The Amazing Jyväskylä!

The Amazing Jyväskylä!
Me at the harbor of Jyväskylä

24 August, 2014


(On the occasion of the results of the annual university entrance exam being announced in Vietnam, July 2014)

[My classmates, I and our lecturer Tiina in a participatory exercise lesson, lots of fun! <3)

So ... it's been a few days more than year that I have been to Jyväskylä and receiving the amazing education here. (the date of this post) I've been quite emotional about being away from Vietnam and my family this long. This, so far, has been the longest time I've been away from Vietnam without any visiting at all. However, there's much at hand to deal with right now since I'm going to Nepal very soon to do my internship, the sobbing cannot last long, I'm afraid. 

Anyway, in the end of July, I was informed by my mother about the university entrance exam of my younger sister and it brought back lots of memories about my studies back then. So, I wrote this on my personal Facebook account and now I think I'll share with you how the meaning of education, to me personally, has changed over the years and affected my decision of continuing my studies in Finland. I hope some of you might share the same thoughts. 

When I was much younger, my mother kept telling me that in the far future, she and my father would not have much money to give me and my sister, all they could give us was the opportunities of receiving necessary education so that I would be able to take care of myself and my sister when I grew up. I never doubted that for a second. That's why I worked my ass off at school in order to get into my dream university. Now that I look back, I'm proud of the fact that I was able fight myself off the act of cheating in exams to get good grades despite the young age and temptation from seeing classmates succeed in doing so, that I did study for real. I had spent 18 years of my childhood and teenage years believing on the extreme importance of education. I believed in it so much that when my uncle sent me some money from abroad as an award for getting into a good university, without a second thought, I used the money to enroll myself into an expensive English course with native English teachers, which I had always wanted to do but my parents could not afford. This course was not really useful for me as it turned out; however, it led me to great opportunities that resulted in the language skills I have now.

However, things changed when I got to college, four years of my Bachelor's degree taught me only one thing: there are achievements which regardless how hard I try, I could never reach, not in that system anyway. I got lost in disappointment in myself and finally gave up in my 3rd year. Schooling lost its meaning to me and I went to classes not caring as much anymore. My real schools at that time were the class of 6 primary school kids whom I was tutoring English; the fast food restaurant where I worked my ass off for almost nothing; and the language center where I was a teaching assistant to foreign teachers. I ended up getting offered an assistant job in the biggest PR/event company in Hanoi even before I graduated. They decided to hire me not because I went to this famous school but all the other stuff that I did aside from studying. At this point, my belief changed completely; I did think that education was much overrated.

Well, if it had ended there, I would not be here in Finland now working on my Master's degree. After two years changing jobs constantly, I was lucky enough to find a job that I really loved and decided to go further with it. But how? I knew almost nothing about this area despite having learned tons of things from my super boss at the time. She was a superwoman (and still is, I believe). Then education, once again, came to my mind as an obvious solution to illiteracy. I came to a developed country 12-hour flight away from home. (One of the happiest countries in the world!) Looking at the attention, the priority and the resources that they put into education, I came to understand once again the vital role of education. Once again, I am grateful that my parents did give me this opportunity to widen my education. I forever owe to them all the achievements that I have had and will ever have my whole life.

Today, I received a text message from my mother saying that my younger sister had got very good results in her university entrance exam and my mother couldn't take her lunch nap because she was too happy and excited. I know that all too well. When my results were in 8 years ago, she was even happier than I was.


  1. Hi Phuong,
    Thank you for your blog. I am interested in studying the Master´s degree in Development and International Cooperation and it was because of that I found your blog:-)
    I would like to be in contact with you and maybe you can talk me about the master and the city. I was living in Finland some years ago, in Turku, and now I would like to come back there again.

    My email is

    Thank you,



  2. Quite emotional, yet somehow I could relate to you. Asian educational system, in general, is designed in such a way to let you down in the end. The feeling of frustration is the greatest for those who have striven the most.

  3. Hey, thank you very much for taking your time to read my blog.

  4. Hi Phuong,

    I'd like to send you my admiration and congratulation on your success (follow your passion and find your way). It's big and nice surprise to me to reach your blog on the way finding more info about JYU and Development and International Cooperation Prog. Even more surprised to read your story and find out that we are, Vietnamese students, all in the same page of education. Your story is exactly what I have experienced until now but in the South. Thanks a lot for your sharing.
    Btw, I'll really appriciate if you can take some time helping me with some information about your school and major. I'm crazy in love with it but still a little bit dout about myself for applying. Hope you can help me to make it clearer. My email is

    Looking forward to talking to you.
    All the best,