'Studying here has brought me the opportunity to study in a collaborative, modern and international environment...'
Lina’s personal experiences of flooding in her home city of Hanoi, Vietnam, nurtured her determination to become an expert in the area of natural hazards and disasters.
‘As I grew up, the more I learned from books, the media and my own experiences, the more I realised that there are people everywhere who are also suffering terrible disasters and their tremendous consequences.
‘I have always been interested in understanding natural phenomena as well as human, technological and built-environment system behaviour. Being a natural scientist has always been a dream of mine, and studying hazard management is even more appealing as it enables me to do practical research, which helps me become a more “helpful” person – one of the personal traits that I value in my life.’
Four years studying Geology in Vietnam was a solid foundation, but Lina came to UC to gain a more ‘multi-disciplined’ approach to her work, including skills in Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
‘It is such an important tool in helping researchers understand and effectively evaluate damages of natural disasters and tackle them, and I’m finding it very helpful when I am working on my current master’s project.’
That project sees Lina developing a tsunami evacuation model for the coastal suburb of Sumner, in Christchurch.
Back in Vietnam, Lina worked as a researcher for Vietnam National University and was involved in a number of vulnerability studies pertaining to geo-hazards and natural resources.
‘During that research, I met quite a lot of obstacles stemming from our shortage of materials and equipment, and up-to-date approaches to research. As a result, I decided to apply to UC because of its unique, prestigious and international programmes.’
Lina won a New Zealand-ASEAN scholarship, which is awarded for postgraduate study that will help recipients contribute to the development of their home region.
‘I am incredibly grateful to the New Zealand Government as the award has really changed my life, helping me pursue my dream of bringing feasible and effective solutions to mitigating the impacts of natural hazards, not only in Vietnam but in other areas.
‘Studying here has quenched my thirst for knowledge and brought me the opportunity to study in a collaborative, modern and international environment; and to work and learn with many excellent and supportive professors and students.’
She adds: ‘I am eternally grateful for all the love, care and support from friends and other people I have been lucky to meet here in New Zealand.’
Lina says she that the welcoming environment has made her transition to life in a new country surprisingly smooth.
‘At first it was hard for me coming into a totally different culture and especially speaking a different language. However, in more than a year of living here, I have never felt that I am a stranger or an isolated international student. Instead, I really enjoy the very relaxing lifestyle in New Zealand.
She has also enjoyed the chance to see more of the world while she studies.
‘Travelling is my big passion as it is a great way to learn new things and enjoy life. By stepping outside my comfort zone, I find myself more confident, active and open-minded thanks to the experiences I have had on so many unforgettable trips around New Zealand. I would love to do the cruise trip to Milford Sound again – it boasts one of the most breath-taking views that I have ever seen in my life. I will never forget the beautiful snowy day on Aoraki Mount Cook, or the colourful mud in Rotorua. The next destination I have promised myself is the Tongariro Crossing!’