Field Study in Toronto and Washington, D.C. (Ha Thu Truong)

Through the support of Prof. Keiichi Ogawa and the Graduate School of International Cooperation Studies, Kobe University, I have had an opportunity to conduct my international field study in two major cities in North America, Toronto and Washington DC in two weeks, from March 10 through April 22, 2014. During the first week, I have participated in the 58th Comparative and International Education Society Conference in the Sheraton Centre Downtown Toronto as a presenter as well as an audience. In the second half of the field trip, I have the opportunities to visit the World Bank, George Washington University and FHI360 in Washington DC, USA.

The 58th Comparative and International Education Society Conference
My presentation was scheduled on March 15, 2014 in the section “The State, Market and Higher Education Expansion across the World”. The title of my presentation was “Higher Education Expansion, Earnings and Inequality in Vietnam” in which I focused on the gender gap of higher education access and earnings differentials between males and females when they eventually entered the labor market. During the time for Q & A, I have received questions and comments regarding Vietnam’s education policy and the current status of higher education development in Vietnam. I was glad that my topic seemed to have attracted attentions of the audiences and I was able to exchange ideas which will contribute to the improvement of my researches. I also gained the knowledge of higher education expansion in other developing countries such as China and Brazil through international educational experts, which will be of great help to improve my dissertation.

Visits to International Organizations in Washington DC
I had an opportunity to visit World Bank in Washington DC and had a meeting with Dr. Eduardo Velez Bustillo in the morning of March 18th 2014. Dr. Eduardo was very patient to carefully answer each question of us. Most of our questions are related to career opportunities at the World Bank such as what kind of professional skills needed or whether there are quotas for nationalities and gender for staff recruitment. Some students also asked about the data management. I have learned a lot from this informative session. Besides, we were all impressive by the working environment at World Bank in terms of the beautiful offices, cafeteria services and good staff benefits.

At FHI360, I had the opportunity to meet with people from different working teams there. Two thirds of them are females and all of them are very energetic and passionate about their work at FHI 360. They shared us their experience and impressions gained from their work and I have learned a lot from them.

In conclusion, the field trip was very fruitful and important for me to gain the necessary knowledge and skills to improve my dissertation and to interact with lead educational experts who have much experience in the education issues. It also enabled me to have chance to enlarge my career network with influential people at international organizations. I would like to thank Professor Keiichi Ogawa for grating me this opportunity and the financial support from GSICS which helped me meet my living expenses during the field trip.

By Ha Thu Truong