Vietnamese Student Aims to Improve Her Country's Education

Earlier encounters with Red Raiders persuaded Thanh Phan to choose Texas Tech.

TPhan currently is working on a research project with a professor about community college transfer students.

Phan currently is working on a research project with a professor about community college transfer students.

Dedicated to improving her home country’s education, yet excited to study at a U.S. university, Thanh Phan left her job at a school in Vietnam to pursue a doctoral degree in higher education at Texas Tech.

Until last August, Phan worked at Ho Chi Minh City Open University. Through her position in the Department of Cooperation and Research Management, Phan witnessed a need for better literacy and curriculum design in Vietnam. 

“I realize that Vietnam needs more improvement in education, so I want to help increase the literacy level of our people,” Phan said. “We need renovation in management, curriculum design and many other areas.”

For this reason, Phan decided to pursue a doctorate outside her home country.

“The U.S. is always on the top of my mind because of its ranking in the world’s educational system,” Phan said.

Each year, members of the Texas Tech Vietnam Center and Archive escort a group of history students to Vietnam and visit Phan’s workplace, Ho Chi Minh City Open University. It was through these individual’s visits that she first heard of Texas Tech.

Phan said the Texas Tech visitors were friendly and knowledgeable. Not only did she spend time with them when they visited Ho Chi Minh Open University, but they also spent the day together in her hometown, where the group visited the Cao Dai temple.

During her search for a U.S. school to attend, Phan remembered the Texas Tech students being great to work with. She also appreciated the scholarships Texas Tech provided for students at Ho Chi Minh City Open.

Following research into a number of programs, Phan realized the higher education program in the Texas Tech College of Education would help her in developing the skills necessary to provide programs that could improve Vietnam education.

Currently, Phan is working on a research project with a professor about community college transfer students. However, she is most interested in pursuing another endeavor, managing curriculum and instruments for distance learning.

“I think distance and open learning is a great demand in my country,” Phan said.

In addition to her program in the College of Education, Phan may extend her education by examining Texas Tech's University College and its strategies for implementing not only distance degree options in higher education, but also an array of opportunities for students in kindergarten through high school.

“As a doctorate student in the College of Education, I think that I will learn and acquire new knowledge and skills in educational research as well as how to apply them in reality,” Phan said. “Thus, after finishing I can come back to contribute to the development of my home country's education.”

While she loves pursuing academic endeavors that will contribute to the future of Vietnam’s education system, Phan takes pleasure in her daily walk across campus as well.

“I love to watch football and walk on campus, enjoying the beautiful and peaceful sights of the school,” Phan said. “I enjoy watching the fountain at the school gate most!”

Spanning the Globe

Spanning the Globe

Each year students from around the world and with unique backgrounds, make their way to Texas Tech University. We want to share their stories!

Throughout the year, Texas Tech Today will showcase the university's thriving diversity by introducing you to some of our many international students. To nominate a student with an intriguing story to tell, email


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