Our global network of alumni support is helping one ambitious UNIS scholar achieve her childhood dream of becoming a public health doctor in Vietnam.
Phuong Ly graduated from the UNIS Hanoi scholarship programme more than five years ago and is still uncovering the global benefits of being an alumnae from one of only two United Nations schools in the world.
Phuong Ly (Class of 2016) left UNIS Hanoi to study pre-med at university in the USA, and as she studies for her Masters in International Development Studies at the Graduate Institute of Geneva she is taking full advantage of the UNIS Global alumni mentoring programme to explore career opportunities.
As a result, Phuong Ly is now enjoying a valuable six-month internship opportunity at Gavi - The vaccine alliance, famous for its programmes which help vaccinate more than half the world’s children!
“The experience I’m gaining here is valuable because Gavi is a public-private partnership committed to saving children’s lives and protecting people’s health by increasing equitable use of vaccines in lower-income countries.
As part of the Funding Design and Review team, I’m tasked with supporting the team’s efforts in developing structures that help countries seek funding support. I also help the team communicate what the organisation is doing in relation to funding.
“This opportunity is amazing and I’m indebted to UNIS Hanoi for helping secure this for me. Though my journey to medical school is long, I believe I’m almost there and I couldn’t have gotten this far without the support of UNIS Hanoi.”
And that professional support comes today in the form of UNIS Hanoi community members now working in Geneva. Ms Jenty Kirschwood and Ms Jean Munro enthusiastically offered to mentor Phuong Ly and introduce her to new opportunities through their roles at the United Nations programmes based in Geneva and at Gavi.
UNIS Hanoi’s Head of School, Jane McGee, is proud of both the scholarship programme and the alumni mentoring programme. She said: “As one of only two United Nations Schools in the world, we have a very unique community, passionate to help others. Whether it is our scholars or our alumni, we are delighted to watch our global community changing lives and making the world a better place!”
And Phuong Ly is determined to make a difference. With her sights firmly set on a lifelong career in public health, she has received a place to study at the Medical School for International Health in Israel three times, and this time she hopes she will be able to take up the place!
“For two years running, I’ve been awarded a place at the Medical School for International Health but have unfortunately been unable to raise the funds needed. I’m hopeful I’ll be able to find a scholarship in time to enrol onto the course next year.”
Looking ahead, Phuong Ly hopes to put all her qualifications and internship experience to good use in Vietnam. “I’m still a very traditional Vietnamese girl at heart” she admits. “Even though I enjoyed my experience in the United States and I’m enjoying my time in Geneva, I still get homesick and I want to give back to my country. Everything I’m learning will help make me a better public health professional in Vietnam.”
Describing perhaps her most valuable learning as an alumnae of UNIS Hanoi, she said, “I have come to realise that I’m not afraid to consider all opportunities because UNIS Hanoi gave me the skills to thrive and be happy anywhere.”
Find out more about the UNIS Hanoi Global alumni programme and how you might help support our talented graduates explore their career options: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website: www.unishanoi.org/community/alumni/internships