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Student story

Huong Do

20 July 2023

"Human geography has guided me to a world that is full of possibilities..."


PhD in Geography

Working as an official in governmental organisation under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in Vietnam for 10 years, Huong had been wondering how her development work eventually benefits, contributes, and affects local people's lives.

"Human geography was the obvious choice," Huong says, when she explains why she came up with her topic for the PhD thesis.

"I questioned myself, how do I know about my work? How does it bring change for people that I set out to help and work with? And what do I become through my work? These are my honest and very personal questions, but they were also very motivating and important ones that determined the outcomes of our work."

The knowledge that Huong gained from UC included applying different perspectives to her development work. Learning theories of human geography has supported her in finding answers and pathways for bettering her work in Vietnam.

"Human geography has guided me to a world that is full of possibilities, which opens new horizons for me in proposing and developing more meaningful and significant adaptation measures for my country," she says.

Arriving at UC with her physical background in environmental sciences, Huong found her initial studies difficult while also looking after a 5 year old son and living far from family. During her first year of studying at UC she found herself questioning whether to continue and finish her PhD, however Huong expresses how she overcame her difficulties and found inspiration in her studying through the supportive UC community.

"No matter how disappointing or harsh the circumstances you find yourselves in, the people in the Geography Department will find ways to cheer you up and care for you, both academically and in daily life.

Now that she has completed her research and returned to her work in Vietnam, Huong looks back fondly on her experiences at UC.

"What I love and miss the most about my time at UC, and what made the biggest impact on both my academic and personal life was the kindness, consideration, and care from staff and my peer students in the Geography Department."

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