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From Ho Chi Minh to Howay Man

A student from Vietnam is enjoying life in the North East after winning an English language competition.

Thu Tran, 17 from Ho chi Minh City in Vietnam, is spending four weeks learning English at Sunderland College after winning a competition organised by the British Council.

Thu beat 3,000 other entrants to win the competition after giving a presentation on life in Britain.

Since arriving last week Thu has been experiencing the cultural delights of the North East as well as visiting London and Edinburgh.

Thu said: “I didn’t expect to win and was very nervous before I arrived but I’ve been really well looked after by the college and everyone has been so friendly.

“So far I’ve enjoyed eating fish and chips and visiting the beaches although the weather has been very changeable so I’m often feeling cold.”

This is the first time she has travelled without her parents and is staying in Sunderland with other students from the Far East.

Sunderland College, international team leader, Terri Freeman worked on the competition in partnership with the British Council in Ho Chi Minh City.  She is acting as Thu’s personal tutor during her time in theUK.

Terri said: “We’ve been so impressed with Thu since she arrived. She already has an excellent grasp of the English language but she’s shown great determination and willingness to learn more and make the most of her time in theU.K.

“Sunderland College runs an excellent and very popular English language course every summer, and Thu is really enjoying it. Our cultures are very different so it has been a good experience for everybody, introducing Thu to British customs and food as well as learning more about Vietnamese culture.

“Her visit will help build links with the people of Vietnam and encourage them to choose the North East as a place to study.”

During her time in the UK Thu is also studying for an IELTS qualification, the English language qualification needed by international students in order to complete further study in the UK.

Thu said: “I find the teaching here very different to back home. I think the students here are better supported and encouraged to use more skills. In Vietnam the British education system is considered to be one of the best in the world and I can see why.

“Sunderland is a great city, it has some very beautiful buildings and I like how close it is to the coast.

“Life here also feels a lot calmer. Ho Chi Minh is very busy and stressful.”

After the United States the UK is the most popular destination for international students with around 400,000 choosing to study at British colleges and universities each year.

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