Like many visually impaired people in Vietnam, Nguyen Tuan Tu had limited career options – until he received a full scholarship from The Atlantic Philanthropies to study at RMIT Vietnam. Here he tells his story.
“I have less than 20 percent of my vision, and I chose RMIT Vietnam in particular because of the support the University offers students with learning differences. After passing the 20-week English program, I was offered a full academic scholarship.
In 2011 I started the Bachelor of Business (Business Information Systems) program – which people said was a bad idea. Working with charts and big data, analysing and building sophisticated business information systems – those things already sound scary to a student without disabilities. It was definitely not a safe choice for me. But I never liked safe choices from the start.
My life motto is: always embrace challenges as they bring out the potential you didn’t even know you had inside. The first weeks at university were rough for me. I could not take notes on the computer and engage in class activities at the same time. After each class, I listened to the recording again and did all the note taking. It required more work of course, but it worked well for me.
I became involved in the Equitable Learning Services (ELS), the department that supports students with learning differences. I helped design more inclusive teaching and learning workshops to different student-facing departments at the University.
I was the first student to experience ELS at RMIT Vietnam and have been part of the team since its launch. I feel like I am the right person to do all these things, and honestly I had a lot of fun doing the workshops.
The biggest reward for me is knowing that I am helping to create more chances for students like me to have equal access to the education they want.”
A transformational gift
RMIT Vietnam was established in 2001 thanks to two generous gifts totalling US$21.5 million from The Atlantic Philanthropies. Seventeen years since the first 40 students commenced their studies, RMIT Vietnam offers internationally recognised, industry-focused education to more than 6,000 students. The university’s facilities are a benchmark in Vietnam for inclusive design for people with disabilities.