Right Place, Right Time: International Student Scholarship Awardees
Undergraduates from Diverse Countries Gain Support for CU Denver Studies
Name: Vy (“Victoria”) Nguyen Tuong Vo
Home country: Vietnam
Degree program: B.S., International Business
Eager to come to the United States and study English at the University of Colorado Denver’s ESL Academy, plus enroll in a business degree program at CU Denver, Vy (Victoria) Vo hit a major logistical roadblock. Although she had earned good grades in her high school in Vietnam and had obtained the required documents, her visa to the United States was denied.
But Vo would not let her enthusiasm be squelched; she did not give up hope.
She began studies at a Vietnamese university, but her sights were still set on the U.S. Diving into online research, she discovered where and when international student recruitment fairs were taking place in Vietnam.
“I looked for the reliable ones,” she explained. “I had bags and bags of college recruitment brochures in my house, but still, none of the schools abroad seemed suitable for me.”
During the process, she received admission and a scholarship to an Australian university. There was much to consider.
When important decisions need to be made, people often turn to their favorite expert for advice: Mom.
“We spent many hours discussing different options,” said Vo. “I finally asked myself, what is truly my dream; where do I really want to study, and where are there more advantages for my future career?”
She attended another student recruitment fair that was being held in Ho Chi Minh City. Vo’s perseverance landed her in the right place at the right time. A fortunate event had occurred – CU Denver had officially finalized a number of scholarships specifically created for undergraduate international students.
Alana Jones, Associate Vice Chancellor, Office of International Affairs, University of Colorado Denver, met Victoria Vo at the fair. She saw that Vo was a good student, determined to find a way to start classes at CU Denver, and thought that she would be a great candidate for the new scholarship.
“These new University of Colorado Denver undergraduate-level international student scholarships provide a variety of funding support opportunities for eligible students throughout the world,” explained Ms. Jones. “Leadership, International Admissions, and departments across CU Denver have worked together with a dedicated focus to bring these to fruition; I am delighted that we can make these available to deserving international students.”
Since Vo’s admission and arrival on campus this fall, her appreciation for her decision, and for the university, has only intensified. In the top 5% of overall university rankings in the U.S., the University of Colorado Denver has internships available with 180+ employers and is located in Forbes’ top five U.S. “best cities” for business and careers.
“CU Denver is in the heart of the downtown business enterprise district; there are networking opportunities and I will be seeking an internship.” The Business School, where Vo is earning her bachelor’s in international business, is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB) and has 300+ business partnerships in Denver.
Vo also thinks that having a diverse mix of students in a classroom environment will better prepare her for a career in today’s global economy; she’ll have an increased understanding and respect for different perspectives.
Meeting new people has also been rewarding and fun for Vo. She noted that she is making friends with students from China, India, Peru, America, and many other countries.
“Before coming here, I had heard a few individuals say that Americans were cold and that they discriminated against others. NEVER have I experienced that here.” She observed, “I realize that the way we behave towards other people will affect how they behave towards us. I try my best to be open-minded, a good person, and look for other good people.”
As a new member of the Business Student Ambassador Committee (BSAC), Vo assisted with a recent event featuring a panel of respected business leaders from financial, banking, and consumer retail companies.
“I tried to not be fearful and to be proactive,” she said. “I was able to approach the panelists after the event; they were very kind and took time to answer my questions.”
Victoria Vo is emphatic in her recommendation of CU Denver to other international students.
“This university is very welcoming and supportive; it has great extracurricular activities, with lots of student organizations and ways to expand your network with people from around the world,” she noted.
“CU Denver offers many opportunities that can make your future dreams come true.”
Name: Wang (Pete) Yukun
Home country: China
Degree program: B.S., Electrical Engineering
“The first time I received the email with my acceptance into CU Denver’s ESL Academy, I thought it was phishing. But it was not, it was real!” exclaimed Wang Yukun. With a lively academic curiosity, as well as an innate sense of humor, Yukun is successfully navigating through several good choices along his student journey at the University of Colorado Denver.
Yukun applied as part of a 3 + 1 + 1 educational partnership program between the University of Colorado Denver and Dalian Jiaotong University in China. Through these unique partnerships. International can earn a bachelor’s degree from their home country’s university and a master’s degree from the University of Colorado. Undergraduate students are able to study for three years in their home country, for their fourth year at CU Denver, and for a fifth year in a master’s program at CU Denver.
He also wisely chose to first attend CU Denver’s ESL Academy. “At the ESL Academy, I have been able to improve my English writing, reading, grammar, and speaking skills.” With a smile, he added, “I didn’t want to order the wrong beverage at Starbucks’s, because the American way of speaking seemed shorter and more clipped; I wanted to understand and be understood.”
Beyond preparation for English language proficiency, the ESL Academy provides innovative interactive instruction and cultural/social enrichment to university-bound international students. Yukun, who is in ESL Level 4, noted that classes were taught in a way that included “more discussion and sharing of ideas,”, and that the environment was “relaxed but still respectful.”
“I also appreciate hearing the different opinions of Level 4 students from different countries—India, Middle East, and the Caribbean,” he said. “My new best friend at the ESL Academy is from Kuwait.”
Yukun is excited about receiving a CU Denver International Student Scholarship that helps to support his fall 2019 college enrollment. The College of Engineering, Design and Computing’s electrical engineering program has an interdisciplinary focus, which prepares graduates to advance their careers on different professional tracks in the engineering industry. A range of areas of study includes bio-energy, computational electromagnetics, computer engineering and embedded systems design, neural engineering, software engineering, renewable energy engineering, and more.
Gaining a college education in an urban American city also has additional positive benefits, according to Yukun.
“I like that Denver has a ‘reading culture’. When I travel on the light rail train (public transportation), I see many people reading. Books are very important here.”
Yukun is envisioning different trajectories for his future career. Right now, he is interested in the possibility of being a computer engineer in information systems, building special effects for videos and games. Whichever path he takes, his education at the ESL Academy and CU Denver will serve him well.
“You can get a great foundation here for many different careers.”