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During a tiresome job hunt in late-March 2010, I stumbled across an article about myOE that was posted by Deakin on the Jobshop’s website. With very little hope and feeling a bit sceptical, I went ahead and submitted an entry for ‘Stage One’ of the travel scholarship competition, which was 100 word entry explaining why myOE should choose me. I had written:
“I truly believe travelling and experiencing different cultures help build and shape character of an individual. From my limited travelling experience, it has taught me to be open-minded and more understanding of others. Furthermore, I've never been to the UK and would love to experience a country with so much culture and history.”
Cheesy, I know. Additionally, the entry form required me to submit in photos that represented me and what I am like. I submitted three: one of me bungee jumping, one of me white water rafting and another from a Halloween party (which I highly regret submitting because it is now my ‘Winner’s Profile’ photo. I hope when people look at my profile photo they know I am in costume, and not look like someone on the verge of dying, hahaha).
Several weeks had passed and it was now late-April. I received an e-mail from myOE informing me that I and ten other Deakin students had made it through to ‘Stage Two’. This came to me as a surprise, because (a) I forgot I had even entered the competition, and (b) I really thought my entry wasn’t even that great and creative, haha.
‘Stage two’ now required entrants to make a 2-minute video further explaining why they should be chosen to win. Originally, I had planned to ignore the competition as it was during the plague of university essays. However, procrastination helped me realise that I could waste time and be productive if I made a video. So, one night, I spent hours and hours drawing and drafting an animation video, which is available at http://youtube.com/watch?v=Vs3baWd8m8w. Without going into too much detail, I ended up winning this stage and became the first Deakin university student to be part of the myOE scholarship. Last year, out of the 20 winners, none represented the university.
A week after the winners were announced, I found myself in Fiji! However, it was not just all play and party, the students had work to do. We were allocated into groups of five and in our groups we were to film a commercial for myOE and their sponsors. As a group we drafted the storyboard and scripted everything. We were then given an hour to work with a professional film crew to shoot it.
Two students from my group, Emma and Anthony, are both studying music, and so my group were able to record our own jingle, which I believe made our video a standout. Working together, my group and I bonded quite well and became quite close friends.
Other than the group work, Fiji was simply amazing. It was beautiful, not only scenery wise, but people wise too. The Fijians, while they do not live in luxury as we do, were so happy and content with their lives. It made me realise how lucky I am to have what I have at home. When I got home, though I did suffer from the post-holiday blues, I was able to appreciate the very little things in life, and the people in my life.
So the weekend passed, and it was time to head back to good old cold Melbourne. The competition hadn’t finished as there was the online voting process for the videos we made in Fiji. Before the voting had gone live, my group and I started to come up with ideas to campaign and gain supporters to vote for us. Our ideas were ambitious, but possible. As a group, and as good friends, my group and I campaigned like crazy. Once the voting process it began, it pretty much consumed our lives. We campaigned day and night non-stop. We ran competitions, organised stalls at university and high schools. We approached random people and asked for their support. All our campaign efforts led us to appear on the Armidale local newspaper’s front page. We were mentioned on local radio websites, university websites, and various websites that we were affiliated with. Anthony recorded parodies based on David Bowie, Jackson 5 and Flight of the Conchords songs, which him and I made videos to. Surely enough, we were leading the competition with an average of 300 votes in front; we were announced winners the next morning.
What made the group a success was not only our campaigning efforts. The support and love within the group was astounding. We were supportive towards each other, and were always there when one member needed help. And of course, there was the support from the voters. We managed to obtain well over 1700 votes by the end of the week-long voting, and we have thanked our voters so many times, and cannot thank them enough! The voters have provided us an opportunity of a lifetime, and we feel so blessed.
So, we’re flying out to London for two weeks! Again, this would not have been possible without myOE, Deakin’s support, our friends and family, and the supporters we gained.
Ahoy! My name is Tran Nguyen and I hail from the suburb, Keysborough. I am a final year student at the awesomeness that is Deakin University. I am an Arts student, in which I double major in Media and PR. I am happy, content, and love to travel and see every corner of the world. Oh, and in my spare time I serve as a freelance web designer.
Travel scholarship competition in a nutshell: myOE, a company that assists students and professionals adapt to working life in the UK, ran their 2nd annual travel scholarship competition to students across Australia and New Zealand. One student from each university were chosen through several stages to win a weekend trip to Fiji, and among the 47 students from the Fiji prize, ten were then chosen for the major travel scholarship prize, two weeks touring the UK.
Back (L-R): Anthony Silvestrini of University of Western Sydney and Oliver Skinner of Auckland
Front (L-R): Tran Nguyen of Deakin University, Myee Gregory of University of New England and Emma Taviani Griffith University.
For an update visit - Tran's blog about her UK experience
Tran is her final year of Marketing and PR studies and as the next step in her career, is looking for an internship. If you can assist please contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org