The University of Southampton
International Voices

2nd place in University Challenged 2016


Following the first prize in the writing contest ‘UK in my Eyes 2015’, grabbing the second place in the ‘University Challenged 2016’ has been added to my UK-fabulous-experience list. It is a Southampton version whose format is similar to the popular same name TV quiz show. The purpose of the event is for everyone engaged to have fun, indeed, it was so well-organised that both participants and the audience, I believe, felt absolutely enjoyable. At the end, we all left with satisfaction and relaxed smiles on our faces. Such a brilliant evening full of humour and goodwill!


My team ‘Yoda’ were a mix of two undergraduates, a postgraduate and a university staff member.

As the first time challenging myself in this kind of competition which requires not only profound general knowledge but also ‘fast and furious’ response (quickly pressing the buzzer to answer), of course, I do not take any credit at all for making it this far to the Grand Final. The others did all the work, and I am so proud of them. We beat 3 other teams and were only defeated by the team ‘Total Strangers’. Apparently, the winning team’s leader was a really tough guy, he likely knew the answers before the quizmaster finished the questions. His team deserved the first place of the competition.


Even though we did not get the grand prize, being a member in this amazing team brought me a great experience for I have learned so much. Were I still here next year, I would definitely love to be with them again. Paulo, cool man, you rock! Are you a lively living book? I wish I could have just half of the knowledge in your mind, I will someday, you will see; Olga, you were such a great leader, I loved the way you connected us, made the ‘strategy’ after our first win, and I am pretty sure this is one of the reasons for our victories afterwards, I hope you would not mind the fact that I took some leadership skill by secretly observing you; Melissa, you were such a lovely team member, did I forget telling you that I quite liked your hidden charming smile? Thank you all for bearing with me as a part of our team. I much appreciate you for inspiring me to search more for many fascinating facts on the world we are living on. I think I have now become far more interested in ‘out-of-the-box’ trivia. I am thirstier for knowledge of history, culture and people as well as more eager to explore the beauty of things surrounding us. ’Be foolish, be thirsty’, right? I promise to play cooler (like Paulo) next time.

Joining this wonderful opportunity, making friends with such intelligent people and having fun has made my Chevening Journey more fabulous. Big thanks to my friends who did come and support my team. I am also grateful for my mentors in Christianity to devote their time sitting and smiling beautifully on the show. Additionally, getting best wishes from many University International Office Staff made me overjoyed, one of them actually showed up out of the blue! Last but not least, a surprising email with a wish of luck from my Chevening Scholarship Program Officer in the morning indeed warmed my heart. Such these little tidy things truly touched my soul. Again, thanks everyone for all your encouragement. The best part of a competition is not the prize itself, but an invaluable moment of mixed feelings of always being loved, cared and supported by prized friends in the UK.

It is totally an amazing experience. My Chevening Journey is getting more and more fantastic day by day. Six more months to carry on enjoying my life in its fullness as I know I only have One life, live it



Ngoc Nguyen
Chevening scholar

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