I went to university to study bachelor’s degree in English in Da Nang. At the age of 19, I felt that the English major wasn’t a good fit for me, so I moved to Saigon to enroll in an international college in Singapore. At the age of 21, I once again felt that the knowledge at school did not satisfy my desire compared to the tuition fee, so I decided to drop out of school for the second time, and began the days of “selling myself to capitalists”.

In my twenties, I “plowed” like an ox, doing two or three jobs at the same time, always running with all my might to see where I would go (but it probably wouldn’t lead to hell). For me, the more I do, the “brighter” I am and learn many useful things. At that time, I worked full-time for a marketing agency and worked as a marketing manager for a non-governmental organization. I keep looking for a job to study to fill all my time. “Plowing” non-stop, so when I was 25 years old, I suffered burn-out. I decided to leave everything behind to work as a digital nomad and travel around the world to recharge for a year. From Asia to America, in each country we stay from 3 weeks to 1 month to learn about the culture and life of local people, to satisfy our curiosity, and to find the answer “who I want to become”. I also took advantage of freelance website design to cover this “digital nomad” life.

Stepping out the big door, I realized my desire to study abroad. But Master’s scholarship opportunities are slammed shut because they require students to have a university degree. I’m working full-time and have experienced dropping out of school twice, so I don’t want to spend a lot of time studying traditional programs. I researched many online university programs from Vietnam to the US. After a series of calls and emails to many places, I was fortunate to receive a 90% scholarship from the University of the People. This online university program is accredited by the US government and awards university degrees. Unlike the previous two times, this time I was interested in a flexible study program: I worked during the day, went to Mui Ne on the weekend, and at night I diligently studied and wrote essays. Continuing like that for 3 years, I finally got a university degree at the age of 29.

A university degree is a stepping stone for me to realize my dream of studying a master’s degree abroad. During the next year, I spent time researching and applying for all scholarship programs that I felt were suitable. But because I didn’t have enough experience, I failed all 11 programs I applied for.

With extensive experience in failing scholarships (laughs), I tried the second time. Focused on revising previous essays, referring to other people’s essays and the program’s criteria to understand why I failed. and gradually improve the quality of writing. When I tried again in the second year, my application received a full scholarship from the Irish government. Thank God I finally got the scholarship. The flight taking me to Ireland took off right on the occasion of the Covid outbreak in Saigon, opening up a new life in the Europe of my dreams.

As for the story of studying for a master’s degree in Europe, then being accepted to work as a project manager at a tech company with a non-tech background, I will continue to tell in part two.

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