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Student Q&A: Nguyen Hà Linh says GBJ provides unique combination of cultural diversity, data journalism and writing development

Nguyen Hà Linh is graduating with honors from the Global Business Journalism program (GBJ) at Tsinghua University in Beijing.
Nguyen Hà Linh defends her journalism portfolio in May. (GBJ photo by Rick Dunham)

Nguyen Hà Linh was born in Hanoi, the more than thousand-year-old capital of Vietnam, on the cusp of the millennium. Being brought up with old Vietnamese lullabies and newly introduced pop songs from abroad, she grew up during a period of rapid growth in a tranquil yet transformed metropolis. She earned a bachelor’s degree in International Studies at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, South Korea. Having pursued her undergraduate education in a democratic country, she decided to attend graduate school in a country that was similar politically to her own. Global Business Journalism program co-director Rick Dunham sat down with Hà Linh to discuss her reasons for coming to China and her future plans.


Why did you choose the Global Business Journalism program?

 

I majored in international studies and studied international business [as an undergraduate]. After I graduated I realized I was more interested in the communications and the journalism field, so I looked for opportunities and I saw that GBJ had elements of both business and journalism.

 

The combination of journalism and data is very unique as well. That’s one of the reasons I applied to GBJ. There are a lot of programs that can offer a similar opportunity [to study in English]. But learning about data journalism can help me increase my chances of getting accepted to major news organizations.

 

What elements made the Global Business Journalism program most special?

 

The diversity of the students. People coming from all different countries. My undergraduate program [in South Korea] also was in English, and there were a lot of international students, but they were almost all from the U.S. – Korean-Americans – so their backgrounds were more similar. After I got here, I learned a lot about various countries, including those that are close to Vietnam, like the Philippines and Indonesia and Malaysia. I learned a lot more things. It really opened my perspectives. It helped me look at things more objectively, which I think is essential for anyone who wants to pursue a career in journalism. You have to be open-minded and look at things from different perspectives so you make sure you tell stories without personal bias. That's a very unique thing about GBJ.

 

What have been your most memorable GBJ moments?

 

The first one was the [thesis] defense. We had been just focusing on our own projects for months. It was really exciting to meet [my classmates] again and share stories with them. I was very happy to see everyone did very well on their defense. I know everyone worked very hard. We had hot pot lunch after the defense together. It was like a small class reunion, even though we haven’t graduated yet.

 

The second memorable moment was two weeks after I arrived in Beijing [in the second semester because of the pandemic]. Data mining class ended about 9:30 p.m. I went to have some sushi with a few other classmates on the Zijing football (or soccer) field. I had only been there for about two weeks and I was kind of nervous at first at whether I could get closer to the students because they had spent more time with each other before I arrived. But from the moment we had the meal together on the field, I felt that I was a part of the program. Sitting on the field together was something very special to be able to experience.

 

What did you learn in the program that will help you in the future?

 

I had almost no background in journalism before I joined the program. I learned a lot about journalistic skills. How to write a news article. My writing style was very academic. I wrote very, very long sentences. I learned a lot here. I am very grateful for that. I was able to build a portfolio of different news articles during my two years here. That helped me land an intern job last summer at the national English language daily in Vietnam.

 

What’s next for you?

 

I plan to go back to Vietnam. I want to take a gap period, to travel around Vietnam for a few months before I look for a job. I’ve been studying nonstop since I was six years old. I don’t have enough money to take more than two months. After that, I’m thinking of applying for reporter roles or looking in the communication department of an NGO. I’m also looking for opportunities in Thailand, too.



Nguyen Hà Linh is graduating with honors from the Global Business Journalism program (GBJ) at Tsinghua University in Beijing.
Hà Linh has been featured in a GBJ promotional campaign.

15 QUICK QUESTIONS

FAVORITE CUISINE

Hanoi cuisine


FAVORITE DISH

Sticky rice with sunny-side-up egg

A very traditional breakfast.



FAVORITE CANTEEN ON CAMPUS

Zijing

Because it’s close to the dorm.


FAVORITE PLACE ON CAMPUS

My dorm room

Because I don’t have a lot of privacy when I’m at home [in Vietnam].


FAVORITE COFFEE SHOP

Tranquil Books & Coffee in Hanoi

I finished most of my assignments in my first semester at Tsinghua there. A lot of things happened in that coffee shop.


FAVORITE CAMPUS LIBRARY

The old library that just has been renovated

The only downside is they don’t have electric sockets, so you can’t recharge your phone. But if you go there to read a book, it’s the perfect place.


FAVORITE PLACE FOR PEACEFUL REFLECTION

Still my dorm room


FAVORITE PLACE TO HAVE FUN WITH FRIENDS

Either to go to KTV or to go to a picnic in Haidian Park

The park is only 15 minutes away from the west gate of Tsinghua.


FAVORITE WAY TO SPEND AN EVENING

To spend it in my room

I’m a very introverted person, so I need time to recharge myself or connect with friends in Vietnam or the U.S.



FAVORITE PLACE IN BEIJING

Wudaoying

Near the Lama Temple. The old street. It’s the perfect image of the Beijing I had in mind before I came here.


FAVORITE HISTORICAL SPOT VISITED IN CHINA

Emperor Qin’s terracotta warriors in Xi’an


FAVORITE TOURIST SPOT

Xi’an city

I really like the atmosphere.


FAVORITE PLACE I’D LIKE TO VISIT

The Arctic or the Antarctic

Both if possible. I’d like to see the Polar Bears. I grew up watching all those documentaries on National Geographic.


FAVORITE BAND

GOT7

I’ve been following them since I was 15 years old, more than 10 years ago.


FAVORITE SINGER

Bruno Major

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