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東京大学公共政策大学院 | GraSPP / Graduate School of Public Policy | The university of Tokyo

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Graduation from GraSPP – A milestone in my life

Nguyen Thi Huyen Trang (from Vietnam)

—From a banker to a graduate student at GraSPP

Back in 2009, when I was a banker at a corporate bank in Ha Noi, I had kept thinking about my contribution to society. I decided to pursue a higher degree to gain deeper knowledge and broader perspective in economics and finance; especially, from the standpoint of a government, whose every decision affects the whole economy and citizens. I was lucky enough to be a student of the very first batch in the  International Program of Master of Public Policy at GraSPP in 2010. The two-year master program was a milestone in my personal and professional life.

I was overwhelmed by GraSPP hospitality and tremendous academic support. I always feel thankful for having a network in GraSPP that is growing stronger day by day; including dedicated professors, supportive school staff, and brilliant classmates from all over the world. GraSPP offers a diversified curriculum, covering a range of courses, from Politics to Economics, which I could customize  according to my own interest. In GraSPP, I experienced a multicultural environment that gave  me an opportunity to learn from peers and to reflect on myself. Sources of learning in GraSPP are plenty, from super wise and friendly professors  and supportive friends, classroom lectures and group works, to self-studying or consulting with a teaching assistant after class. In my second year, I was chosen to be a teaching assistant for two main courses for first-year students and from that special job, I learnt additional skills.

Experiences and spirits I earned from living in Japan

Nearly 10 years have passed and my memories still last. Studying in Japan brought me some difficulties at the beginning when I had to adapt to a totally new language and different culture. But I quickly overcame it thanks to great support not only from the school but from Japanese people, the ones in the station where I did not know which train line to take, or strangers in the street when I got lost. By observing and experiencing Japanese culture, I learnt to protect nature for our generations, to keep fighting for our goals as a samurai spirit, and to respect people and the differences. In Japan, I could enjoy the convenient life thanks to advanced technology, and the beauty of history and stunning natural landscapes at the same time.

New me and a new career path after graduation

My personal and professional life have changed after the graduation from GraSPP. I feel more responsible for protecting the environment, for saving energy, and for appreciating the difference in culture and perception.
Also, I am no longer a banker but an officer working in the cooperation development field. I joined the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in a project supporting the healthcare system in Viet Nam in 2013. In 3 years working at JICA, I worked with the Ministry of Health, Department of Health at 6 mountainous provinces and several main hospitals in order to strengthen direction office network and referral system so that patients could be transferred smoothly among different medical units in these provinces and to higher levels.
Starting from 2016, I began to work for GIZ- the implementing agency for international development of Germany in a project supporting the capacity of the Ministry of Finance (MoF) in public financial management. Working as a programme officer, I have been providing public finance advisory and technical support to the Ministry and core institutions, notably in issues related to policy reforms. We supported the MoF in development and implementation of the revised State Budget Law, and in improvement of budget transparency and disclosure so that citizens have chances to engage more into the budget process.
In 2018, I was selected to be one of the few Vietnamese participants in ACYPL YSEALI Professional Fellows Program in Governance and Society. I spent six months in the US, meeting different political and business agencies to expand my understanding of American governance, politics, public policy-making and the legislative process, as well as to exchange with peers from other countries across the world. I am thankful for the Master’s of Public Policy program I got from GraSPP, as it has brought out a new me and a new career path.

I hope that many talented people will have a chance to become a GraSPP student. As an alumna, I have been supporting the school in organizing the Annual Information Session in Ha Noi since 2014, so that more and more Vietnamese know about the school and the benefits it offers. This is not only a place where you can learn about public policy, but it is also a gate that opens many opportunities for you in the world.