Kel's journey to finding her passion

International student Kel holding a phone taking a picture

Kel Nguyen began her career back home in Vietnam teaching English. However, she began to feel that she wanted to do more professionally with her English skills and decided to come to Salford to study MA International Journalism for Digital Media. Since then, she has gone on to become an academic, lecturer and head of department at a University in Vietnam. Read on to discover Kel’s story.

Journey to Salford

I started my career in the International Department of a University back home in Vietnam. I enjoyed the job but after a while, I started to feel that I wanted to do something different. I decided to go back to using my undergraduate degree in English Language and Literature and teach children English.

Whilst I enjoyed this job, I realised that it was quite limited in terms of my responsibilities and that with my skills I had more to offer. I wanted to use my English language skills as a tool and specialise in another subject as well. I have always been a good communicator, so I decided that I wanted to do something in this area. After researching different courses and universities, I decided to study MA International Journalism for Digital Media at Salford.

At the time, my mother was a little worried about my decision to give up a stable job and go back to university in another country so far from home. However, I knew that it was the right move for me and would help me to feel fulfilled in my career.

Experience at Salford

I really enjoyed my master’s at Salford because the programme was well-designed and organised. The lecturers were very supportive. They were always happy to answer any questions, whenever we had them throughout the course.

As part of the course, we also got involved with Quays News, the University’s news channel. I was thrilled to be able to present one of the channel’s news bulletins. Our campus at MediaCity is very close to the BBC so we went on a tour of their facilities. My favourite part was the Radio 4 studios.

Career since Salford

I graduated in 2020 and returned to Vietnam. It was a difficult time because the pandemic had just started so it was hard to network and find a graduate role. I kept being persistent and applying for different opportunities, eventually, I found a role in the communications department of a small start-up company. I really enjoyed this position but after a year working there, I decided I wanted to go back to my roots in the higher education sector.

Initially, I worked in the admissions department, but I then found a job opportunity as a University Lecturer in Communications and Media. It seemed perfect for me, so I applied and was thrilled to get the role. After working really hard for around a year, I was offered a promotion and I am now the Head of the Multimedia Communications Department.

The main aspects of my role include teaching my own class, evaluating our teaching across the department to suggest improvements and looking for extracurricular activities that our students can get involved with to gain more experience. By far my favourite element is the teaching side, I really enjoy having a positive impact on my students.

I feel that I made the right decision becoming a University Lecturer. Around 80% of the classes we teach are in English. My goal was to use my English Language skills as a tool, and I feel that now I am truly doing that teaching my students about multimedia communications.

My defining moment

After my first semester of teaching, I received some constructive criticism from some of my students. At the time, this felt quite demoralising however I used it as fuel and spent time over the following semester trying to improve. After my second semester, my students were asked about my teaching again and this time I received some really positive feedback. They said they enjoyed sitting in class, listening to how I delivered my lectures and found the information really easy to understand. I couldn’t have asked for better feedback! This summarises the biggest lesson I have learned which is sometimes you have to put in the work and patiently trust that you will find success.